IOM, the UN Migration Agency, and the Government of the Netherlands have signed a strategic partnership agreement this past week to provide livelihood and psychosocial support to Iraqi youth in crisis-affected areas and to assist the Government of Iraq in addressing challenges related to migration management.
Funded by the Dutch Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the EUR 3.5 million, the 18-month project aims to support the Iraqi Government to manage migration in a safe and orderly manner and to promote durable solutions for internally displaced persons and communities of return, through improved standards of living, sustainable livelihoods and employment, and cohesive communities.
"Through this partnership with IOM, we are pleased to support the Government of Iraq in their effort to enhance stabilization and social cohesion in conflict-affected territories and to tackle the root causes of irregular migration," said Marielle Geraedts, Chargé d'Affairs from the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Baghdad.
"By helping Iraq on these issues, we hope that young Iraqis will see a brighter future in Iraq," added Geraedts. The new partnership fits within the designation of Iraq as a focus country for Dutch foreign policy assistance.
The project, which is part of a larger partnership between IOM in Iraq and the Government of the Netherlands, will provide young Iraqis with opportunities to play a stabilizing role in their communities, enhancing their economical capacities as well as their role as peace and confidence builders. This will be achieved through psychosocial and livelihood support, including vocational training, job placement and business development support.
Livelihood and psychosocial support go hand-in-hand in achieving durable solutions to displacement, including return and reintegration in Iraq's post-conflict era.
In addition to this, IOM and the Netherlands will support the Government of Iraq to analyze the migration context in Iraq and identify gaps and recommendations, which could inform the further development of evidence-based migration policies.
While the project's geographical coverage will be nation-wide, including the Kurdistan Region, the governorates of Anbar, Baghdad, and Kirkuk will receive special focus as they were heavily affected by the conflict, and subsequent displacement and return.
"As displaced families continue to return to their cities and villages, it is now more crucial than ever to support and facilitate the livelihood of young men and women, as they are the backbone of Iraqi families," said Gerard Waite, IOM Iraq Chief of Mission.
Following the eruption of conflict in Iraq in 2014 in which ISIL seized a vast swath of Iraq, around six million people were displaced, while more than 1.9 million Iraqis are still living in displacement, according to IOM Iraq's Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM).