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UNHCR Country Portfolio Evaluation: Iraq

This report relates to an independent evaluation of the UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) Country Operation in Iraq for the period 2018–2019. This evaluation is part of a series of evaluations of a similar nature being undertaken in three other countries (Afghanistan, Angola and Egypt).

The evaluation started with an inception phase during which the evaluation team undertook scoping interviews and a brief mission to the country, besides conducting preliminary desk reviews of key documents. Following these, an inception report with a detailed methodology for conducting the evaluation was produced and discussed with UNHCR Evaluation Services, which managed the evaluation. The inception phase was followed by desk research to map all available evidence from secondary sources before the evaluation team undertook remote interviews, and then a country visit to gather evidence from the field. This report brings together findings, conclusions and recommendations from the various processes of the evaluation.

The purpose of the Country Operation evaluation is to generate timely evidence to inform UNHCR’s future operational planning and strategy in Iraq. The evaluation team, therefore, sees this evaluation as having a primarily learning function. The evaluation will inform decisions that strengthen partnerships and programme design in the pursuit of assistance, protection and solutions for UNHCR persons of concern and the communities that host them. In addition, the evaluation will seek to analyse and assess the effectiveness of UNHCR’s plans and activities in light of the country context, and the evolving needs of the population and the federal government of Iraq and Kurdistan Region of Iraq authorities and partners. The focus of this evaluation is squarely on the post-conflict transitional period. The end of 2017 and beginning of 2018 marked the start of the transition for Iraq and a gradual shift from open conflict against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) towards recovery, stabilization and reconstruction. In parallel, humanitarian actors, including UNHCR, responded by refocusing their programming away from the emergency-based response towards longer-term development planning and objectives.