$2.1bn pledged for Iraq aid

21 Jul 16

A conference to raise funds for Iraq has collected more than $2.1bn in aid pledges, according to US State Department spokesman John Kirby.


The conference, which was organised by the US, saw defence and foreign ministers from 24 countries descend on Washington yesterday. Beforehand, the US said it hoped to raise around $2bn to help the country in its fight against Islamic State militants. 

But Kirby said that the figure had already surpassed what was expected, and a number of additional pledges are still in the process of being finalised, Reuters reports.

The European Commission pledged an additional €194m ($215.5m) in aid for the country, amid news that more than 3.3 million people have been displaced as a result of the conflict.

The funds will cover both humanitarian assistance and cash towards stabilisation and development.

Neven Mimica, commissioner for international cooperation and development, said the EU is also committed to improving access to public services and making the country’s public expenditure more efficient.

But the international community must be prepared for more humanitarian consequences as the conflict develops, warned his colleague Christos Stylianides, EU commissioner for humanitarian aid and crisis management.

It is thought the conference was intended to collect cash ahead of an expected push to retake the city of Mosul from IS forces. As well as collecting aid pledges, the meeting also served as a time for the world’s defence ministers to agree on the next move in the campaign against IS.

Mosul, home to around one million people, will be the most populous city Iraqi forces have attempted to recapture from IS so far and the operation is likely to lead to significant displacement. The United Nations has warned it expects $184m will be needed to prepare for the fallout.

Before the conference, the UN’s $861m humanitarian appeal for Iraq stood at only 38% fulfilled.

The UK’s Department for International Development has also announced a pledge of £50m ($66m), which it said will support tens of thousands of Iraqis suffering under IS’s brutal regime.

New international development secretary Priti Patel said the funds would go towards food, medicine, shelter and other life-saving aid for the most vulnerable Iraqis, including women, children, the elderly and the sick.

Canada pledged CAD$158m ($121m), along with up to $200m in loan guarantees, while Kuwait has promised to deliver $176m according to state news agency KUNA.

Meanwhile, both the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the International Monetary Fund have announced further support for the region.

The EBRD said yesterday it would be stepping up its refugee response in Jordan and Turkey, to help the countries deal with the influx of millions of people displaced by the conflict in Syria.

Municipalities in Jordan will receive €225m, while those in Turkey will see €150m.

Turkey will also get €50m to lend to small enterprises owned, managed by or employing refugees. The bank has also agreed a project to improve public transport in Gaziantep, a city on the Syrian border, which is home to 350,000 refugees.

The IMF also approved a three-year, $44.9m package for Afghanistan after a successful yearlong, non-financial programme provided the “needed track record” for a financial arrangement.

The programme hopes to consolidate economic progress and catalyse continued support from donors, including raising revenue and reducing reliance on aid through tax administration and policy reforms, improved budget reporting and stronger commitments to controls and cash management.

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