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Sida's work in Iraq

Sida’s development cooperation with Iraq is intended to contribute to a more peaceful society that respects human rights and gender equality. The Iraqi population has endured decades of armed conflict and political instability. Sida therefore also provides humanitarian aid to Iraq.

Sida’s support to Iraq 2020

Progress has been made

4.7

million internally displaced persons have been able to return to their villages in the areas previously occupied by Islamic State.¹

Landmile clearance

During 2020, 76,500 square metres of land was cleared on landmines. Iraq remains one of the most mined countries on Earth. There are various types of landmine left behind after previous conflicts, covering an area of approximately 3,000 square kilometres.

Developing economy

After significant public protests against corruption and for better governance, Iraq’s parliament and government have begun work to reform the economy. For example, the country’s income base has been expanded, having previously been dependent on oil revenue, and more jobs are being created.

Challenges remain

More people pushed into poverty

At the beginning of 2020, approximately one million Iraqis lived in extreme poverty (income below $1.90 a day), a figure that had risen by half a million by the beginning of 2021. Many Iraqi’s find it difficult to make a living, especially young people. Approximately 58% of the population are under 24 years of age. The state has long been a major employer but possibilities to provide jobs for the increasing population have declined along with oil prices.

Gender inequality permeates society

Few women participate in politics and opportunities for young people to exert influence over society are also limited. This has resulted in nationwide protests since October 2019. Legislation and policies designed to protect the rights of women are not put into practice, leaving Iraq languishing in the bottom reaches of both the World Bank’s and United Nations’ gender equality index.

Human rights violations

Human rights violations are widespread, with minority groups especially vulnerable. The rule of law is flawed and media freedom and independence is limited.² Reports show that serious violations have been committed against those who participated in the nationwide demonstrations. Since October 2019, over 560 demonstrators have been killed and over 20,000 injured.³

Two types of aid

Sida conducts development cooperation with Iraq that contributes to the country’s long-term development. We also provide humanitarian aid intended to save lives and alleviate distress in emergency situations.

Updated: 2 July 2021