This publication was produced with the financial support of the European Union and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Its contents are the sole responsibility of Clingendael and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union or the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Since December 2018, VNG International has implemented the Maintaining the Strength and Resilience for Local Governments (MASAR) project in Iraq and Lebanon. Financed by the European Union, through the EU Regional Trust Fund in response to the Syrian crisis, the ‘Madad Fund’, MASAR for Local Governments is a project that supports the capacity and resilience of local governments and their host and displaced populations. The objective of Local Government Resilience Programme Iraq (LOGOReP Iraq) is to improve the prospects of vulnerable host communities, internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees by improving the resilience of local authorities and communities in Iraq. LOGOReP is also being implemented by VNG International and funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

We wish to extend a warm thank you to our peer reviewers who remain anonymous for security reasons and Erwin van Veen (Clingendael) for their input and review of the report in whole or in part. We are grateful to Arne Musch, Mathijs Kuppen, Karim Boussak, Anne-Lies Risseeuw, Rawshan Atrooshi and their colleagues at VNG International for their patience, guidance and support throughout the research period. The publication was conducted on the behest of LOGOReP and aims to support parts of its development in Iraq.

Finally, we greatly appreciate the workshop held on 7 December 2020 with key staff from VNG International, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and selected partners to discuss the report’s main findings and further develop its recommendations.

Naturally, the authors remain fully responsible for the contents of the report.