FACT SHEET: U.S.-Iraq Higher Coordinating Committee
The U.S.-Iraq Higher Coordinating Committee meeting in Washington, co-chaired by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein, underscored the breadth of U.S. support for Iraq. The United States, through its strategic partnership with the Republic of Iraq, seeks to advance mutual objectives of a stable, secure, sovereign, and unified Iraq. Through these programs, which bring technical expertise from across the U.S. government (USG), United Nations, NGOs, and private sector, we support the Government of Iraq in meeting the needs of all its citizens, including those who are part of its most vulnerable and marginalized communities. Over the past decade the United States has been Iraq’s most significant partner in development and humanitarian assistance. Since 2014, the United States has invested nearly $3.4 billion in humanitarian assistance to help Iraqis recover from the destruction of ISIS. As we move forward, we are working together to foster stability, to accelerate and broaden economic opportunities, to bolster Iraq’s democracy, and to help the government meet the needs of all Iraqis. Last year alone, the United States provided $150 million in development assistance and $285 million in humanitarian assistance for Iraq.
- Economic Reform, Private Sector, Growth: The USG has a robust portfolio of assistance directed at diversifying the Iraqi economy, creating more economic opportunities for Iraqis, and strengthening the enabling environment for economic growth. USG activities include:
- Supporting business incubators, start-ups, and entrepreneurs in a variety of sectors
- Reducing barriers to access capital
- Regulation reform
- Commercial law development
- Fiscal transparency
- Climate Change, Energy, and Water: According to the United Nations Environment Programme, Iraq is the fifth most vulnerable country in the world due to decreased water and food availability and extreme temperatures, which will negatively affect food security, water security, health security, and social well-being in the country. To support Iraq’s resilience to climate change, modernize its energy sector, and develop effective water management policies, USG activities include:
- Supporting and promoting the capture of flared gas
- Investing in clean and renewable energy
- Improving regulations to support climate adaptation
- Developing government capacity to address climate challenges
- Increasing the efficiency of natural gas power plants to achieve greater power production with the same, if not less, gas
- Developing smart grids that work with renewable energy sources
- Bolstering water management using modern irrigation methods powered by solar energy
- Cultural Heritage Programs: The USG maintains strong relationships with key historical preservation organizations in Iraq to allow museums and conservators to highlight Iraq’s rich history and cultural diversity. USG activities include:
- Supporting Iraqi experts to learn the latest conservation techniques
- Repairing and restoring important cultural heritage sites
- Digitizing and documenting artifacts and historic documents
- Higher Education Programs: The United States supports private Iraqi institutions of higher education on their paths to achieve accreditation. A portion of the grants have been applied to promote women in education. In 2022, this program also supported 300 students from the American University of Afghanistan to attend the American University of Iraq, Sulaimani. The United States also facilitates partnerships between U.S. and Iraqi higher education institutions to better prepare Iraqi youth for success in the 21st century economy. Additionally, we support a number of workforce development programs, providing Iraqi youth with the skills necessary for success in the rapidly changing global workplace.
- COVID-19 Response: On August 14, 2021, the United States donated 503,100 Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines through the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) initiative. As of November 2021, the United States has provided Iraq more than $64 million in COVID-19 assistance.
- Humanitarian Assistance: The United States is the largest provider of humanitarian assistance to Iraq. Humanitarian needs persist in Iraq and further life-saving assistance is necessary for internally displaced persons, vulnerable Iraqis, returnees, refugees, and persons at risk of statelessness. USG activities with relief agencies include:
- Providing drinking water, shelter, and food assistance
- Ensuring access to essential healthcare and mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS)
- Helping vulnerable Iraqis get back to work and school
- Expanding access to civil documentation, which helps provide long-term solutions to displaced populations
For further information, please contact Mark Weiner at WeinerMS@state.gov.