About us

UNICEF believes all children have a right to survive, thrive and fulfill their potential – to the benefit of a better world.

Children play at a UNICEF supported child friendly centre

Our Mission

Role of UNICEF in Iraq

In 1984, UNICEF established an office in Iraq. In 1990, following the first Gulf war, UNICEF implemented an emergency programme to meet the humanitarian needs of children and women.  Throughout the sanctions era of the 1990s, UNICEF focused on rehabilitating social services, providing life-saving therapeutic feeding to severely malnourished children and assisting the most vulnerable children. In 1997, via the “Oil for Food” programme, UNICEF addressed the deteriorating health situation of children, the increasing number of school drop-outs and the protection of children deprived of care.

From 2003-2008, UNICEF ensured emergency access to water and sanitation, primary health care, nutrition, education and child protection services for millions of children and women affected by extreme violence. In 2009, UNICEF reoriented its country programme to support the Government of Iraq develop child-friendly social policies, modernize its institutions and improve the nationwide delivery of basic services critical to the future survival and development of children.

In 2012-2013 as the conflict in Syria brought 250,000 refugees to the Kurdistan region, UNICEF established water and sanitation, education, health, and child protection services in refugee camps and in host communities. 

Since 2014, when internal conflict uprooted millions of Iraqis and placed millions more in need of humanitarian assistance, UNICEF has been working with its partners to meet critical, life -saving needs as well as providing emergency and longer term programmes which support children and families. 

UNICEF's Country Office is located in Baghdad. Field Offices are located in Erbil, Dohuk, Baghdad and Basra. UNICEF also maintains a field presence in Sulaymaniyah.

UNICEF's overall goal is to support the Government of Iraq in realizing the rights of all Iraq's children to survival, development, protection and participation, and the creation of an enabling environment to ensure strengthened accountabilities for children with an equity approach. UNICEF works to improve the situation of children in Iraq through key interventions.

Country Programme Action Plan 2016-2019

Our Plan

The Country Programme Action Plan (CPAP) is a four year framework that outlines how UNICEF and the Government of Iraq will work together to improve the situation of Iraqi children. UNICEF’s 2016-2019 CPAP was prepared in full consultation with the Government of Iraq, civil society, members of the international community, and media. In support of the National Development Plan 2013-2017 and the Kurdistan Regional Government's 'Vision 2020', the overall goal of the 2016 - 2019 country programme is to support the Government at national, regional and subnational levels to strengthen basic social service systems to reach the most vulnerable children and women, especially those affected by conflict and displacement.

UNICEF will prioritize support for accelerating access to quality health and nutrition and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services that help to reduce newborn, infant and child mortality; support children - particularly girls - to return to school, complete quality primary education and transition to secondary education; protect children and women from violence, abuse and exploitation; and promote adolescent development and participation. 

Humanitarian actions are anticipated to contribute to a significant part of UNICEF support in Iraq. UNICEF will also continue to provide coordination for WASH, education, nutrition, and child protection in humanitarian situations. 

Whist the country programme will operation nationwide, it will focus on the governorates and districts which have the highest disparities, worst child development indicators, and significant proportion of the population living in situations of vulnerability. 

Our Representative

Peter Hawkins

UNICEF Representative in Iraq Peter Hawkins (centre) participates in a class activity as he meets with students and faculty at the Ammar Ibn Yasser School in the Wadi Hajar neighbourhood of Mosul, Iraq,
© UNICEF/UN073519/Yar
UNICEF Representative in Iraq Peter Hawkins (centre) participates in a class activity as he meets with students and faculty at the Ammar Ibn Yasser School in the Wadi Hajar neighbourhood of Mosul, Iraq,

Peter Hawkins took up the post as UNICEF Representative in Iraq in September 2015. 

From 2004 and until his assignment with UNICEF, Mr. Hawkins worked with the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) for eleven years, where he held different positions starting as Team Leader for Human Development (DFID, Nigeria 2004 - 2009), Deputy Head for Provincial Reconstruction Team (Helmand, Afghanistan; Feb 2009 – Aug 2010), Deputy Head and Group Head for Sub-national Governance, Conflict Reduction and Democracy, Accountability and Voice (DFID, Pakistan; Sept 2010 – Aug 2011), Team Leader for Human Development (DFID, Ethiopia; Aug 2011 – July 2013) and lastly, the Head of Profession for Programme Management (DFID, London HQ; July 2013 – Sept 2015).

From 1985 to 2004, Mr. Hawkins worked for 18 years with Save the Children (UK) where he last held the position of Regional Director for East and Central Africa (London HQ). His other positions with Save the Children-UK were Regional Director for South Asia (London HQ), Emergency Coordinator (London HQ), Country Director (Angola), Deputy Country Director (Sri Lanka), and Senior Programme Coordinator (Ethiopia). 

Peter Hawkins is a British citizen born in London. He holds an advanced degree in Law (Masters in Law, LL.M.), SOAS (School of Oriental & African Studies), University of London, in International Governance and Human Rights, and a Bachelor of Arts (with Honours) in African Language (Amharic) and Law (UK and International Law), SOAS, University of London.