Following the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 1500 calling for the establishment of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI). The Mission, alongside various UN agencies, was tasked with strengthening state institutional capacities, promoting human rights, facilitating free and fair elections, and coordinating the delivery of humanitarian and development assistance to the Iraqi people. With this mandate, UNAMI has, since its inception, assisted in seven major elections, and played a crucial role in the drafting of the 2005 Constitution.
In the aftermath of the initial invasion and the fall of the regime, the U.S. maintained a strong military presence in the country, responding to the outbreak of an Iraqi insurgency, later to become a full-blown civil war. By 2011, Iraq had become more stable, leading American forces to withdraw. Sectarian tensions, however, remained high, resulting in sporadic violence. In 2014, largely as a result of spillover from the nearby conflict in Syria, a new crisis emerged – a powerful militant group, known as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), took over large swaths of territory in northwestern Iraq and eastern Syria. This group, which claims to have established a new Islamic Caliphate, has caused widespread violence, destruction, and human suffering. More than three million civilians have been driven from their homes in the country due to the violence, and much of the progress that occurred over the last decade has been rolled back. Unfortunately, due to the scale of the crisis, international funding for these activities has failed to keep pace, and the UN has been forced to curtail assistance.