Director of the Iraq Programme
the informal consultations of the Security Council
22 April 2003
The Deputy Secretary-General briefed the Security Council
last Wednesday, 16 April, on the humanitarian situation on the
ground and implementation of resolution 1472 (2003) of 28 March
I last briefed the Council on 8 April.
In addition to the update on the implementation of resolution
1472 (2003) forwarded electronically to the members of the Council
yesterday evening (copy
attached), the Office of the Iraq Programme submitted updates to
the Security Council Committee established by resolution 661 (1990)
- the 661 Committee - on 2 and 14 April.
In view of the updates already submitted, it will not be
necessary for me to provide further details thereon.
Instead, I should like to concentrate on some matters, which
require urgent and pragmatic action by the Council, in order to
remove some of the bottlenecks we have been facing in the delivery
of emergency humanitarian assistance to the Iraqi people who
continue to encounter serious difficulties.
Among the major difficulties are delays in receiving the
necessary security clearances from the occupying powers.
period of the mandate pursuant to resolution 1472 (2003)
You may recall that the already limited
period of the 45-day mandate pursuant to resolution 1472 (2003),
ending on 12 May 2003, was for all practical purposes only 34 days,
because it took 11 days for the 661 Committee to approve the
procedures pursuant to paragraph 4 (g) of that resolution. Furthermore, it should be noted that it was the first time
that the Office of the Iraq Programme and the UN agencies and
programmes concerned were authorized by resolution 1472 (2003) to
contact suppliers directly. That
task has indeed been daunting.
During a relatively limited time period,
we had to review almost 11,000 contracts – of which 7,238 are
approved and fully funded (some $10 billion), and 3,613 are unfunded
(over $7 billion) – containing more than 525,000 items not only
for the purpose of prioritization but also to determine with the
suppliers whether the items urgently required for the emergency
humanitarian purposes could in fact be delivered by 12 May 2003.
Based on the responses received from suppliers, it was
established that out of 266 contracts considered as priority
contracts, only those goods in 160 contracts with a total value of
$454.6 million could be shipped within the mandated period, out of a
pipeline worth some $10 billion.
Most of the goods are in the food ($236.4 million),
electricity ($119.3 million) and health ($53.1 million) sectors.
The 45-day deadline remains the main
reason for the relatively limited number of contracts that could be
processed pursuant to paragraph 4 (b) of resolution 1472.
Further details on the difficulties involved in that regard
are provided in the latest update we provided to the Council
Accordingly, the Council may wish to
consider extending the provisions of resolution 1472 up to 3 June
2003 - a simple technical rollover - to coincide with the end of the
mandate of the current phase XIII of the humanitarian programme in
Iraq pursuant to resolution 1447 (2002).
An extension of 21 days to 3 June would not only recover the
11 days already lost, but also provide us with the opportunity to
utilize additional supplies available in the pipeline.
However, in order to enable us to fully utilize the extended
period, it is essential that the Council take that decision most
We will, of course, continue to provide
the 661 Committee with further regular updates.
Furthermore, subject to the decision of the Council regarding
the extension of the provisions of resolution 1472 (2003), an
assessment of the implementation of that resolution will be included
in the 180-day report of the Secretary-General pursuant to
resolution 1447 (2002).
Since I am referring to reports, I
should also like to suggest that the assessment report on the
implementation of the Goods Review List and its procedures pursuant
to paragraph 5 of resolution 1447 (2002) be submitted to the 661
Committee, instead of the Council.
supplies in the delivery pipeline
The Office of the Iraq Programme has been flooded by
inquiries from permanent missions, as well as suppliers with regard
to the status of their contracts.
As of this morning, the total value of the funded supplies in
the pipeline was $9.958 billion.
The total value of fully processed but unfunded contracts was
$7.174 billion. In
addition, the Office of the Iraq Programme has registered contracts
with a total value of over $7 billion.
The total of unencumbered funds available is $3.223 billion -
$1.522 billion under the ESD (59 per cent) account ($870 million for
oil spare parts and equipment; $652 million for special allocation)
– and $1.701 billion under the ESC (13 per cent) account.
It is too early to know the total amount that can be utilized
from the unencumbered funds pursuant to resolution 1472 (2003),
particularly in light of the constraints imposed by that resolution
in the utilization of such funds.
We will only know once the bills are submitted for additional
costs incurred due to, inter alia, rerouting of shipments to
alternative ports, transportation and other costs for facilitating
the delivery of essential humanitarian supplies.
It may be recalled that on 14 April 2003, I informed the
Chairman of the 661 Committee that, taking into account the
substantial shortfall in the funds available to the programme and
faced with the financial uncertainties due to the total cessation of
oil exports, the Office of the Iraq Programme was obliged, on a
temporary and exceptional basis, to take a pause in processing
additional applications under the ESB (59 per cent) account,
effective immediately. The total number of such contracts is 1,950,
with a total value of over $7 billion.
We consider the decision taken to be a prudent measure under
the current circumstances.
Having said that, I should like to appeal to the Council and
its Sanctions Committee to address the status of the contracts
urgently, particularly those which are ready for shipment or those
which have already been shipped, including those which are currently
on the high seas, or ready to be delivered by land and have not been
selected as priority contracts under the relevant provisions of
resolution 1472 (2003). Understandably,
suppliers have been complaining and wish to know the status of their
contracts. In all
fairness, we owe them an explanation.
The Office of the Iraq Programme would
also seek the guidance of the Council regarding payment for the
goods that were under discharge when the UN independent inspection
agents were withdrawn from Iraq, as well as goods that were
discharged after departure of the inspection agents.
Iraq is expected to have a bumper wheat harvest, on the scale
of last year. Despite
our efforts last year, we failed to secure the agreement of all
parties concerned regarding the necessary arrangements to purchase
wheat locally. I do
hope that arrangements can be worked out soon to purchase wheat
locally, pursuant to the provisions of paragraph 4 (i) of resolution
1472 (2003). We will
keep the Council informed once the arrangements are worked out.
I hope also that we will be able to purchase other locally
produced goods. This
would help to jump-start the local economy and provide significant
XIII of the humanitarian programme
Since the start of the humanitarian programme in December
1996, the Iraqi people have become more dependent than ever on
supplies provided under the programme, particularly with regard to
essential food and medical supplies.
Before the war, 560,000 metric tons of food rations valued at
$212 million were being delivered nationwide every month.
Over 90 per cent of the population relied on the monthly food
basket. In fact, for 60
per cent of the population, those rations had been the main source
of income. Reliance
will not stop as of 3 June 2003, when the current phase XIII of the
programme comes to an end. If
anything, with the current uncertainties and difficulties, the Iraqi
people will be even more dependent, unless there is quick economic
Whatever decisions the Council may wish to take with regard
to the future status of the programme, it would be advisable to
ensure that modifications to the programme are introduced gradually
to avoid any further disruptions in the day-to-day lives of the
I should like to appeal to all concerned
to give priority to the interests of the Iraqi people above all
other considerations. The
Iraqi people have suffered far too long. They deserve better and
actions to alleviate their suffering must not be postponed.