on the Oil-for-Food Programme
Progress Report on the phasing down and termination of
the Oil-for-Food Programme was circulated to Council members on 17
September, in advance of the briefing that was originally scheduled
for 19 September. In
view of the Special Session of the General Assembly, that briefing
is taking place today.
then, however, because of the security situation, and because the UN
has been specifically targeted in Iraq, the number of UN
international staff in Iraq has been further reduced to less than
Thursday, 25 September, the Spokesman of the Secretary-General
announced that the Secretary-General had ordered a temporary
redeployment of UN international staff in Iraq.
He further stated that there remained 42 international staff
in Baghdad and 44 in the north, and those numbers could be expected
to shrink further over the next few days. Meanwhile, our essential
humanitarian activities in Iraq would continue, thanks to the
efforts of our more than 4,000 national staff in the country. A
small group of core international staff will remain, both in Baghdad
and in Erbil, mainly to provide leadership for the essential
mentioned in paragraph 76 of the Progress Report, the minimum number
of UN international staff required for an orderly transfer of over
$1.5 billion worth of Programme assets acquired under the 13 per
cent account for the three northern governorates is 115.
In light of the latest decision taken regarding the number of
UN international staff in Iraq, we will not have 115 staff members
in the three northern governorates, at least for the immediate
future, though we will keep the security situation under constant
review in order to return staff to Iraq as soon as possible. We only have about eight weeks left to the termination of the
Programme by 21 November 2003.
Despite the enormity of the tasks involved, we remained
confident that with a minimum of 115 international staff we would be
able to phase down and terminate the Programme in an orderly manner.
Accordingly, in the absence of the minimum number of required
international staff, the only alternative course of action
could be the transfer of assets, ongoing operations and
responsibility for the administration of any remaining activity
under the Programme to the Authority – Coalition Provisional
Authority (CPA) – “as is”, together with the relevant
to the temporary suspension of Programme activities in March 2003,
UN agencies and programmes were requested to complete “project
checklists” which set out, amongst other information, financial
expenditures incurred under each project, date of initiation and
completion, location of the project, status of implementation and
ongoing local and international contracts that were concluded by the
agency/programme for the project. We have also obtained from the UN agencies and programmes,
exit strategy documents, sectoral overviews and lists of warehouse
assets. All the above documents have been made available to the CPA
and the respective local entities in order to facilitate the
transfer arrangements. Copies of standard form contracts used by the
UN agencies and programmes have also been shared with the CPA to
enable an understanding of the legal implications, which arise in
the context of the termination and transfer of the Programme.
and ongoing projects, programmes and activities may be transferred
to the CPA through the instrumentality of a “dossier” prepared
for each project. The proposed dossiers would contain the following:
agreement on the transfer of assets, the project checklists, all
active contracts and purchase orders pertaining to the project,
deeds of assignment of active contracts, information on warranties,
feasibility studies, inventory of assets
for each project, as well as extracts of relevant correspondence
with the local and national authorities that pertain solely to the
management of the facility.
such a course of action be acceptable to the CPA, the transfer of
Programme assets and activities could be based on the relevant
documents prepared by the UN agencies and programmes, as it would
not be possible to carry out inside Iraq a joint UN/CPA physical
count of all Programme assets.
The transfer of the relevant documentation could take place
in Amman, Jordan, in Larnaca, Cyprus, and even at Headquarters.
of contracts under resolution 1472 (2003)
A total of 450 contracts, with a total shippable value of
some $1.2 billion were adopted by the United Nations agencies and
programmes in the context of their emergency relief operations at
the outset of the war in Iraq. As at 26 September 2003, the total
value of goods delivered to Iraq under the abovementioned contracts
has exceeded $830 million. While deliveries under some of the
adopted contracts are less than the identified shippable quantities,
in many other cases the delivered quantities have exceeded the
initially identified shippable quantities. Consequently, some $439
million worth of goods are still expected to be delivered under the
adopted contracts. Additionally, contracts related to more than $200
million worth of goods previously adopted under resolution 1472,
have now been prioritized for delivery under the provisions of
resolution 1483 (2003).
of contracts under resolution 1483 (2003)
the commencement of the war in Iraq, a total of 3,610 contracts with
an undelivered value of $7.441 billion have been either adopted by
the United Nations agencies and programmes pursuant to resolution
1472 (2003), or prioritized for delivery to Iraq under resolution
1483 (2003). Out of the above total, 3,268 contracts, with an
undelivered value of $6.48 billion have been prioritized through the
coordination mechanism established pursuant to resolution 1483.
This mechanism involves the United Nations Office the
Humanitarian Coordinator in Iraq, the United Nations agency of
programme concerned with the sector, the Authority referred to in
resolution 1483 (the CPA), and the Iraqi technical staff of the
sectoral line ministries.
As at 26
September 2003, a total of 502 contracts worth $1.464 billion, or
more than 15 per cent of the total number of contract prioritized
under resolution 1483, have been amended by the United Nations
agencies and programmes through negotiations with the suppliers
process of prioritization of contracts and finalization of
amendments thereon were adversely affected by a number of factors,
particularly a drastic reduction of United Nations staff in Iraq and
suspension of plans for redeployment of Cotecna into the country
following the attack of 19 August on the our headquarters in
Baghdad. Responding to queries from the Office of the Iraq
Programme, however, the United Nations agencies and programmes have
assured us that they would be able to complete the entire caseload
of their respective amendments by the deadline of 1 November, except
in such cases where the supplier is unable or unwilling to proceed
with the contracts or the proposed amendments.
coordination on prioritization of contracts continues, albeit at a
much reduced pace and through various channels, an entirely new set
of arrangements had to be put in place for the inspection and
authentication of goods.
inspection and authentication arrangements
consultations with the CPA and relevant Iraqi officials, the Office
of the Iraq Programme approached the Governments of three countries
neighbouring Iraq in order to seek their concurrence with the
co-location of the United Nations independent inspection agents (Cotecna)
with their respective customs officers at their border customs
installations, immediately across the authorized Iraqi entry points.
already have received a positive response in writing from the
Government of Syria and have already conducted a preliminary
inspection of the site. I also expect to receive positive response from the
Governments of Jordan and Turkey.
we receive all the responses, we will issue appropriate guidelines
which will be posted on the OIP Web site.
shipments destined to the port of Umm Qasr, the Office of the Iraq
Programme is making arrangements for their inspection by Cotecna at
two locations in the United Arab Emirates and for their subsequent
monitored delivery to Umm Qasr.
Measures have been taken to commence Cotecna operations in
these new locations within a maximum of one week after obtaining the
agreement of the host country.
a view to ensuring uninterrupted flow of essential humanitarian
goods in the pipeline, the Office of the Iraq Programme has posted a
notice on its website instructing the suppliers to continue shipping
the contracted goods to Iraq, as ad hoc arrangements remain
in place for authenticating delivery of the goods not inspected at
the current inspection sites.
Comprehensive exit strategy
Is due on 21 October, 30 days before the termination of
the Programme on 21 November 2003.
Difficulties encountered in view of uncertainties because of
security situation. We
expected to submit a written report. In view of uncertainties that
compel us to keep revising our options, perhaps the best would be
for us to keep the Council and its Committee informed regularly, at
least once a week, on the progress made, instead of submitting a
written report to the Council that in fact should have been already
finalized by end of this month.
Most of our assumptions in developing our exit strategies
have been constantly overtaken by events over which we have no