18 January 2010
Deputy Secretary-General
DSG/SM/483
IK/617

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Deputy Secretary-General, Reviewing Lessons Learned from Compact with Iraq,


Stresses Its Continuing Need for International Support on Way Ahead


Following are UN Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro’s remarks on lessons learned from the International Compact with Iraq and the way forward in New York, today, 18 January:


It is a pleasure to join you for this discussion.


The engagement of the United Nations in Iraq continues to evolve.  For the past several years, our efforts were focused primarily on political and electoral matters.  The Government of Iraq has indicated its desire for an increasing emphasis on supporting Iraq’s social and economic development in the years to come.


Iraq has made important progress towards the vision laid out in the International Compact.  Today we will explore some of the lessons learned and what we should do going forward.  We will first hear from Mr. [Ibrahim] Gambari, the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on the Iraq Compact.  Ambassador [Hamid] Al Bayati will then offer his perspective.  After his remarks, the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Ms. Christine McNab, will outline the way forward for the United Nations.  We will then open the floor for your views and comments. 


The Compact was launched at a time of great skepticism on the future of Iraq.  Faced by terrible violence and divisions within the international community, its outlook was not very promising.  There were doubts about Iraq’s readiness for a major commitment; it was feared that it lacked a political process to frame such an overarching vision, and that the institutions were not yet ready for implementation.  It was also thought that the international community would not provide adequate support, and that the gap between the Government of Iraq and the rest of the world was too great.


I mention this backdrop to remind all of us of the atmosphere that greeted the Compact’s launch.  But I also mention it to stress the main contributions the Compact delivered to Iraq at the time, namely hope, vision and unity of purpose. 


In other words, the Compact offered a new beginning on the path towards peace and prosperity.  A path built on a shared vision between the Government of Iraq and the international community.  A path based on the commitment of all partners to devote their goodwill and resources to Iraq’s recovery.


As you know, security has improved in Iraq, and with it, normal life has increasingly returned to the country’s cities and towns.  Markets have re-opened and operate at normal hours.  This has also helped electricity and water delivery return to pre-war levels.


In terms of the country’s internal politics, Iraq held successful provincial elections a year ago, and parliamentary elections are scheduled for early March.  Externally, Iraq’s neighbours have reached out to Baghdad and the country has established diplomatic relations with most of its regional partners.


Iraq’s economy is also showing signs of life.  Oil production is increasing.  International interest in further developing Iraq’s oilfields has been overwhelming.


All this progress notwithstanding, much work remains to be done.  Iraq’s challenges today are daunting and numerous.  The political process is incomplete and the country falls far short of its potential with regard to its social and economic development.  These challenges will require the continued support and know-how of the international community.  Iraq still needs its international partners, and the world still needs a peaceful and prosperous Iraq.


I wish to express, on behalf of the Secretary-General, the appreciation of the United Nations for your efforts in implementing the Compact.  The Compact has helped Iraq to emerge from despair and chart a course for the future.  I thank Mr. Gambari for his hard work, I pay tribute to the Government and people of Iraq for their determination and resilience.


We at the United Nations look forward to doing our part in the next stage of Iraq’s journey.


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For information media • not an official record