UNAMI: Behind the scenes for a better Iraq

 

While the ongoing violence in Iraq grabbed many newspaper headlines in 2006, behind the scenes, the United Nations was working to promote stability in the country.Although these activities could not – for security and other reasons – be widely publicized, they nevertheless contributed to the progress that was achieved against the grim backdrop of the conflict.

 

Throughout 2006, the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) continued to support and assist the people and the Government of Iraq with political and economic efforts towards achieving a peaceful, stable and prosperous Iraq in accordance with its mandate.

 

Following the successful conduct of the general elections in December of 2005, UNAMI pursued its efforts to promote national dialogue and reconciliation through an inclusive, participatory and transparent political process that responds to the legitimate interests and needs of all Iraqis. To this end, the Special Representative of the Secretary- General for Iraq, Ashraf Jehangir Qazi, was in constant contact with Iraqi authorities and leaders from all segments of society, as well as with representatives of countries from the region and the wider international community.

 

UNAMI supported the Council of Representatives in the preparations for a constitutional review process and the implementation of the Iraqi Constitution. The mission assisted the Constitutional Review Committee on substantive and procedural aspects of the constitutional review process. Through a range of seminars, workshops and trainings, the mission promoted dialogue aimed at building consensus behind the revision of the Constitution. UNAMI also continued to coordinate donor assistance aimed at assisting the Council and the Government of Iraq with issues related to the Constitution.

 

During this period, UNAMI continued its support to the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq (IECI), providing assistance aimed at strengthening the capacity of the IECI in the logistical, financial and technical areas. UNAMI also assisted the Council in establishing the professional Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC). The mission continued the coordination of international electoral support and the implementation of electoral assistance programmes financed through the International Reconstruction Fund Facility for Iraq.

 

UNAMI has long been working closely with Iraqi ministries, judicial institutions and civil society to promote the establishment of a strong human rights protection system, including a national commission dedicated to the issue. The mission now issues a bimonthly report on the human rights situation in the country.

 

Over the past year, UN programmes, funds and agencies worked together, from both inside and outside Iraq’s borders, to improve living conditions and economic opportunities for all Iraqis. In cooperation with Iraqi authorities, the UN Country Team worked tirelessly to improve the quality of life in critical areas such as health, education, water and sanitation.

 

In a country with 1.7 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) and from which up to two million have fled to neighbouring countries, the Country Team also provided critical immediate assistance. UNAMI assisted with strengthening the capacities of Iraqi ministries and institutions, and led the coordination of UN humanitarian programmes and the financial assistance of the international donor community. In particular, the Iraq Trust Fund under the Reconstruction Fund Facility, managed by the UN Development Group, provided donors with a mechanism for allocating resources towards priorities identified jointly by the Iraqi Government and the UN.As the year drew to a close, 26 donors had pledged and deposited over US$1.1 billion to the Trust Fund Facility. Meanwhile, the implementing UN agencies had legally committed US$688 million and disbursed US$586 million of the total approved projects amounting to US$886 million.

 

Another important initiative to promote economic and reconstruction efforts was the elaboration of the International Compact with Iraq. The Compact is a project jointly chaired by the Government and the UN to build a new partnership with the international community. With the support of the World Bank, it will over the next five years bring together the international community and multilateral organizations to help Iraq achieve its National Vision, according to clearly defined priorities, benchmarks and commitments.

 

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Prepared by the Peace and Security Section, United Nations Department of Public Information.

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