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Central and Southern Governorates

From May 1996 through 20 March 2003, the Government of Iraq was responsible for implementing the Oil-for-Food Programme only in the 15 central and southern governorates.

At the start of each phase(*) of the Programme, the Government submitted a Distribution Plan for the consideration and approval of the United Nations Secretary General. The plan covered the bulk purchase of food and basic medical items for the entire population in the central, southern and northern governorates. In the northern governorates the UN agencies were responsible for assessing the humanitarian needs of the population beyond these bulk items and for ordering supplies and equipment for the population through the Oil-for-Food Programme on behalf of the Government of Iraq. The Distribution Plan included:

  • a list of supplies and equipment to be purchased/imported during a given phase;
  • a budget for implementing the programme during that phase;
  • the proposed allocation for activities in each sector.

The main responsibility of the United Nations in the centre and south under Security Council Resolution 986 (1995) and the Memorandum of Understanding signed with the Government of Iraq in May 1996, was to:

  • confirm that there has been equitable distribution of humanitarian supplies to the Iraqi population nationwide;
  • ensure the effectiveness of the operation and determine the adequacy of the available resources to meet Iraq's humanitarian needs.

UN observation was organized by sector. Each sector had observers from the Office of the Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq (UNOHCI) and the lead UN agency for that sector. From the inception of the Oil-for-Food Programme until 20 March 2003, there were some 1.2 million observations. The cooperation of the Government of Iraq with the observation process was generally satisfactory.

The capacity of the Oil-for-Food Programme was seriously challenged however by a cumulative oil revenue shortfall dating from phase VIII (9 June-5 December 2000) through phase XII (30 May - 25 November 2002). As a result, some 3,600 UN-approved humanitarian supply contracts for the central and southern governorates, worth some $7.1 billion, were unfunded.

Humanitarian Shortfall - Central and Southern Governorates
(9 May 2003)

Sector Shortfall
(million US dollars)
agriculture 933
education 438
electricity 536
food 1.1 billion
health 430
housing 1.1 billion
and transportation
food handling 1.1 billion
water and sanitation 604
Total 7.1 billion


(*)The Oil-for-Food Programme is in its thirteenth phase which started on 2 December 2002 and ends on 3 June 2003.

More about the Programme

Northern Governorates
Central and Southern Governorates

 Transport and
 Food Handling
 Water and Sanitation
 IDPs and Settlement
 Mine Action