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Annan and Sevan: Government of Iraq Can Improve Health Status and Reduce Malnutrition (1 Jun 00 and 13 Feb 01)

Below Benon Sevan states that due to increased revenue, the Government of Iraq can improve civilian 
health and reduce current malnutrition levels.  Sevan also expresses concerns (voiced in the S-G's 
1 June 2000 180 report) that there are "inordinate delays" in the Government of Iraq's contract 
submission and application.

* 13 February 2001 Letter from Sevan to Iraq's Permanent UN Representative
* Link to the S-G's 1 June 2000 180 Day Phase VII report
- Note the S-G's statement that until "Iraq’s infrastructure for electricity and water and 
sanitation has been sufficiently rehabilitated, the Iraqi people will continue to be vulnerable to 
disease and hardship."  The S-G also expresses concerns about holds on parts relevant to the 
aforementioned sectors (para. 98). 
* 15 February Agence France Presse article about the S-G's opinion regarding the Government of 
Iraq's malnutrition reduction and health-related improvement capabilities.
- Note that the AFP article mistakenly attributes Sevan's 13 February 2001 letter and the letter's 
quotes to Annan.

United Nations Office of the Iraq Programme 
oil for food

13 February 2001  

Letter from Benon V. Sevan, Executive Director of the Office of the Iraq Programme, to H.E. 
Ambassador Mohammed Al-Douri, 
Permanent Representative of Iraq to the United Nations


            On behalf of the Secretary-General, I have the honour to acknowledge receipt, under 
cover of the letter (MOU/9/82) dated 4 February 2001 addressed to the Secretary-General from the 
Chargé d’affaires of the Permanent Mission of Iraq to the United Nations, of the distribution plan 
submitted by your Government for the new period specified in paragraph 1 of Security Council 
resolution 1330 (2000) of 5 December 2000, together with the annexes to the distribution plan 
received from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Iraq, through the Office of the 
Humanitarian Coordinator in Iraq, and would like to inform you that I have been authorized by the 
Secretary-General to convey in this respect the following.

In resolutions 986 (1995) of 14 April 1995 and 1330 (2000) of 5 December 2000, the Security Council 
requires that the Government of Iraq guarantee, on the basis of a plan to be submitted to and 
approved by the Secretary-General, equitable distribution of medicine, health supplies, foodstuffs, 
and materials and supplies for essential civilian needs (humanitarian supplies) exported to Iraq 
under the conditions defined by those resolutions. The memorandum of understanding concluded on 20 
May 1996 between the United Nations Secretariat and the Government of Iraq (S/1996/356) provides 
that the Government of Iraq shall prepare a distribution plan describing in detail the procedures 
to be followed by the competent authorities with a view to ensuring the equitable distribution of 
humanitarian supplies and submit the plan to the Secretary-General for approval. The memorandum 
states in this regard that if the Secretary-General is satisfied that the plan adequately ensures 
equitable distribution of humanitarian supplies to the Iraqi population throughout the country, he 
will so inform the Government of Iraq.

I have the honour to inform the Government of Iraq through you that, having examined the 
distribution plan, the Secretary-General has come to the conclusion that the plan, if properly 
implemented, should meet the requirements of equitable distribution of humanitarian supplies to the 
Iraqi population throughout the country. The plan is therefore approved with the following 

         By paragraph 15 of Security Council resolution 1284 (1999) of 17 December 1999, the 
Government of Iraq has been authorized to export unlimited amounts of oil and to import, under 
relevant resolutions of the Council, a wide range of goods to meet the humanitarian needs of its 
population and to rehabilitate its civilian infrastructure.  As stated by the Secretary-General, 
now that increased revenues are available for the implementation of the programme, the Government 
of Iraq is in a position to reduce current malnutrition levels and improve the health status of the 
Iraqi people (S/2000/520, para. 96).  This can be achieved by allocating the necessary funding 
level in the food and health sectors as well as by ensuring the timely contracting of all supplies 
in quantities sufficient to meet the requirements and targets set forth in the distribution plan, 
in particular those contained in the supplementary report of the Secretary-General (S/1998/90).  It 
is also necessary to improve distribution systems in the food, nutrition and health sectors. 

 It is a matter of grave concern, however, that irrespective of the increased level of funding for 
different sectors contained in previous distribution plans, in particular for phase VIII, there are 
inordinate delays in contracting and submission of applications for the supplies urgently required 
to meet the humanitarian needs.   Accordingly, I wish to reiterate the repeated recommendations 
made by the Secretary-General that the Government of Iraq expedite its contracting process and 
ensure the submission of applications to the Secretariat most expeditiously.

 The caloric target of 2,472 kilocalories per person per day and financial allocation for the food 
basket as indicated in table 1 is welcome and is in line with the Secretary-General’s 
recommendation in his supplementary report to the Security Council (S/1998/90) that a food basket 
of 2,463 kilocalories per person per day country-wide be provided under the programme. It is 
essential, however, to keep under constant review the funding level of food contracts in order to 
ensure that the target for the food basket is funded in full, thereby enabling the distribution of 
the enhanced, and full, food basket on a regular basis. 

          In order to improve expeditiously the nutritional status of children, the implementation 
of the targeted nutrition programme should be expedited most urgently and the funding level should 
be kept under constant review in order to ensure the availability of adequate supplies, 
ware-housing, transportation and related infrastructure.  While it is acknowledged that in the 
proposed distribution plan, in addition to the $6 million allocated, there are a number of 
allocations made for certain items, under different sectors, which are interrelated and have a 
direct bearing on the implementation of the targeted nutrition programme, it should be noted that 
neither the financial allocation nor the range of items related to infrastructure are commensurate 
with the scale of the existing programme and the need for its expansion to ensure that it reaches 
the full caseload.   During the previous phases of the programme, the targeted nutrition programme 
has also suffered from very long delays in contracting the supplies required.   

            Accordingly, in view of the grave concerns expressed by all parties, including the 
Government of Iraq, regarding the nutritional status of children, it is recommended that the 
Government of Iraq clarify how the relatively limited resources allocated in the distribution plan 
would satisfy the Government’s objectives in improving the nutritional status of children.

             It may be recalled that in paragraph 12 of its resolution 1330 (2000), the Security 
Council decided, inter alia, that the funds deposited in the escrow account established by 
resolution 986 (1995) to be transferred to the Compensation Fund in phase IX shall be 25 per cent, 
instead of 30 per cent, and that the additional funds resulting from this decision will be 
deposited into the account established under paragraph 8 (a) of resolution 986 (1995) to be used 
for strictly humanitarian projects “to address the needs of the most vulnerable groups in Iraq as 
referred to in paragraph 126 of the report of the Secretary-General (S/2000/1132)”.   Accordingly, 
the inclusion of the Part Ten (Special Allocation Requirements) in response to paragraph 12 of 
resolution 1330 (2000) is welcome. In this regard, at the informal discussions held in Baghdad 
between the technical ministries of the Government of Iraq and United Nations agencies and 
programmes, a range of relevant activities have already been identified.  It is therefore 
recommended that these discussions be continued in order to further clarify the list of specific 
humanitarian projects intended to address the needs of the groups referred to in paragraph 126 of 
the above-mentioned report of the Secretary-General.  Such an approach should assist the Security 
Council Committee established by resolution 661 (1990) in expediting approval of applications for 
supplies, related to projects pursuant to paragraph 12 of resolution 1330 (2000).

            A copy of the list of supplies and goods accompanying the distribution plan will be 
made available to the Security Council Committee.  The list will also be posted on the web site of 
the Office of the Iraq Programme, together with the distribution plan, in order to provide 
information to all concerned, including potential suppliers.  I should like to inform you, however, 
that the Secretary-General’s approval of the plan does not constitute an endorsement of the 
specific items for equipment and supplies contained in the annexes to the plan.  Having reviewed 
the categorized list of proposed supplies and goods to be purchased and imported under the plan, it 
is necessary to seek, without prejudice to the merits of the stated requirements, additional 
information and/or clarification regarding a limited number of items in order to establish their 
relevance to the programme and, where applicable, to avoid unnecessary delays in processing related 
applications and amendments.  Such items include, for example, equipment and supplies related to a 
“banknote production line”, which were not approved previously by the Security Council Committee, 
as well as requirements for civil aviation, including the purchase of two aircraft.  In this 
regard, I wish to inform you that the materials and supplies at issue could be added to the 
categorized list only following consultations with the Security Council Committee.  This will be 
communicated to the appropriate Iraqi authorities in due course.  However, should applications be 
submitted for such items, the Office of the Iraq Programme would seek guidance from the Security 
Council Committee.

            Amendments to the plan, where appropriate, should meet the requirements outlined in 
paragraph 5 of resolution 1153 (1998). It is recognized that in certain sectors not all the 
information required under paragraph 5 of that resolution could be provided in the plan at this 
stage because of the complexity of the activities and the range of items to be procured. 
Accordingly, the Government of Iraq as well as the United Nations agencies and programmes, should 
take all necessary steps to ensure that applications submitted to the United Nations Secretariat 
will indicate priority and complementarity in compliance with paragraph 5 of resolution 1153 (1998).

            The approval of the distribution plan is subject to the condition that its 
implementation is governed by the relevant provisions of Security Council resolutions 986 (1995), 
1281 (1999), 1284 (1999), 1302 (2000), 1330 (2000) and the memorandum of understanding (S/1996/356) 
and that, in case of inconsistency between the particular provisions of the plan, on the one hand, 
and the resolutions and the memorandum of understanding, on the other, the provisions of the latter 
documents shall prevail.

            Furthermore, the approval of the plan is without prejudice to actions that might be 
taken by the Security Council Committee regarding applications for export of particular items 
contained in the list submitted for the Committee’s consideration in accordance with its procedures.

            The joint unit established by resolution 1051 (1996) will continue to review the 
categorized list in the light of additional information that may become available, for the purposes 
of identifying items that are covered under the relevant provisions of that resolution, because of 
their possible dual use for civilian and prohibited purposes under resolution 687 (1991) of 3 April 
1991 and other relevant resolutions. 

            Taking into account paragraph 7 of resolution 1330 (2000) and in accordance with 
paragraph 2 of resolution 1175 (1998) and paragraph 18 of resolution 1284 (1999), the 
Secretary-General, in consultation with the Government of Iraq, will submit to the Security Council 
Committee a detailed and project-based list of oil spare parts and equipment.

            The Secretary-General welcomes the statement contained in paragraph 18 of the 
distribution plan, which reads as follows:

“The Government of Iraq confirms its willingness to cooperate fully with the Programme and to allow 
it to observe throughout the country the equitable distribution of humanitarian supplies imported 
under this distribution plan.  To this end the UN personnel working in the Programme will enjoy 
unrestricted movement in connection with the performance of their functions and the possibility of 
receiving what facilitates their functions in accordance with paragraph 44 of the MOU.”

Accordingly, pursuant to paragraph 44 of the memorandum of understanding, it is essential that 
United Nations observers and oil spare parts monitors enjoy unrestricted movement throughout Iraq 
in order to fulfill their responsibilities in carrying out end-use and end-user observation and 
monitoring of all supplies delivered to Iraq under the programme, including, in particular, those 
supplies which have been approved or released from hold by the Security Council Committee, with the 
specific requirement of end-use/user observation/monitoring and reporting.

            In connection with the above, I should also like to draw your attention to section VIII 
of the memorandum of understanding (S/1996/356), concerning privileges and immunities, in 
particular to paragraph 46, whereby United Nations officials, experts and other personnel 
performing contractual services for the United Nations, “shall have the right of unimpeded entry 
into and exit from Iraq and shall be issued visas by the Iraqi authorities promptly and free of 
charge.”  I very much regret to have to state that lately the United Nations has been experiencing 
some serious delays in the issuance of visas to United Nations personnel.  Such delays have been 
affecting adversely the effective implementation of the programme, in addition to financial losses 
to the programme while United Nations personnel wait for their visas to enter Iraq. It is therefore 
recommended that the Government of Iraq review its procedures in that regard and issue “promptly” 
the necessary visas, in conformity with the letter and spirit of the relevant provisions of the 
memorandum of understanding.

With regard to the annex to the distribution plan covering the requirements of the Palestinian 
people, the proposal made by the Government of Iraq is before the Security Council.  A decision in 
that regard remains within the purview of the Security Council.  It may be recalled that at the 
informal consultations held by the Security Council, on 22 January 2001, the Chairman of the 
Security Council Committee noted that the Committee had met twice to consider Iraq’s request that 
“Oil-for Food” funds be made available to assist the Palestinian people (S/2000/1119 and 
S/2000/1174), but had been unable to reach a consensus on that request.

I should like to underline that the approval of the distribution plan submitted by the Government 
of Iraq does not necessarily constitute an endorsement of all information or statements contained 
in the plan, and is without prejudice to any recommendation arising from the supplementary report 
of the Secretary-General (S/1998/90), as endorsed by the Security Council in its resolution 1153 

In conclusion, I should like to state that, with increased funding available for the programme, it 
is essential to review the cumbersome and time consuming process of the preparation of the 
distribution plan and its annexes, with a view to submitting the plan in a more timely manner.  It 
is also essential to prepare a more targeted and result-oriented plan, with a clear statement of 
objectives to be achieved during a given phase, including benchmarks, which would improve the 
evaluation of performance, achievements and effectiveness of the programme.  Accordingly, it is 
recommended that the Joint Consultative Committee meet on a regular basis to review, not only the 
preparation of the distribution plan, but, and equally essential, the effective implementation of 
the plan, in order to take, as appropriate, the necessary measures and make the necessary 
adjustments to attain the objectives set forth in the plan. The multitude of amendments submitted 
to previous distribution plans is indicative of their shortcomings and underscores the need for 
such regular reviews.

        Accept, Excellency, the assurances of my highest consideration.


(Signed)  Benon V. Sevan
             Executive Director
Report of  Secretary-General (S/2000/520) pursuant to paragraph 5 of SCR 1281 (1999)  
(180-day report for Phase VII)
Copyright 2001 Agence France Presse   
Agence France Presse 
February 15, 2001, Thursday 2:14 AM, Eastern Time 

SECTION: Domestic, non-Washington, general news item 
LENGTH: 620 words 
HEADLINE: UN urges Iraq to do more to feed its under-nourished children 
BYLINE: Robert Holloway 
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan called on Iraq in a letter published Wednesday to do more with its 
UN-controlled oil revenues to feed its people, particularly undernourished children. 

With recent increases in oil revenue, "the government of Iraq is in a position to reduce current 
malnutrition levels and improve the health status of the Iraqi people," Annan wrote. 

But he expressed "grave concern" about Iraq's "inordinate delays" in contracting for humanitarian 
imports under the oil-for-food programme and in submitting the contracts for approval. 

He also questioned the effectiveness of allocating only six million dollars in the latest phase of 
the programme for a special nutritional programme for children, pregnant women and breast-feeding 

In the letter, Annan approved Iraq's overall proposals for allocating more than 5.5 billion dollars 
during the current 180-day phase of the programme, which runs from December 6 to June 3. 

The largest single allocation, of 1.275 billion dollars, is for food and is intended to provide a 
daily ration of 2,472 kilocalories per person each day, in line with UN recommendations. 

An additional 209.3 million is set aside for the food handling sector, including supply trucks and 
quality control laboratories. 

Annan acknowledged that this "had a direct bearing" on the targeted nutrition programme. 

But, he said, "neither the financial allocation nor the range of items related to infrastructure 
are commensurate with the scale of the existing programme." 

This provides high-protein biscuits and therapeutic milk to malnourished children and to women in 
the final three months of pregnancy or the first three months after birth. There are about 50,000 
births a month in Iraq. 

Annan challenged Iraq "to clarify how the relatively limited resources allocated in the 
distribution plan would satisfy the government's objectives in improving the nutritional status of 

The plan earmarks 600 million dollars for Iraq's ailing oil industry, 582.5 million for 
electricity, 440.4 million for rebuilding and improving railways, and almost 402 million for water 
and sanitation. 

The figures include the northern part of Iraq, where UN agencies provide for the mainly Kurdish 
population, as well as the parts of the country under government control. 

A special allocation of 387.4 million dollars is for vulnerable groups, exclusively in 
government-run areas. 

Other sums include 350.7 million dollars for agriculture, 342 million for housing, and 300 million 
for medicine and medical supplies. 

The plan allocates 171 million dollars for irrigation, 153 million for primary and secondary 
education and 130.4 million for higher education. 

The office administering the oil-for-food programme said it did not yet have estimates of actual 
oil revenue during the current phase. 

Over the past 14 months, the Security Council has revamped the sanctions it imposed on Iraq's after 
the August 1990 invasion of Kuwait. 

It removed the ceiling on the amount of oil Iraq could export; then it cut from 30 to 25 percent 
the share of revenue set aside to compensate Kuwaiti war victims, and increased to 71 percent the 
proportion available for humanitarian imports. (The remaining four percent covers various UN 
administrative costs). 

Almost 7.8 billion dollars was available for humanitarian imports in the previous phase of the 
programme, but Iraq's exports have slumped since the start of December because of a row with the 
UN's sanctions committee over pricing. 

Although the row has been settled, last week's exports -- 1.6 million barrels -- were the lowest 
weekly volume since the start of the programme in December 1996. 


LOAD-DATE: February 14, 2001 

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