The following is an archived copy of a message sent to a Discussion List run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.

Views expressed in this archived message are those of the author, not of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.

[Main archive index/search] [List information] [Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

[casi] Good governance makes the difference

Dear All,

To Jeniffer I wrote about good governance making the difference.
Allow me to let one of the most important ministers of the Kurdish
Arbil administration explain what this means in the sector of
reconstruction. Mrs. Nasreen Barwari clearly points to the
shortcomings of the OFF and UN handling of vital issues, as well.

I apologize for this lengthy piece, but I have no url to lead you
to for this text.


UN programme implementation is slow and does not meet our
Remarks by Nasreen Barwari (Minister of Reconstruction and
At Washington Institute for Near East Policy
>From Birayeti [courtesy of Iraqi Kurdistan Dispatch]

13 June 2002

Birayeti's editorial: The following is the text of a paper
presented by the Kurdistan regional government's Minister of
Reconstruction and Development, Nasreen Barwari, in a seminar held
at the Middle East Institute in Washington. She plainly points to
the impact of the sanctions on the [Iraqi] Kurdistan region and the
Kurdish successes and dilemmas in reconstructing Iraqi Kurdistan:

Good afternoon,

I would like to thank the Middle East Institute for offering me the
opportunity to share with you some of the success stories that you
as members of the international community have helped to make
happen. Thank you for coming to listen to me.

A country in ruin

I will not go deep into the extensive background information
regarding the fear, forceful coercion, intimidation, repression and
oppression, atrocities and genocide, and disrupted lives that we
have led [during the time when Iraqi Kurdistan was under Baghdad
authorities control]. In fact, it would not be away from reality if
I say that we took over a region [in 1991] which was in ruin. I
will assume you already know more than you wish to know about what
every Iraqi over 15 years of age, everywhere in Iraq, has had to
live with everyday. I say over 15 because those in Iraqi Kurdistan
who were young children in 1991, or who have been born since then,
have not known, and hopefully will never know, what their elders
have lived.

Iraqi Kurdistan instead of northern Iraq

I will focus on Iraqi Kurdistan, that part of northern Iraq outside
the administrative control of the Baghdad regime. If you don't
mind, please refer to our region as Iraqi Kurdistan, not northern
Iraq. The term "northern Iraq" includes territory under Baghdad
control and is, therefore, not accurate. The Baghdad regime itself
has no problem calling our separately administered region, Iraqi
Kurdistan. In fact, for many years, even before the 1991 uprising,
the regime has referred to our region as the Kurdistan Autonomous

I would like to talk today about three issues of particular
importance to the people of Iraqi Kurdistan:

1. What more than 10 years of self governance in Iraqi Kurdistan
has meant; 2. UN sanctions and the oil-for-food programme; 3.
Challenges for the future.

Protection of the area

In late 1991 the Iraqi government withdrew its administration from
the region we run today, voluntarily. In mid-1992, elections
regarded as free and fair were held and a regional government - the
Kurdistan regional government - and a parliament - the Kurdistan
National Assembly - were formed.

Despite our internal difficulties and many constraints, this
government successfully continues to function today with thousands
of government-supported staff providing a full range of public
services. We are a responsible government striving to be responsive
in a threatening environment. Today substantial progress that began
more than a decade ago continues. As members of the international
community you offered us the opportunity to be as successful as we

Reconstruction and Development

My Ministry of Reconstruction and Development focuses on addressing
the needs of internally displaced persons. According to a UN
report, 23 per cent of our 3.7 million people are displaced. Much
of my attention is directed towards the reconstruction of destroyed
communities and improving living conditions, mostly in rural areas.

Resettlement has been very successful. But still much more needs to
be done (our successful resettlement efforts are possibly a good
example of what needs to be done in Afghanistan.) Since 1991, more
than 3,000 depopulated and destroyed communities have been
reconstructed [out of approximately 5,000] and more than 75,000
families have been resettled. Resettlement provides houses and safe
water systems. Resettlement also includes village access roads,
schools, and health centres. In some communities additional
structures have been provided such as veterinary centres, shops,
micro hydropower systems for electricity, and irrigation channels.

Primary and secondary education in Iraqi Kurdistan are offered in
Kurdish, Arabic, Assyrian, and Turkish [Turkoman] languages. We
have three universities. Kurds and others living in Iraqi Kurdistan
have their own schools, TV stations, newspapers, political parties,
and NGOs. Human rights education is being introduced as part of the
educational curriculum. Access to information is wide open and
guaranteed through unrestricted access to the Internet. Women are
playing an increasingly active role in social, economic and
political activities. For example, about half of the engineers in
my ministry are women.

As far as Food and freedom are concerned, Iraqi Kurdistan is a
healthier environment today than perhaps at any time during its
4,000-year-old history. We seek that this health to be enhanced and
extended throughout our region and, hopefully, throughout the
country as a whole. Under continuing threats and constraints, but
with our substantial human and material resources, the opportunity
for a brighter future within the remainder of our lifetime is more
reachable than ever. We seek the support of the international
community, and especially the United States, that we may live in
peace and prosperity with all our neighbours. We seek continuing
protection and a fair share of Iraq's substantial oil wealth. The
rest we will take care of ourselves, as we have been doing during
the past ten years.

The UN oil-for-food programme

Today, as most of you probably know, we continue to survive and
even prosper with the substantial resources being made available to
Iraqi Kurdistan under the oil-for-food programme [UN Resolution
986] as authorized by the United Nations Security Council.

The oil-for-food programme allocates 13 per cent of UN-regulated
Iraqi oil sales to support humanitarian activities in our region.
These activities fall under the sectors of food, nutrition,
medicines, health services, education, electricity, agriculture,
telecommunications, land mine related activities, and settlement
rehabilitation. Nine KRG ministries try to coordinate with 10 UN
agencies to make the programme work as it should.

The oil-for-food programme has been running for more than five
years. During this period more than 7bn dollars have been earned to
improve the humanitarian situation in Iraqi Kurdistan. Due to
various constraints, however, UN implementation is slow and does
not meet our expectations. Most strikingly, only 2.7bndollars, 38
per cent [of the 7bn dollars earned] has been spent so far, while
62 per cent remains in the bank unspent.

We need your help to correct this unacceptable situation that
borders on culpable negligence and smacks of moral
irresponsibility. We need and request that the international
community, as members of the Security Council that passed the
resolution, to call for transparency and accountability from the UN
agencies responsible for managing the oil-for-food programme.

No doubt significant progress has been achieved; however many
families have yet to reach a satisfactory standard of living. They
must not be overlooked. Their situations need to be better
understood and addressed. A study recently completed by the British
Save the Children, one of the more professional NGOs, concludes
that 60 per cent of the people of the region live "on the edge"; if
986 [programme] and food distribution were stopped they would not
be able to feed themselves. Unemployment and underdevelopment
remain high and their incomes remain far too low.

A UN study indicated that in 1990 the child mortality rate in our
region was higher than in the centre-south. This shows the neglect
our region was subjected to even before the events of 1990-1991. In
1999, the child mortality rate in the centre and south was higher
than in Iraqi Kurdistan. This has occurred even though the
centre-south has access to exactly the same food and medical
supplies that we receive. Under the oil-for-food programme the
Iraqi government orders and delivers food and medicines. They could
order much more if they choose to do so. Obviously, when all of
Iraq has equal access to the same food and medical supplies, and
especially when all these come from the same source, the different
results can be attributed only to a difference in leadership and

Considering the substantial resources available under the
oil-for-food programme, despite improvement in the child mortality
rate, there are other health issues that are not receiving the
attention they need. Cases requiring higher levels of attention are
still not treatable; patients have to go outside the region at
great inconvenience and cost. Most notably, special health issues
related to the effects of chemical weapons remain untreatable.

We place very high value on education. Iraqis are excellent
students; they are like sponges ready to soak up whatever is
offered to them. Our educational system needs radical revamping
from the very bottom pre-school level to the very top of higher
education. We are ready. We need the UN to support quality analysis
and planning and implementation. Substantial resources under the
oil-for-food programme are available. We need and request the
international community, as members of the UN Security Council, to
demand a much higher level of performance from the UN agencies
responsible for managing the programme in Iraqi Kurdistan.

Our government

Our leadership and our government are dedicated to serving the
public interest. Despite our shortcomings and the many difficulties
we face, we constantly seek ways and means to improve our
government. It is now a full decade since the Kurdistan regional
government was established. During this period the gains our people
have enjoyed are rooted in the protection provided by the
international community, especially the US and UK, from the threats
we continue to face. Our gains are equally rooted in the 13 per
cent of the country's public revenue allocated by the United
Nations. Both need to be maintained until we can live under true
democracy in our country where freedom and human life are valued.

We need you. The humanitarian intervention you made in 1991 has
been successful. Because of this, 3,700,000 Iraqis live in freedom
in their own country. We are successful. We are your success.


1. The positive intervention by the international community you
made in 1991 brought about a positive result that continues to live
and grow more than 10 years later. We wish our experience to be
extended throughout the whole country, to be enjoyed by our
friends, relatives, and fellow Iraqis who continue to live in a
threatening environment.

2. The international community, as members of the UN Security
Council, are, in effect, the trustees of the oil-for-food
programme. We do not ask for assistance, certainly not financial
assistance. We need the trustees to acutely oversee the
oil-for-food programme and focus on transparency, accountability,
performance and results. The resources are there. We request they
be spent much more effectively and efficiently.

3. Any positive change in Iraq in general and in Iraqi Kurdistan
specifically will require positive interventions by the
international community and especially by the United States. Iraq
as a member of the international community has substantial
resources, both human and material, to develop itself and to
contribute in positive ways to the world as a community. We do not
ask for resources. We have enough of our own. We only seek that the
utilization of our resources be greatly enhanced. We need the
threats to be controlled and removed so that we may better realize
our potential. We are ready. We want you to be ready with us.

Thank you for your attention and thank you again for this

Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
To unsubscribe, visit
To contact the list manager, email
All postings are archived on CASI's website:

[Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]