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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. Best Alexander UN programme implementation is slow and does not meet our expectations Remarks by Nasreen Barwari (Minister of Reconstruction and Development) 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 Region. 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 are. 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 management. 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. Conclusion 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 opportunity. _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email firstname.lastname@example.org All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk