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Re:[casi] Life cheap at UN - 5 mins decides fate of 22 million+ souls

Dear List,

Further to the report of Kofi Annan referred to in the original message, the
following statement by Benon Sevan, the executive director of the Iraq programme
delivered to the SC on NOvember 19 deals with other important issues related to
the humanitarian programme.


Mr. President,

The Security Council has before it the report of the Secretary-General
pursuant to paragraphs 7 and 8 of resolution 1409 (2002), which focuses on three
main areas:  (1) achievements made through the programme in improving the
humanitarian situation in Iraq, as well as referring to some of the shortcomings
and difficulties faced; (2) the persistent revenue shortfall for the
implementation of the programme, which now stands at $3.1 billion; and (3) an
assessment of the implementation of the new set of  procedures for the  processing
and review of contracts for humanitarian supplies, introduced under resolution
1409 (2002) in May of this year, based on the Goods Review List.

We have also made available to the members of the Council a rather lengthy
Note by the Office of the Iraq Programme, which reviews and describes developments
in the implementation of the humanitarian programme Iraq.

I should also like to make available to the members of the Council a copy of
the letter dated 12 November 2002 from the Permanent Representative of Iraq to the
United Nations addressed to me in response to my letter of 15 October, requesting
the Government’s views concerning the implementation of the Goods Review List and
its procedures.  The letter from the Permanent Representative was received after
the finalization of the report of the Secretary-General and therefore could not be
taken into account in the assessment provided by the Secretary-General pursuant to
paragraph 8 of resolution 1409 (2002).

In view of the comprehensive information provided to the Council
in the report of the Secretary-General and the Note by the Office of the Iraq
Programme, I will refrain from going into further detail, except to raise with you
three matters, which are not covered in the report and the Note before the

Commercial Protection

Mr. President,

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I feel duty bound to reiterate
yet again that it is essential to provide commercial protection for the Iraqi
buyers, the absence of which has long plagued the implementation of the
humanitarian programme in the centre/south of Iraq. Supplies purchased under bulk
procurement agreements, particularly medicines, also impact on programme
activities in the three northern governorates. As detailed in the previous Note by
the Office of the Iraq Programme, dated 19 September 2002, pharmaceuticals and
medical supplies are delivered with short shelf life; high protein biscuits and
therapeutic milk that fail quality control; items with essential components
missing or defective; equipment delivered but not assembled; vehicles, machines
and spare parts delivered in a damaged condition or with wrong technical
specification; foodstuffs that, while being safe for human consumption, are of an
inferior quality to that contracted. These are all largely due to the lack of
commercial protection.  The only protection given under the present procedures is
to the suppliers who get paid once it is authenticated by the independent
inspection agents that the supplies had been delivered to Iraq.  However, under
the present procedures, the Government of Iraq is not allowed to include
commercial protection provisions in the contracts signed with its suppliers.

The Office of the Iraq Programme has submitted to the Security Council
Committee established by resolution 661 (1990), proposals in that regard since
July 1999.

I should like to reiterate the repeated calls by the Secretary-General for
allowing the inclusion of standard commercial protection provisions in the
contracts signed by the Government of Iraq.

Revenues Across all Phases

The current arrangement by which revenues allocated to the humanitarian
programme during a given phase are tied up to applications submitted only under
that particular phase, is causing enormous difficulties for the efficient
utilization of resources, particularly at a time when gross funding shortfalls
exist. The task of transferring approved applications from one phase to another in
order to be funded from the occasional balances that become available due to
cancellation of approved contracts in the latter phases, has become very
cumbersome and time consuming. This factor, together with distortions caused by
the substantial difference between anticipated revenues and the actual proceeds,
as well as the greatly varied rate of submission and/or approval of applications
among various sectors, has resulted in major disparities in the availability of
funds to different sectors of the programme. The management of the funding process
would be greatly facilitated if all allocated revenues were to be treated as one
single source for funding applications approved under any phase, in accordance
with the order of priority established by the Government of Iraq.
I should like to appeal to the Council to agree with this proposal, which did
not appear to be objectionable to the participants at the recent informal meeting
of the 661 Committee, last September.

Reimbursements from ESC (13 per cent) Account

The practice of post-delivery reimbursement to the ESB (59 per cent) Account
from the ESC account for the cost of food and medicines delivered to the three
northern governorates has also added to the financial burden on the ESB account.
Currently, all funds for the bulk-purchase contracts are committed in the ESB
account upon issuance of approval letters, while reimbursements from the ESC
account are withheld until such time that the food and medicine have been
delivered to the three northern governorates.

I should like to propose that the Security Council authorise that ESC funds,
corresponding to the cost of goods destined to the northern governorates, be
committed upon the approval of the relevant applications, similar to the procedure
currently applied to the commitment of funds for the approved contracts in the oil
spare parts and equipment sector. This would make available to the ESB account
some $500 million for issuing approval letters for approved applications that
remain un-funded.

United Nations Guards Contingent in Iraq

I also feel duty bound to bring to the Council’s attention a matter of grave
concern with regard to the funding of the United Nations Guards Contingent in Iraq
(UNGCI) in the three northern governorates of Iraq, which is funded entirely by
voluntary contributions.   The annual budget of the UNGCI is about $3 million.

At present, UNGCI is composed of 89 members, including military and police
officers from Bangladesh, the Czech Republic, Fiji, Greece, Kenya, Nepal,
Philippines, Poland and Slovakia.  The Chief of the UNGCI is the only
international staff member paid by the UNGCI budget.  The rest of the Guards
receive only their daily allowance.

UNGCI plays an essential role in supporting the implementation of the
humanitarian programme in the three northern governorates, through security advice
and assessments – including in particular in expanding humanitarian activities
into new areas – and the provision of protection and security to United Nations
personnel, property and assets.  Furthermore, UNGCI is the only provider of
medical services (including emergency medical evacuation) to United Nations
personnel in the region.  It also provides a communications network to the United
Nations system in the three northern governorates, including daily security checks
on staff members.  As at yesterday there were over 500 international staff in the
three northern governorates, in addition to close to 2,500 national staff.

The implementation of the programme in northern Iraq, where the safety and
security of the United Nations personnel is particularly fragile, would not be
possible without the protection and security provided to them by the UNGCI. The
continuation of the work of UNGCI is now threatened by lack of financial support.
Unless voluntary contributions are received urgently, UNGCI operations will have
to be ceased by early February 2003.

I must therefore today make one last appeal to Member States to urgently
provide the necessary financial support for the UNGCI operations.
                             x x x
I should like to take this opportunity to express, also on behalf of all my
colleagues, our deep appreciation to the distinguished Chairman of the Security
Council Committee, H.E. Ambassador Ole Peter Kolby, and members of his delegation
for all their support and cooperation. Likewise, I should like to express our
appreciation to the members of the Council and the Committee for their support and
                            x x x
Finally, Mr. President, I should like to end my statement by reiterating the
appeal of the Secretary-General that while, understandably, the current
discussions are focused on the resumption of the weapons inspection regime, that
all concerned also focus attention on the humanitarian dimension and spare no
effort in meeting the dire humanitarian needs of the Iraqi people.

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