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Everyone, Oil-for-Food, the humanitarian exception to the embargo of Iraq, officially ends at midnight tomorrow. According to Benon Sevan, the program is ready for turnover to the CPA (Coalition Provisional Authority), despite uncertainties regarding employment for experienced personnel, port-of-entry procedures, and so on. An OFF press release notes, "An orderly handover ... has been accomplished on time and in the face of chronic insecurity, including the 19 August bombing of the UN headquarters in Baghdad which led to the temporary withdrawal of most UN international staff. Still, the UN has sustained essential humanitarian assistance through the dedication of Iraqi national staff." For the majority of Iraqis, OFF has been a lifeline through the last seven years of sanctions. But is the CPA cognizant of its responsibilities? The CPA's (single) OFF transition page (http://www.cpa-iraq.org/oil_for_food/index.html) features a smiling Iraqi girl above the caption, "Building the market structure that promotes private business." With 60% of Iraqis still dependent upon OFF, let's hope the CPA understands it needs to deliver food, not trickle-down market theology. Observers (below) aren't hopeful, pointing to a lack of CPA planning and the risk of disaster once goods currently in the pipeline are consumed. Below see a) the UN's press release and b) financial summary, c) comment by Thalif Deen, and d) a link to Sevan's full report. Regards, Drew Hamre Golden Valley, MN USA === http://www.un.org/depts/oip/cpmd/notices/pressreleasetermination031119.html Press Release 19 November 2003 Oil-for-Food Programme Set to Close 21 November The United Nations will terminate its administration of the multi-billion dollar Oil-for-Food Programme (OFFP) in Iraq at midnight 21 November. Operational responsibility for the seven-year-old programme, including all humanitarian projects funded by oil revenues, assets ranging from schools to power stations and all OFFP contracts with suppliers will be transferred to the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA). The balance of unencumbered funds held in the UN Iraq Account will be transferred to the Development Fund for Iraq, which is under the direction of the CPA. The UN has already transferred $3 billion to the Development Fund from the UN Iraq Account, where some $1.6 billion remains. A ceremony is to take place Friday in Erbil (northern Iraq), marking the termination of the UN OFFP and its transfer to the CPA. As stipulated by Security Council resolution 1483 (22 May 2003), there will be no further role of the UN in operating the humanitarian programmes funded through the OFFP. However, a pipeline of some $8.2 billion in humanitarian supplies and equipment continues to be delivered, and the CPA has indicated it will maintain most of the ongoing projects and operations, eventually turning them over to Iraqi authorities. Before the war, some 893 international staff and 3,600 Iraqis worked for the Programme in Iraq: most international staff left the country in the wake of the Baghdad bombing of 19 August, while national staff continued operations. As of 19 November 2003, there were 3,394 UN national staff, of whom 2,544 were in the north and 850 in the centre/south. The CPA has indicated that most of the Iraqi staff associated with project implementation in the three northern governorates will be retained. In financial terms, the OFFP has been the largest programme the UN has ever administered. Between 1996 and the onset of war in March, the OFFP achieved progressive improvements in health, education and public infrastructure. (See accompanying fact sheet). Malnutrition rates among children were reduced by 50 percent in six years, and more houses were constructed in 2002 than in 1990. The OFFP has also been one of the most efficient of UN programmes, operating through nine agencies with a 2.2 percent overhead. The UN Security Council established the OFFP in 1995 in response to a humanitarian crisis that followed the comprehensive sanctions imposed on Iraq following its 1990 invasion of Kuwait. Under the programme, 3.4 billion barrels of oil were exported, with 72 percent of the revenue going toward humanitarian needs. The balance was allocated to Gulf War reparations (25 percent); UN administrative costs (2.2 percent) and the weapons inspection programmes of IAEA and UNMOVIC (0.8 percent). The UN’s Oil-for-Food Programme has benefited tens of millions of Iraqis, by using Iraqi oil revenues to purchase and manage some $46 billion worth of humanitarian assistance, supplies and projects. Proceeds from oil exports bought food and medicines; built schools, clinics and housing; maintained and rehabilitated electrical supply and oil infrastructure; improved water treatment and distribution. Virtually all Iraqis received food through its country-wide network; 60 percent were totally dependent upon food rations. Food imports totaled more than 500,000 metric tons a month, and deliveries have been continuing despite the current conflict and insecurity. In the northern Iraqi governorates of Erbil, Dahuk and Sulaymaniyah, nine United Nations agencies implemented the OFFP.* In the 15 governorates of southern and central Iraq, the OFFP was implemented by the former Government of Iraq, with the UN monitoring for effective and equitable distribution. Food distribution has been handled by some 44,000 Iraqi food agents. UN agents also monitored oil shipments at export points and authenticated OFFP supplies at entry points. An orderly handover of the Programme’s assets and operations by the 21 November deadline set by the Security Council has been accomplished on time and in the face of chronic insecurity, including the 19 August bombing of the UN headquarters in Baghdad which led to the temporarily withdrawal of most UN international staff. Still, the UN has sustained essential humanitarian assistance through the dedication of Iraqi national staff. UN agencies are handing over all documents and dossiers for OFFP-funded projects they managed. They have also completed the renegotiation of contracts with suppliers as stipulated by the Security Council. After 21 November, UN agencies will continue their mandated activities in humanitarian assistance to Iraq with revenues received from donor countries from humanitarian appeals in March and June 2003. Iraqi authorities may request further technical assistance from them. *WHO, FAO, WFP, UNDP, UN-Habitat, UNICEF, UNESCO, UNOPS, ITU For additional information please contact: Ian Steele Tel. 212 963 1646 email: firstname.lastname@example.org === http://www.un.org/depts/oip/cpmd/notices/terminationstatusoffunds031119.html Press Release 19 November 2003 Oil-for-Food Programme Status of Funds 19 November 2003 Duration of Programme: December 1996 to 21 November 2003 Total value of oil exports: $65 billion. Total oil income allocated to OFFP: . $46 billion Balance allocated to Gulf War reparations through a Compensation Fund (25 percent since December 2000); UN administrative and operational costs (2.2 per cent); weapons inspection programme, UNMOVIC and IAEA (0.8 per cent). · $38 billion to 15 governorates in south/central Iraq · $8.1 billion to three governorates in northern Iraq. · Unutilised funds will be transferred to the Iraq Development Fund as required under SCR 1483) Interest income of $2.7 billion to June 2003, all allocated for the procurement of humanitarian supplies. Expenditures: . Total value of humanitarian goods delivered (and suppliers paid): $31 billion + . Total value of goods currently in humanitarian pipeline: $8.2 billion More than 86 per cent of these contracts signed by the previous government have been prioritized in consultations between the UN, Coalition Provisional Authority and Iraqi authorities; and about 91 per cent of the prioritized contracts have so far been renegotiated by UN agencies. The money for these contracts remains in the UN/Iraq account to be paid out after the UN has confirmed the supplies were delivered to Iraq. . $3.6 billion approved for projects to be implemented by UN agencies for approved projects. . $3 billion transferred from UN/Iraq account to the Development Fund for Iraq. The first $1 billion was transferred on 28 May 2003. Further transfers of $1 billion each were made at the end of October and on 18 November 2003. . Approx.$1.6 billion in uncommitted funds are in UN/Iraq Account. Please note: Total expenditures do not reflect goods in transit or fluctuating currency exchange rates. Resolution 986 apportioned 2.2% of the oil revenue to cover UN administrative and operational costs of the programme. As of 11 June 2003, some $400 million remained in the 2.2% sub-account, of which $106.6 million will be needed during the phasing-out / termination period; $16 million will be kept as contingency, leaving $277.4 million for transfer to the Iraq Development Fund. The transfer has not yet taken place. For additional information please contact: Ian Steele Tel. 212 963 1646 email: email@example.com === http://www.antiwar.com/ips/deen1.html US to Get Control of $10 Billion Per Year UN Oil-for-Food Program by Thalif Deen November 20, 2003 The US-run Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) will get control of billions of dollars in Iraqi oil revenues beginning midnight Friday when it formally takes over the seven-year-old, UN administered ”oil-for-food" program (OFFP). The United Nations has already transferred $3 billion from the program to the CPA-managed Iraqi Development Fund (IDF), and will send another $1.6 billion Friday. The program had been generating seven to $10 billion annually in oil revenues, but proceeds from oil sales will now end up in the coffers of the CPA, headed by US Ambassador Paul Bremer. The change has left many opponents of the US-led war on Iraq bitter, along with some UN officials who helped build and administer the successful program. "The CPA has so far not inspired confidence that it can do anything right, much less administer a massive program of food aid to 25 million people," Jim Jennings, president of Conscience International, told IPS Wednesday. The program, which helped feed over 60 percent of the people in the sanctions-hit, war-ravaged country, was run by a network of some 44,000 Iraqi food agents under UN supervision. "This is an enormous program with somewhere around $10 billion in cash flow every year," Jim Paul, executive director of the New York-based Global Policy Forum, told IPS on Wednesday. Paul said published reports have said the CPA has had about $5 billion in oil revenues at its disposal since it was established more than six months ago but only $1 billion have been accounted for. "There are a number of delegations who have been talking about a black hole where the money disappeared," Paul said. Last month, the London-based charity ActionAid charged that $4 billion was missing. Soon after, the CPA began publishing a skeleton budget for the IDF online. It said it had received only $1 billion from the oil for food program, $1.4 billion from oil revenues since May and $200 million from seized Iraq assets in a US Treasury Department fund. It added that $1.5 billion from seized assets was put in the CPA's budget before the IDF was created. "The predictable outcome is that food will be taken out of the mouths of babies, and many of Iraq's impoverished people will be even worse off than before," predicted Jennings, whose organization has been closely monitoring the humanitarian situation in Iraq. "And that's hardly a formula for winning hearts and minds or even suppressing Iraq's increasingly violent resistance," he added. The OFFP was established by the UN Security Council in 1995 to relieve the humanitarian crisis that followed the rigid sanctions imposed on Iraq following its 1990 invasion of Kuwait. Under the program, the United Nations used Iraqi oil revenues to purchase and manage some $46 billion worth of humanitarian assistance, supplies and projects. These included buying and providing food, medicine, water and electricity to Iraqis, as well as the construction of schools, medical clinics and houses. In financial terms, the OFFP has been the largest program the United Nations has administered in its 58-year history. "The OFFP has also been one of the most efficient of UN programs operating through nine agencies with a 2.2 percent overhead," the United Nations said in a statement released Wednesday. A Security Council resolution adopted in May set Friday as the day the agency would terminate the multi-billion-dollar program. Before the US-led attack on Iraq in March, some 893 international staff and 3,600 Iraqis worked for the OFFP. But since the bombing of the UN compound in Baghdad in August, the United Nations has pulled out virtually its entire international staff due to security reasons. The CPA has said that it will maintain most of the ongoing projects – with Iraqi staff – and operations, eventually turning them over to Iraqi authorities. But Paul was skeptical the CPA has the capacity and the political will to successfully administer the program. "What is striking and shocking is that until two weeks ago the CPA didn't really make any effort to coordinate with the United Nations and figure out what should go forward," he said. "The idea that you can take over a program like this with all its enormous complexities and somewhat make a carbon copy of it in two weeks' time is simply ludicrous," Paul added. Having talked to senior UN officials, he said, he got the impression that no crisis will erupt immediately because most Iraqis have received their food baskets and some of the food is already in the pipeline or in storage. "But what's frightening is to see what would happen in a couple of months time when we will run into a crack up," he predicted, pointing to insufficient storage facilities and other logistical problems. For the last seven years, Paul said, the United Nations virtually ran the Iraqi economy. The agency, he added, was rightly proud of this accomplishment – and had never faced a charge of corruption. "There is real bitterness at the United Nations now," Paul said, "particularly if you work hard to help the Iraqis and then you see the whole thing going down the drain." Paul also said that when the Security Council adopted a resolution handing over the program to the CPA, it did not act in the interest of the Iraqi people. "The members of the Security Council – not just the United States and Britain – were more concerned about ensuring contracts for companies in their own countries," he said. "And that's a tragedy." Jennings said the important question is what will follow in the wake of the OFFP. "The unfortunate answer is that the US administration, under Bremer, intends to impose on Iraq the same disastrous 'trickle down' economic theory now being touted for the United States, which lost three million jobs since (US President George W) Bush took office." === http://www.un.org/depts/oip/background/latest/bvs031119.html OIL-FOR-FOOD PROGRAMME Phasing down and termination of the Programme pursuant to Security Council resolution 1483 (2003) Statement by Benon V. Sevan Executive Director of the Iraq Programme At Informal Consultations of the Security Council Wednesday, 19 November 2003 _______________________________________________ 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