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UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

JORDAN: UN offers a new way of working

AMMAN, 13 April 2004 (IRIN) - A unique security issue in Iraq - virtually all international UN staff are working from outside the country - requires a unique alternative.

So UN workers have come up with a plan to streamline funding for aid projects in the still volatile country. The “clusters” plan was unveiled at a donor’s conference in February in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). It laid out details of UN agencies and NGOs to work in 10 “cluster” areas such as education and health.

At the moment, potential implementing partners or NGOs approach various UN agencies to get funding for different projects. “In Abu Dhabi, donors were quite happy about this,” said Veronique Taveau, a United Nations-Iraq spokeswoman in the Jordanian capital, Amman. “It’s more than agencies using their own logo. It’s the consolidated approach.”

The plan makes it easy to be just as efficient on the ground with fewer staff, according to a strategy document.“It’s great that the UN has re-thought its usual structures to be more responsive,” one aid agency worker in Iraq, told IRIN, declining to be named.

A common complaint among aid agencies is the need for better coordination when carrying out projects. “The general response, is, it should have been like this before to put together different information from different organisations,” the aid worker said. “We should try and meet to coordinate our activities.”

According to the plan, remaining aid agencies in Iraq will be able to work with one of the 10 cluster committees. In the future, aid agency workers will be able to fine tune proposals by teleconference or video conference with UN-Iraq staff working in Amman, the plan says.

An estimated 1,000 UN local Iraqi staff continue to work on projects across Iraq. But their low profile keeps them working mostly from home with Internet access and mobile phones.

An estimated US $55 billion is needed to rebuild the country. Donors from around the world pledged more than $13 billion in loans and grants at an October donor’s conference in Madrid, with the US pledging more than $18 billion. In addition, many countries agreed to write off at least part of Iraq’s debt, estimated at $120 billion by the World Bank, the highest amount per capita in the world.

Initial pledges from countries around the world will be administered by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the World Bank, according to the plan. The next step is expected at a donor’s implementation conference scheduled for Qatar in May.

Themes: (IRIN) Children, (IRIN) Conflict, (IRIN) Gender Issues, (IRIN) Governance, (IRIN) Health & Nutrition, (IRIN) Human Rights, (IRIN) Refugees/IDPs

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This material comes to you via IRIN, a UN humanitarian information unit, but may not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations or its agencies. If you re-print, copy, archive or re-post this item, please retain this credit and disclaimer. Quotations or extracts should include attribution to the original sources. All materials copyright © UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs 2004



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