Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Reports: 8/6/2008

Key reports on the Iraq relief and development:

Stabilizing and Rebuilding Iraq: Iraqi Revenues, Expenditures, and Surplus
Government Accountability Office (GAO)
August 2008
From 2005 through 2007, the Iraqi government generated an estimated $96 billion in cumulative revenues (mostly from oil sales). For 2008, GAO estimates that Iraq could generate as much as $86 billion in total revenues. From 2005 through 2007, the Iraqi government spent an estimated $67 billion on operating and investment activities. The Iraqi government spent only 1% of total expenditures to maintain Iraq- and U.S.-funded investments such as buildings, water and electricity installations. From 2005 through 2007, Iraq was unable to spend all its budgeted funds. In 2007, Iraq spent 80% of its $29 billion operating budget and 28% of its $12 billion investment budget. For 2008, GAO estimates that Iraq could spend as much as $35.9 billion of its $49.9 billion budget. As a result, GAO estimates a cumulative budget surplus of about $29 billion from 2005 to 2007 and projects an additional $38 to $50 billion budget surplus for 2008 (although a proposed $22 billion Iraqi budget supplemental could reduce this projected surplus). U.S. and international officials identify the shortage of trained staff, weak procurement and budgeting systems, violence and sectarian strife, and other factors affecting the Iraqi government’s ability to spend more of its revenues on capital investments.

Failed Responsibility: Iraqi Refugees in Syria, Jordan and Lebanon
International Crisis Group (ICG)
July 2008
Although the security situation in Iraq shows progress, Iraqi refugees remain stranded, jobless and deprived of essential services, while the Iraqi government and the wider international community have failed in their responsibilities and are ill prepared to cope with a new refugee crisis, should it occur. While initially welcoming their Iraqi brethren, ICG reports that Syria and Jordan have put tough restrictions on entry. They provide few basic services and inadequate opportunities for jobs, health care and children's education. If the host countries can be faulted for unfriendly treatment of refugees, they deserve credit for receiving so many at great cost to their societies. By contrast, it is difficult to give the Iraqi government any credit. Flush with oil money, it has been conspicuously ungenerous toward its citizens stranded abroad. The attitude of Western nations also has been deeply troubling.

Iraq Displacement 2008 Mid-Year in Review
International Organization for Migration (IOM)
July 2008
During the first half of 2008, trends of decreased violence and a declining rate of displacement continued throughout the country. Yet the deteriorating conditions facing the 2.8 million Internally Displaced People (IDPs), as well as the limited returnee population, remain one of the most serious humanitarian crises in the world. The report finds that about half of the population continue to get their water from unsafe sources -- 53% from nearby rivers and streams and 52% from open or broken pipes. Meanwhile, shelter is consistently among the highest-priority needs cited by IDPs, and eviction threats coupled with rapidly rising rental prices have created an even more precarious housing situation in recent months. Food access was also poor, only three in ten had regular access to food rations. About half had intermittent access and 21% no access at all. In addition, approximately two million Iraqis are refugees, mostly in neighboring Syria and Jordan, resulting in a total of 5 million internally and externally displaced.

Assessment on Returns to Iraq Amongst Iraqi Refugee Population in Syria
United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR)
April 2008
A survey of nearly 1,000 Iraqis currently staying in Syria has shown that 95 percent fled their homeland because of direct threats or general insecurity and that only 4 percent currently had plans to return to Iraq.

Consolidated Appeal for Iraq 2008
United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
February 2008
Conflict in Iraq has exacerbated chronic problems that stem from the past two decades. An estimated four million people in the country are in need of food assistance as the Public Distribution System is weakened, and only 40 percent of the population has reliable access to safe drinking water. As part of the global Consolidated Appeal Process (CAP) for 2008, the $265 million Emergency Appeal for Iraq brings together 14 UN agencies and 10 NGOs to deliver urgent relief to vulnerable people in Iraq over the next 12 months. Priority areas include health and nutrition, education, water and sanitation, housing and shelter, food, and protection. These operations are designed to move into recovery programs and are part of a wider effort to support Iraq’s own goals for stability and recovery.

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