Cablegate: Unami Srsg to Donor Partners: Together We Stand Or

DE RUEHGB #2335/01 2421230
P 301230Z AUG 09



E.O. 12958: N/A


1. (SBU) Summary: Summary: New UNAMI SRSG Ad Melkert told
a well-attended Iraq Partners Forum meeting on August 26
that it is "time to close the ICI chapter and open a new
chapter" of the book on GoI-donor coordination. Melkert
said his current thinking is to aim for an
Ambassadorial-level, vice Ministerial-level, International
Compact with Iraq (ICI) meeting in November. He added that
this meeting should aim to segue the ICI into a new donor
coordination mechanism. Melkert said he wants to focus on
three issues: defining the true purpose of the ICI and how
to maintain the political commitment to that purpose;
reconciling and de-conflicting the myriad of plans,
strategies and mechanisms for GOI planning and donor
coordination; and determining how to plan for security for
any international donor event, in light of the August 19
bombings in Baghdad. He described the various donor
coordination mechanisms as "too many processes taking too
much time from too many people." Noting the importance of
dialogue and cooperation between the UN and donor
countries, Melkert declared that "together, we stand or
fall." End Summary.

--------------------------------------------- -----
High Interest in Donor Coordination at IPF Meeting
--------------------------------------------- -----

2. (U) The Iraq Partners Forum (IPF) is a monthly informal
gathering of donor countries at UNAMI in Baghdad to discuss
donor coordination and assistance priorities. Meetings are
usually co-chaired by the UNAMI Deputy SRSG for the Office
of Development and Humanitarian Support and the World Bank
Country Manager, with attendance from the larger donors
present in Baghdad and video-conference attendance by UNAMI
staff and other donors based in Amman. UNAMI had
considered not even holding an IPF this month, give the
general August doldrums in Baghdad, but the advance agenda
(with discussion of the ICI and the GOI's proposal for its
new assistance coordination mechanism - Septel - on tap)
made for a full room. Senior officials attended from the
embassies or missions of the UK, Italy, Spain, Sweden,
Australia, Denmark, the EC, the USG, and newcomers Greece
and Korea, with Japan, Canada, and France participating via
videoconference from Amman. The World Bank was notably
absent, and the meeting was chaired by Acting UNAMI DSRSG
Dr. Naeema Al-Gasseer and new UNAMI SRSG Ad Melkert sitting
beside her.

Together We Stand Or Fall

3. (SBU) After a short introduction, Melkert said he
wanted to make sure the international community keeps the
social, political, humanitarian and economic agendas in
Iraq closely linked and well informed. He noted the need
for increased cooperation among UN agencies, both in
Baghdad and Amman, and with the larger donor community.
Melkert,s first impression, he added, is that there is a
willingness by all of Iraq's partners to acknowledge that
we are in the Iraqi effort together. Donor coordination is
too often about process, he said, and needs to focus more
on substance. Melkert specifically called for clearer
direction from the GOI, and said he planned to discuss
coordination efforts with the World Bank in Baghdad and
Washington and with other UN agencies. Noting the
importance of open, frank dialogue and cooperation between
the UN and the donor countries in Baghdad, Melkert declared
that "together, we stand or fall."

Closing the ICI Chapter...

4. (SBU) Turning to the ICI, Melkert stated that his recent
consultations with donors had been very helpful,
specifically referencing his conversation with DCM for
Assistance Transition Haslach (reftel). Melkert said he
would continue his discussions with other donors, the GOI,
and UNNY. His preliminary assessment is that it is "time to
close the ICI chapter and open a new chapter" in the book
of GOI-donor country coordination. Melkert added that
while he would like to leave the door open to an
Ambassadorial-level meeting sometime in the fall, a
Ministerial-level meeting appears much less likely,
especially after the August 19 bombings in Baghdad. In the
short term, Melkert said he is focused on three issues:
defining the true purpose of the ICI and how to maintain
the political commitment to that purpose; reconciling and

BAGHDAD 00002335 002 OF 002

de-conflicting the myriad of plans, strategies and
mechanisms for GOI planning and donor coordination; and
determining how to plan for security for any event,
Ambassadorial-level or otherwise, in light of the bombings.

...And Opening a New One

5. (SBU) Melkert went on to say that his current thinking
is to merge the ICI into a yet-to-be-defined donor
coordination mechanism that supports Iraq's National
Development Plan (NDP), and noted that the UN is already
aligning its agencies' strategies with this plan.
Referring to the proliferation of donor coordination
initiatives in Iraq (ICI, NDP, UNDAF, PRSP, IRFFI, etc.),
Melkert said that there are "too many processes taking too
much time from too many people," and that there is a need
to condense and de-conflict these efforts into one
comprehensive strategy. He said the international
community should encourage the GOI to define priorities for
assistance, and that the GOI needs to provide direction,
now and after the election. Melkert concluded that he
would like to take a few weeks to continue his
consultations with the donors, the World Bank in Baghdad
and Washington, the UN in NY, and the GOI before revisiting
the future of the ICI and donor coordination.

6. (U) The other agenda item for the IPF meeting, a
presentation by the Ministry of Planning DG for
International Cooperation on her proposal for a new GoI
assistance coordination mechanism, will be reported septel.


7. (SBU) Melkert's admonition to focus more on the
substance of donor coordination rather than process is a
welcome message and one that dovetails with the re-tooling
of our assistance efforts under the new DCM for Assistance
Transition. Our consistent message to the UN and the rest
of the donor community in Baghdad has been the need to
focus on the end goals of efficient donor coordination and
GOI leadership and direction on assistance rather than on
any specific vehicle or process.


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