Iraq

International Rescue Fund Facility meeting ends on a hopeful note as donors promise more support for Iraqi development

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Dead Sea, Jordan, July 19, 2005 -- The International Reconstruction Fund Facility for Iraq (IRFFI) Donor Committee Meeting concluded on a positive note today, encouraged by strong support from international donors for the work of the reconstruction Trust Funds administered by the UN and the World Bank. The increased assistance reiterates the broad multinational commitment to advancing Iraqi leadership on reconstruction efforts and to enhancing partnerships with the Iraqi government.

At the end of the meeting at which additional pledges and expanded bilateral assistance packages were announced from Australia, Greece, the European Commission, Italy, Spain and the United States, and Denmark became the newest member of the IRFFI, increasing its commitment by US$5.5 million, members expressed "delight with the results" of the gathering.

"This is good news and I thank new donors for their generous contributions," said His Excellency Barham Salih, Iraqi Minister of Planning and Development Cooperation. "I warmly welcome them and view these new pledges as a sign of the increasing international commitment to helping the people of Iraq."

Ambassador Michael Bell, Chair of the IRFFI, echoed this support, observing "We have had a remarkably successful two days. We have made important decisions," observed Ambassador Michael Bell, Chair of the IRFFI who reiterated the strong support for Iraqi ownership of the reconstruction process and Iraq's elevated role in the IRFFI.

The increased support came as an important sign that international donors and the development community are optimistic about the progress the UN and World Bank have made in putting the International Trust Fund to good use. The IRFFI has two trust funds, separately administered by the World Bank and the UN in close coordination with the Iraqi authorities and donors. To date, international donors have committed a total of $1 billion to the two trust funds.

At the meeting this morning, both the UN and World Bank presented impressive progress reports on the implementation of trust fund programs and updates on achievements, challenges and lessons learned as donors considered modifications to the IRFFI structure to ensure they are consistent with the donor coordination mechanisms proposed by the Iraqi government in its updated National Development Strategy at yesterday's Expanded Donor Meeting

"We will now go forward in the next six months with clear key priorities to make a difference for the people of Iraq in their every day lives," said Mr. Staffan de Mistura, Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary General for Iraq.

Hosted by the Government of Jordan and chaired by Canada, today's meeting brought together representatives of the IRFFI Donor Committee. The committee is comprised of 19 donors whose paid-in contributions to either or both Trust Funds amount to a minimum of US$10 million per donor. International donors established IRFFI at the 2003 Madrid Conference to facilitate the provision of reconstruction assistance. The next meeting will be held in February 2006.