Thank you, Mr. President. We are pleased to join you today to welcome the adoption of this resolution to renew the UNAMI mandate. The United States has greatly appreciated the support of the Iraqi mission and our fellow Security Council members, as well as the collegial and collaborative manner in which this renewal was negotiated.
This renewal marks the first overhaul of UNAMI’s mandate since Resolution 1770 was adopted eleven years ago. It differs from its predecessors in several important ways.
For starters, Council members decided to, on a one-time basis, extend this year’s mandate for a period of 10 months, to better align mandate renewals with the budget cycle, in keeping with the findings of UNAMI’s independent external assessment. This is a seemingly small change but one that will promote better accountability of UN funds and a more efficient budget process.
The mandate was also streamlined. The document itself was trimmed down from nearly seven pages of text to just two while preserving the core responsibilities and functions of UNAMI, at this critical juncture in Iraq’s history.
It is important, however, to note the complexity of the challenges UNAMI – and Iraq – will face moving forward. The mandate underscores the importance of supporting Iraq in meeting the needs of all Iraqis, including women, youth, and members of religious and ethnic minority groups. This is an area of particular interest to the United States. We expect UNAMI to work more closely with the Government of Iraq to address the unique needs of these groups and individuals as part and parcel to the broader national and community-level reconciliation effort needed to be undertaken.
In March, Special Representative Kubis issued a press release that echoed this call. It said, “Iraq draws its strength from its cultural and religious diversity and its rich history. This treasure should be protected and nurtured by the Government and the people of Iraq.” We strongly support that call.
We also encourage UNAMI to coordinate closely with other UN agencies in Iraq, including UNDP and UN Habitat, to ensure continuity of effort and progress on humanitarian, reconstruction, and development efforts at the community, governorate, and national levels.
Iraq faces diverse challenges, some of which are unrelated to the scourge of ISIS and the path of destruction it left in its wake. The World Bank is already doing great work to help Iraq stabilize its financial footing. As the mandate notes, work also remains to be done on “sustainable development” and regional cooperation – to include addressing broader water management issues and mitigating the dust storms that persistently plague Iraq’s people. We recognize the importance of regional and civil society organizations in addressing these challenges.
This morning’s mandate renewal is a reminder of the constructive role the United Nations can play around the world and especially in the Middle East. We look forward to Iraq continuing to lead the way forward and playing a positive role in the region and we extend our thanks to Special Representative Kubis and the entire UNAMI team for their continued excellent work.