From my In-Box:
**Please disregard the cpapublicaffairs header on this email. This is being sent from the US Embassy Baghdad**
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 4, 2004
ACCELERATED IRAQ RECONSTRUCTION EFFORT
EXCEEDS GOALS AND SCHEDULES
11,000+ Iraqi?s employed, $300+ million obligated, 329 projects in 10 cities
BAGHDAD, Iraq (July 5, 2004) ? The Project and Contracting Office (formerly the Program Management Office) announces today that its Accelerated Iraq Reconstruction initiative has employed over 11,000 Iraqis and obligated more than $300 million - exceeding the goals established by Ambassador L. Paul Bremer.
?Rebuilding the infrastructure of Iraq will take years, yet this project set out to deliver essential services immediately to areas suffering from years of neglect,? explained David Nash (RADM-Ret.), director of the PCO. ?Ambassador Bremer challenged us to undertake a series of projects in communities with urgent and critical needs. We did it, and today have employed over 11,000 Iraqis, and have provided thousands of families with essential services previously withheld from them for political reasons or convenient neglect.?
On April 22, Ambassador Bremer directed the PMO to identify high impact projects in key locations to quickly and visibly improve the daily lives of the Iraqi people, and help stabilize the security environment of the nation. The collective projects became known as the Accelerated Iraq Reconstruction Program (AIRP).
The program had two primary goals. First, to compliment the Commanders Emergency Response Program (CERP), the Rapid Regional Response Program (R3P) projects, and the Iraq Relief and Reconstruction Fund (IRRF). The second was to rapidly implement urgent need projects while employing as many Iraqis as possible. To fund this effort, the CPA Program Review Board (PRB), the Iraq Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Planning and Development Cooperation allocated $500 million from the Development Fund for Iraq (DFI). Implementation of these projects will continue well past the transfer of authority on June 28, 2004 until the funds are completely spent.
?The PMO, military commanders, CPA, Ministries, and local Iraqi governances combined resources to identify urgent needs, solicit proposals and get the money into the hands of the contractors to do the work,? explained Ralph Kaneshiro, team leader of the AIRP effort. ?While these aren?t massive projects, they deliver high value services for communities with critical needs, and provide employment opportunities for a number of struggling communities. These communities now have viable waste disposal, potable water or schools for their children for the first time. For them it?s more than a start ? it?s a blessing.?
Most projects are related to potable water, sewerage and solid waste disposal, health care, education and transportation. However, a broad range of small and medium-sized (under $100,000) projects are being implemented, including community services such as youth center renovations, veterinary clinics for livestock, internet cafes, and farmers markets.
- PCO -
The Project and Contracting Office (known as the Program Management Office prior to handover) executes the $18.4 billion Congressional Appropriated Supplemental to support the reconstruction of the Iraqi infrastructure. The office reports to the State Department and Chief of Mission, responsible for project requirements and priorities, and to the US Department of the Army and Department of Defense, responsible for project management and contracting.