Contact: Brian Leventhal
Office of Strategic Communications
Tel: 914-360-5288


Baghdad, Iraq. Today, Ambassador L. Paul Bremer participated in the transition to full authority ceremony for the Iraqi Ministry of Planning and Development Cooperation at a ceremony at the Baghdad Convention Center. The event, hosted by Iraqi Planning and Development Cooperation Minister Dr. Mehdi Hafedh, was part of the return of control over Iraq’s ministries to the Iraqi people.

The transition ceremony was followed by a symphony orchestra concert and a formal dinner for approximately 200 guests in the Baghdad Convention Center Dining Hall.

The Ministry of Planning and Development Coordination has provided Iraq with a strategic vision for reconstruction. During the past year they have worked closely with other Iraqi ministries to prioritize more than 700 reconstruction programs.

Planning and development cooperation is not about “central planning” as it was under the old regime. It’s now about coordinating a wide variety of views into a coherent vision. The Ministry has established key institutions and procedures that will be essential for working together. The Council for International Cooperation (CIC) is one example of an institution developed by the Ministry to facilitate international cooperation.

In addition, Minister Dr. Mehdi Hafedh has chaired the Iraq Strategic Review Board since Dec 2003. The Board has reviewed millions of dollars in UN, World Bank and other donor funding to make sure that these organizations’ plans fit within the general framework of larger Iraqi reconstruction priorities.

In February of this year, the Ministry organized an 35-nation Conference in Abu Dhabi to provide a coherent development framework through which the Iraqi government and their donor partners could focus their efforts. The nations attending the Abu Dhabi Conference ultimately pledged a total of $1 billion towards two trust funds managed by the United Nations and World Bank.

The Ministry has also organized the upcoming Doha Conference which represents the next stage in donor reconstruction. The Doha Conference will include over 35 nations and takes place in 12 days. The Conference, which has the theme “From Commitment to Action,” will review progress in the reconstruction process and allocate funds to projects.

During the transition ceremony, Ambassador Bremer remarked: “Mr. Minister, you have chaired the Strategic Review Board that has set the priorities of all Iraq’s major development programs. Your ministry has taken the lead in coordinating international donor assistance, setting the priorities for billions of dollars in assistance from the international community to the people of Iraq…No organization in Iraq has a more important role than yours. The vital work you and your staff do will literally shape the country your children and their children will inherit.”


If you have any questions, please email Brian Leventhal at