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  • Publication Date: 04-2004
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Open Society Foundations
  • Abstract: This report, the fifth in a series by the Open Society Iraq Revenue Watch, evaluates the level of transparency in budget reporting by the Baghdad-based Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA). On the eve of the transition to a new Iraqi government, the report finds that although the CPA’s financial procedures and documents have improved, they still fail to meet internationally recognized standards for fiscal decision-making and reporting. The report calls upon the CPA and the Governing Council to make further improvements in accordance with these standards. Budgetary transparency and accountability can help assure that Iraq does not revert to the tyranny of secrecy practiced under Saddam Hussein.
  • Topic: Military Affairs, Transparency, Revenue Management
  • Political Geography: Iraq
  • Publication Date: 10-2004
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Open Society Foundations
  • Abstract: Recent audits expose serious failures in American oversight of Iraq’s revenues and U.S. reconstruction funds, according to a report by the Open Society Institute’s Iraq Revenue Watch project. The audits—released in late July by the Coalition Provisional Authority Inspector General (CPA-IG)—paint a picture of disorder and negligence. Contractors made little effort to control costs, while the Coalition Provisional Authority, which was in charge of managing Iraqi reconstruction funds, failed to adhere to federally mandated procedures for awarding and overseeing contracts. “The CPA did not do its job regarding the oversight of reconstruction funds,” said Svetlana Tsalik, director of the Revenue Watch project. “It failed to stop the misuse and waste of money that belonged to the Iraqi people and American taxpayers.” An analysis of the data suggests that of $1.5 billion in contracts, the CPA awarded U.S. firms 74 percent of the value of all contracts paid for with Iraqi funds. Together with its British allies, U.S. and U.K. companies received 85 percent of the value of all such contracts. Iraqi firms, by contrast, received just 2 percent of the value of contracts paid for with Iraqi funds. “Government favorites such as Kellogg, Brown and Root benefited at the expense of Iraqi companies whose workers badly need jobs,” said Tsalik. The report, the sixth in a series by Iraq Revenue Watch, finds that 60 percent of the value of all contracts paid with Iraqi funds went to Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg, Brown & Root (KBR)—the same company that Pentagon auditors in December 2003 found had overcharged the U.S. government for as much as $61 million for fuel imports into Iraq. A criminal investigation of KBR was launched by the Department of Defense in February 2004. The CPA-IG audits confirm the findings of previous ones. A report released in July 2004 by the International Advisory and Monitoring Board, the watchdog body set up by the United Nations, found numerous problems in the CPA’s control and use of Iraqi oil assets during the occupation. These include the absence of oil metering to control theft, poor record-keeping on oil sales, an absence of oversight of spending by the Iraqi ministries, the use of noncompetitive bidding procedures for some contracts, and the CPA’s refusal to transmit crucial information to the UN-mandated body. A recent Pentagon audit of KBR’s billing system, which shows that systematic deficiencies in the company’s accounting and billing procedures incurred significant costs to U.S taxpayers and to Iraqi oil revenues, is further proof of mismanagement. Following the model of its American predecessor, the Iraq interim government to date has provided scant information about how it is managing Iraq’s oil revenues.
  • Topic: Oil, United Nations, Military Affairs, Budget, Transparency, Revenue Management
  • Political Geography: Iraq
  • Publication Date: 02-2004
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Open Society Foundations
  • Abstract: In this report the Open Society Iraq Revenue Watch (IRW) looks at Iraq’s national air transport sector, which is presently controlled by the American-led Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA). Despite CPA claims that it intends to return control of the country’s air industry to the Iraqi people, a document obtained by the Open Society Foundations shows that a backroom deal has already sold off 75 percent of the country’s air sector to a single family. The IRW argues that the secret deal is one among a number of suspect agreements that have occurred under the radar in a chaotic post-war Iraq. The report’s authors caution that Iraq risks following a similar path as Russia, where a class of oligarchs emerged after the fall of communism by buying up state assets at below market prices. Controlling Iraq’s Skies recommends that this contract be frozen and an investigation be launched by the International Advisory and Monitoring Board, as well as by the CPA Inspector General. The report also calls on the CPA to compensate Iraqi Airways for damage to its facilities committed by occupying forces, and fees for the use of its facilities.
  • Topic: Military Affairs, Budget, Public Sector, Iraq War, Air Force, Revenue Management
  • Political Geography: Iraq
  • Publication Date: 07-2004
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Open Society Foundations
  • Abstract: British Muslims face severe obstacles in the United Kingdom's labor market and have a disproportionately high rate of unemployment, according to this report from OSI's EU Monitoring and Advocacy Program (EUMAP). Aspirations and Reality: British Muslims and the Labour Market calls for more effort to meet the employment aspirations and needs of Muslims in the UK, especially Muslim women and young Muslims. "Government, the private sector, and Muslims themselves must ensure that British Muslims are not left out of the workforce," said the report's author, Zamila Bunglawala, who co-authored the Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit report on Ethnic Minorities and the Labour Market. British Muslims seeking employment face multiple obstacles, ranging from gaps in mainstream labor market policy and employer practices, poor service delivery and a lack of faith-friendly work environments. The extent to which Muslims face religious discrimination in the labor market is unknown; the report stressed that further analysis is needed to improve the understanding of the British Muslim group as a whole. Muslim youths are at particular risk of social exclusion. With Muslims set to comprise almost a quarter of the growth in the working age population in Britain between 1999 and 2009, integrating British Muslims into the mainstream labor market must now be a priority for the government, the report concludes.
  • Topic: Islam, Religion, Labor Issues, Minorities, European Union
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom
  • Publication Date: 06-2003
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Conference Board
  • Abstract: This report presents a leadership vision of a strong and open global trading system, and urges the United States and its trading partners to adopt vital policy reforms, including delinking agricultural subsidies from prices and production while opening agricultural markets everywhere, and eliminating all tariffs and non-tariff barriers in both manufacturing and services.
  • Topic: Security, International Trade and Finance, Leadership, Economy, Economic growth
  • Political Geography: North America, Global Focus, United States of America
  • Publication Date: 07-2003
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Open Society Foundations
  • Abstract: These documents, prepared by the EU Accession Monitoring Program of the Open Society Institute, assess the state of minority protection in 10 Central and Eastern European states seeking full membership in the European Union and in five current member states. The reports examine candidate states' implementation of their minority protection or integration programmes, and each state's laws, institutions, and practices relating to minority protection of Roma or Muslims.
  • Topic: Islam, Law, Minorities, European Union, Civil Rights, Institutions, Political Rights, Freedom of Religion
  • Political Geography: Europe, Eastern Europe
  • Author: Svetlana Tsalik
  • Publication Date: 05-2003
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Open Society Foundations
  • Abstract: Caspian Oil Windfalls: Who Will Benefit?, a publication from the Central Eurasia Project's Caspian Revenue Watch, calls for greater accountability, transparency, and public oversight in the oil and natural gas industries of Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan. It urges foreign oil companies, their home governments, and international financial institutions to promote good governance and democracy in both countries to ensure that petroleum revenues generate social prosperity and stable governments. Written by Svetlana Tsalik, director of the Caspian Revenue Watch, the report also offers recommendations based on in-depth analysis of natural resource funds in other nations as well as models of citizen oversight. The foreword was written by Joseph E. Stiglitz, the former chief economist of the
  • Topic: Oil, Natural Resources, Accountability, Public Policy, Transparency, Fossil Fuels
  • Political Geography: Caspian Sea, Central Eurasia
  • Publication Date: 10-2003
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Open Society Foundations
  • Abstract: Keeping Secrets, a report from the Open Society Iraq Revenue Watch project, concludes that Iraq’s public finances have so far fallen short of international standards of accountability. The report was released on the eve of an international donors’ conference for Iraq in Madrid, scheduled for October 23–24. It calls for greater transparency in the management of the Development Fund for Iraq (DFI), the central repository for U.S. reconstruction assistance as well as Iraqi oil and gas revenues. The Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA)—the U.S.-established governing agency in Iraq—has delayed the establishment of a crucial oversight body and refused to disclose basic information about large purchase contracts and DFI expenditures, the report says. Keeping Secrets calls on the CPA to reverse these trends and offers a set of recommendations, including increased Iraqi involvement in the DFI, more substantial oversight authority for the United Nations’ International Advisory and Monitoring Board, and better public access to information.
  • Topic: Finance, Accountability, Public Sector, Fiscal Policy, Transparency, Public Spending
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq
  • Publication Date: 09-2003
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Open Society Foundations
  • Abstract: In late July 2003, Iraq’s Coalition Provisional Authority announced a tender to provide wireless telecommunications services for two years to Iraq. Expanding telephone access is a critical step toward improving Iraqis’ lives. Telecommunications contracts also provide lucrative opportunities for providers. If the United States is to succeed in its goal of building a capable and transparent public administration in Iraq, it is important that Iraqis are included in the contracting process and that the terms of the tender are not designed to preference U.S. companies. This report from the Iraq Revenue Watch project of the Open Society Central Eurasia Project describes some concerns with the mobile phone tender, and provides recommendations on how to improve the transparency and inclusiveness of subsequent tenders.
  • Topic: Communications, Iraq War, Revenue Management
  • Political Geography: Iraq
  • Publication Date: 07-2001
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Open Society Foundations
  • Abstract: This report presents data from a series of surveys of safety net organizations, clients who access care at these sties, and the providers who work there. The goal of this project was to identify issues and needs facing clients at these sites and the unique role of safety net organizations in meeting these needs. An additional goal was to identify potential challenges to the mission and capacity of this network of providers that is caring for society’s most vulnerable and needy individuals. The surveys were conducted by medical students participating in the Soros Service Program for Community Health. This summer internship, part of the Open Society Institute’s Medicine as a Profession initiative, places first year medical students from around the country in community-based organizations for a seven-week internship. The students get to experience first-hand issues facing patients trying to access care in the face of poverty, addiction, abuse, and homelessness. They receive mentoring from a very talented and committed team of community providers and participate in an intensive curriculum that focuses on issues of professionalism facing physicians. The goal is to introduce students early in their education and training to positive examples of empowered communities and providers serving the needs of traditionally disenfranchised patient populations and to introduce the concepts and practice of patient advocacy.
  • Topic: Labor Issues, Employment, Inequality, Public Policy, Welfare, Public Health
  • Political Geography: United States