Despite limitations imposed by the security situation in Iraq, the United Nations is still carrying out a wide range of assistance to the country’s people through its national staff and Iraqi contractors, who are supported by several hundred international staff in the region, Secretary-General Kofi Annan told representatives of the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) and the Iraqi Governing Council today. The Secretary-General’s comments on the UN’s active and ongoing engagement in humanitarian and rehabilitation activities in the country came during three-way talks in New York on the world body’s future role in Iraq. Through its several regional offices, the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI), under the direction of acting Special Representative Ross Mountain, is coordinating the cross-border deliveries, rehabilitation projects and capacity building activities being undertaken by the various agencies. UN agencies are also bringing in potable water, delivering medical supplies, providing fertilizer and seeds, dredging ports and helping to rehabilitate health centres, water treatment plants, pumping stations and power supply systems. The UN is also engaged in capacity building, training and other forms of support to Iraqi authorities, ranging from training in procurement and logistics to Ministry of Trade staff to providing a start-up package to the new Ministry of Displacement and Migration. In addition, the UN is give emergency health kits and public health data to the Health Ministry while providing financial assistance to Iraqi authorities to carry out life-saving activities for children. The UN will continue to support the ration system, which remains an essential lifeline for a majority of the Iraqi population, with about 2.3 million tons of food to be delivered by mid-2004. UN agencies are also providing nutritional support – including high-energy biscuits – for primary schools, kindergartens and social centres. On refugee returns, the UN has also been assisting voluntary repatriation from Saudi Arabia and Iran, as well as providing protection and assistance to refugees inside Iraq. It is also developing ways to facilitate the return and reintegration of IDPs in non-contentious areas in the north. The UN is prepared to expand these activities when security conditions permit and has drawn up plans for further humanitarian and reconstruction activities for 2004 and beyond in areas such as education, health, food security, governance, poverty reduction, housing and infrastructure.