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UN Budget Targets Africa Advisor, Oversight of Roed Larsen in Lebanon, Permanent Contract Gone

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis

UNITED NATIONS, December 23, 7:30 pm, updated 9:16 pm -- The UN budget resolutions  remain stalled, as the Secretariat makes a last minute push to eliminate the Office of the Special Advisor on Africa. The position was already merged with Small Island States, but it remains in the budget. Now Deputy Secretary General Asha Rose Migiro is in the wings, to explain why it should disappear.  Ban Ki-moon's senior advisor Kim Won-soo jogged down the basement hallway clutching a cell phone. Ms. Migiro's chief advisor stood by the elevators shaking his head. Why so much focus on eliminating a single position? It has become for Team Ban a matter of pride, some say.

  Another point of pride, or of arrogance, is the Special Political Mission headed by Terje Roed Larsen, to implement Security Council Resolution 1559 in Lebanon. It too is being debated, not on the conflict of interest of Roed Larsen receiving substantial salary from funds from Gulf States to take (their) position in Lebanon, but rather on how the effectiveness of his mission is to be measured. Roed Larsen lives in the UN jet set fast lane, certainly not down in the smoky Fifth Committee basement at dawn. But these are the moments when accountability is possible, how ever briefly.

DSG Migiro overground on 2nd floor, basement and closed Spox Office not shown

  The UN Staff Union mourns for the anticipated loss of the permanent contract, which they say alone offered protection from management's retaliation. The contract's defenders were more concerned with winning the 92 development posts, it's said. Still in play is administration of justice, whether existing cases and promotions will be frozen until the new system belatedly kicks in in mid 2009.

  The 92 new posts will themselves be phrased in, starting with the regional commissions. Former Fifth Committee denizen Alicia Barcena is ensconced down south in ECLAC, and will get posts. She had promised a UN Freedom of Information policy, which has yet to be enacted. In fact, at six p.m. earlier on an all-night budget session, the UN Spokesperson's Office was closed down. If they don't even want to explain their positions, how can they convince the member states? In the basement Migiro is awaited, some delegates are saying. Watch this site.

Update of 7:53 p.m. -- Egypt's Permanent Representative strode into Conference Room 5, and then left the basement area. Syria's Ambassador is down, speaking of Roed Larsen.The screen in front of Conference Room 3 said that vote would be at 3, then 4:30, then 6 and now 8, with no sign of the meeting beginning.

Update of 9:16 p.m. -- the time on the sign has been put back to 10 pm. Now it's said Migiro won't come, the USG post for OSAA will stay alive, at least on paper. Speaking of paper, here's a proposal paragraph on Lebanon, being discussed: "OP. Requests the S-G to revise the narrative and the logical framework of the budget of the Special Envoy of the S-G for the implementation of SC resolution 1559 (2004) taking into account recent developments and the concerns raised by member states, and to submit a report thereon to the GA before the fist [sic] part of its resumed 63rd session" -- that is, this spring...

Click here from Inner City Press' December 12 debate on UN double standards

Click here for Inner City Press' November 25 debate on Somalia, politics

Click here for Inner City Press Nov. 7 debate on the war in Congo

Watch this site, and this Oct. 2 debate, on UN, bailout, MDGs

and this October 17 debate, on Security Council and Obama and the UN.

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These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

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