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In UN Budget Fight, Ban's Change Management Mistrusted, Vote Called

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, April 2, updated -- The UN Budget Committee was supposed to close this resumed session at 3 pm on Monday. But even at 5 pm, as Bhutan's event on happiness as an economic indicator continued, Budget Committee delegates milled around waiting for the outcome of a small meeting of Permanent Representatives in a small room next to the Bhutanese event.

Those inside included the Permanent Representative of Algeria, the chair of the Group of 77 and China, US Ambassador Joe Torsella, the EU and UK Deputy Permanent Representative Philip Parham. As he left, Parham told Inner City Press that things might come to a vote.

  When the Committee convened, three drafts were circulated: on the Capital Master Plan and its $433 million cost over run, on the Office of Internal Oversight Services and makings its audits available online, and an "Accountability," mostly Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's so-called Change Management Plan.

  The fight is one of separation of powers: how much can Ban do or try to do without General Assembly consent?

Before discussion of these three documents began, Inner City Press was told the leave the room, that it was an "informal" session. This seemed strange, since what chairman Tommo Monthe said might constitute a sort of legislative history of what was voted on.

In interviews just outside the conference room, Inner City Press gleaned that after Monthe's "plea," Russia spoke and called the Change Management paragraph 7 unbalanced. The chair of G-77 said much the same thing.

Inner City Press can report that the G-77 chair was summoned over to Monthe, who suggested an amendment. The G-77 chair said he would have to consult; he was willing to stay but it was just a vote, anyone can vote.

Soon the meeting was suspended for 20 minutes, and G-77 convened in a room across the hall. It seemed the vote was on, concerning what some call Ban Ki-moon's coup. Watch this site.

Update of 8:36 pm - as delegates gathered to vote, Chairman Monthe came and told Inner City Press there will be a vote on section 2 of Accountability, first on an amendment. There will be no vote on his proposed compromise. "Malcorra would come" and give assurances, but this wasn't believed either. A well-placed delegate told Inner City Press, "this is the test for Malcorra." One of her supporters by contrasted called it a "task." If only one could do that in school....

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Click here for Sept 23, '11 about UN General Assembly

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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

Click here for Sept 26, 2011 New Yorker on Inner City Press at UN

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