There are at least
two problems with this argument. First, the Secretary-General nominates the
Administrator of UNDP, in this case Kemal Dervis, and thus could easily direct
him to accept the Ethics Office's jurisdiction in this case.
Second, even UNDP's
Executive Board is, if one follows it back, dependent on the UN General
Assembly. The Assembly elects ECOSOC, whose members elect UNDP's Executive
Board. And so UNDP is not as independent as it claims.
UNDP has not come to address these issues,
leaving Ban's spokesperson Michele Montas to field a second
questions. "I have spoken with UNDP this morning," she said, adding that UNDP
will be announcing its own plan to purport to deal with the Ethics Office's
finding that UNDP engaged in retaliation. See
video below. But there was
no movement at all on Ban's consideration of how to apply the UN's own Ethics
and anti-retaliation standards and procedures to UNDP. The Government
Accountability Project has said, "It doesn't look too good...
The simplest good faith thing to do is to apply the
policy across the board."
Ethics Office's Robert Benson
Tuesday outside the
UN Security Council, Inner City Press asked U.S. Ambassador Alejandro Wolff
Inner City Press: UNDP is saying
that they don't accept the jurisdiction of the Ethics Office and they claim that
they are going to do their own review of the whistleblower's case through the
Executive Board, which the US is on. As an executive board member, would the US
participate or agree to that or do you feel that the Ethics Office should review
the whistle blowers case and that Mr. Ban should tell Kemal Dervis to do just
Ambassador Wolff: Our view of the
Ethics Office is that it should have jurisdiction over the entire organization
including funds and programs. It is ludicrous, ludicrous to think that you can
establish an Ethics Office and it is limited only to certain offices, certain
employees, certain individuals not the organization as a whole. So our view on
that is pretty clear.
Inner City Press: What's the next
Ambassador Wolff: We understand
that the jurisdictional issue, and I got a little bit into the details on that,
the jurisdictional issue is something Secretary-General is looking into, our
understanding is that the Secretary-General's view is the same, that the Ethics
Office should have jurisdiction over all funds and programs, and I am sure they
will work something out to ensure that that is the outcome.
City Press: Just now, at the stakeout, the UN Ambassador, Alejandro Wolff,
called 'ludicrous' UNDP's argument that the Ethics Office does not apply to it,
and said that he or the US mission thinks that Mr. Ban wants the Ethics Office
to have jurisdiction over the whistle-blower's case. Inevitably, it is a
follow-up to you to say that, is the impression that he just stated, is that Mr.
Spokesperson: At this point, it is a fact that, legally, the Ethics Office has
no jurisdiction over UNDP. As you know, UNDP has its own intergovernmental
body, and its own Executive Board. What I can only say is what I said
yesterday, that the Secretary-General encourages a thorough and independent
investigation into all matters related to the case, including its whistle-blower
aspects. However, whether it is done by the Ethics Office or by another body is
not being raised here.
probably know, the UN Board of Auditors is preparing to begin the second phase
of an external audit into the operations of the United Nations Office for
Project Services (UNOPS), United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), United
Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and UNDP in the Democratic People's Republic of
Korea, as requested by the UN Secretary-General.
has said that it is proceeding to arrange an additional and complementary
external review to take place under the auspices of its Executive Board. A
formal announcement on this review will be made in a few days. This review
would look into issues relating to UNDP's operations in the Democratic People's
Republic of Korea not covered in the second phase of the external audit. And
this could include Mr. [Artjon] Skhurtaj's allegations.
City Press: Just one thing. Having spoken to him, he says he sought protection
as a whistle-blower from the Secretariat's Ethics Office. And that Office has
found him to be retaliated against. That was an initial, prima facie
finding. The Board of Auditors and whatever UNDP is proposing have no mandate
to protect whistle-blowers. He was not asking for just an investigation, but
actually for the protection under the UN's protection against retaliations
statute. How does that relate to that?
Spokesperson: Okay, as far as I know, the UNDP has a protection against
retaliation policy. I spoke to them this morning, and it is under the
Harassment and Abuse of Authority policy. It has both informal and formal
mechanisms available to both staff and individuals on short-term contracts to
address allegations of retaliation. You know, legally -- and that is recognized
by the Ethics Office -- legally, the Ethics Office of the Secretariat has no
jurisdiction over UNDP.
City Press: He said for the good of the UN it should be done in this case.
And so what will Ban do, for the "good of the UN"? We'll see. Watch this site.
* * *
here for a
AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army
(which had to be finalized without DPA having respond.)
for an earlier
piece by this correspondent about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's
$200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund. Video
UN Office: S-453A,
UN, NY 10017 USA Tel: 212-963-1439
(and weekends): 718-716-3540
Other, earlier Inner
City Press are listed here, and
some are available in the ProQuest service.
Copyright 2006-07 Inner City Press, Inc. To request
reprint or other permission, e-contact Editorial [at] innercitypress.com -
UN Office: S-453A,
UN, NY 10017 USA Tel: 212-963-1439