UN, Climate and Sanctions Offices Left Behind, of Two Lounges, Threats
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, April 5 -- Past the UN's stated deadline to have its
headquarters building empty for gut rehabilitation, the last working
day before Easter found UN offices and staff left behind on the 17th
and 18th floors, with journalists threatened with destruction of
their files down below.
General Ban Ki-moon's professed focus on climate change, his advisory
office on the matter remains languishing in room 1831. On April 1,
Inner City Press asked, does Ban climate advisor "Janos Pazstor
still work here?"" Yes, was the answer.
floor below, the
plagued "Umoja" office, of the UN's $300 million
plus Enterprise Resource Planning project has also been left behind
in the building. On the elevator, a staff member told Inner City
Press that his Sanctions unit of the Department of Political Affairs
is also still in the building.
ostensibly final retirement party held in the old Delegates' Lounge,
sources told Inner City Press that the contractor Skanska is moving
people into floors like 15 and even 2, into higher quality offices
than those of seemingly senior UN staff. "Something weird is
going on here," one long time and well-placed staffer said.
indeed it is
weird. As several revelers noted, while UN staff and diplomats have
been banned since Christmas 2009 from the Delegates' Lounge -- a
cement floored facsimile of which has belatedly been opened by a
single window in the Temporary North Lawn Building dubbed by some
Bantanamo -- an official of the UN Capital Master Plan told as Inner
City Press source the old Lounge will remain untouched through at
least September 2010.
will be used
for luncheons and events during the General Debate, and also until
then, he said, "only for USGs and ASGs" - that is, high UN
In Ban's UN, mine action mannequin: last man standing?
is involved in the threats to journalists and their files. Not only
is the whistleblower
free zone established to monitor the press --
the real Bantanamo, some say -- a form of retaliation, now the
deadline to destroy all that is in the former journalists' offices is
as well, some say.
of the Delegates' Lounge, including several member states' Permanent
Representatives, have asked Inner City Press why the UN made its
supposedly replacement Delegates' Lounge so drab, with the prices
raised. Others say it better than nothing, a attitude of decreased
expectations more and more prevalent in this UN. Watch this site.
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UN, Council Moves But Medical Files and Union Left Behind by Master Plan
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, March 29 -- While the UN Capital Master Plan lurches
forward, some are left behind. On fifth floor of the Secretariat
building last week, the hallway was full of rolling carts of medical
Weeks ago, the UN Medical Service,
embroiled in a scandal of
doctors without U.S. licensed signing out controlled substances to
themselves, moved out to Second Avenue and 42nd Street, "above
the liquor store," as it's known.
the contractor had made the shelves for medical records too small. So
so the records stayed in an office empty but for the X-ray unit. This
apparently can't be moved "above the liquor store." It will
be buried in the UN's third sub-basement.
on the fifth floor, the UN Staff Union hasn't even been told where
they will finally move to. They were offered a minuscule space in the
Alcoa Building on 48th Street; this offer may have been withdrawn.
This despite a blustery
ultimatum from the Capital Master Plan, that
if journalists don't relinquish their offices on the fourth floor by
March 31, their files will be thrown out. If the Staff Union one
floor above is any indication, the April 1 deadline is false. We
In terms of the forced move of UN
correspondents to cubicles that initially
came equipped with security cameras above them monitored by the UN --
the "no whistleblower zone," Inner City Press dubbed it -- now the
UN wants to begin charging even for an inside-the-UN phone.
Since these allow correspondents to
call and cover the UN's work in the field, from Congo to Timor Leste,
one wonders if it's smart. But this UN must know what it's doing,
monitoring and making things more difficult for independent journalists.
As new Security Council was built- now finished,
journalists not shown
Secretariat, Staff Union officials complain, has been trying to
divide and conquer. While two officials have been released from day
to day UN work to perform Union functions, the second vice president
remains employed in the forestry unit of the Department of Economic
and Social Affairs. She wants and applies for promotions, setting up
a conflict of interest in her Union work.
indicate that she came into UN service "through the back door,"
seconded by Brazil and then somehow "regularized." She has
accused Union president Steven Kisambira of being an emperor; he has
responded by putting on a emperor-like hat. And so it goes at the UN.
to give credit where credit is due, for the move of the Security
Council down to the old Conference Room 4 in the General Assembly
building basement, work went on over the weekend. By Monday morning,
if for example the Council wanted to meet about the subway bombings
in Moscow, they could.
visit Monday morning by Inner City Press found that the flags were
set up where the Vienna Cafe used to be. The consultations room was
in old Conference Room 5. And the horseshoe table was in place,
raised the mezzanine cheap seats, with a replica painting behind.
busted a nut," a CMP official said. Why not for those left
behind in the Secretariat? And how is the Council going to act when
the UN's Security Council Affairs has been relegated out to Third
Avenue in the so called Teachers Building of TIAA-CREF? There appears
to be dissension in that office. Watch this site.
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