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ICP Asked OCHA About Somaliland, Now FAO Answers FUNCA Qs

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, April 24 -- When UN Relief Chief Stephen O'Brien  came to answer questions on February 9 about the UN's report for the upcoming World Humanitarian Summit, Inner City Press asked him why his Central Emergency Relief Fund gave funds to Ethiopia but not Somaliland, given FAO's finding of drought. Video here.

  O'Brien answered that aid access in Yemen is key, and said there is no legal impediment to CERF funds for Somaliland.

  Now in April 2016, after the UN of Ban Ki-moon and USG Cristina Gallach ousted then evicted Inner City Press from the UN on April 16 (video here and here; more info here) and tore the Free UN Coalition for Access sign off the office door, FUNCA member Mohamoud Walaaleye has raised the issued, and interviewed Dick Trenchard, Head FAO Somalia and Somaliland. According to  Mohamoud Walaaleye's reporting, FOA's Trenchard said

 “We are re-programming, and bringing resources another parts of our program, like Somalia, and three million arrived yesterday. We will done a lot cash for work, that put cash people’s pockets. They can buy seeds, and we are looking working now Government’s ministry of Agriculture, how we can help them provide vouchers to farmers, and it’s our priority. This was discussed during meeting Mr. de Clerk had with President Silanyo... I am proud of the handover to the Vice President of six thousand and one hundred, local initiative FAO Somaliland office staff contributed drought assistance, and I am really proud of it. I think it expresses and captures the passion of FAO team here in Hargeisa, we are all people who really care food security of Somaliland, the contribution is small amount, when looked needs, but, on the other hand it shows our serious and massive commitment working as hard as we can and people are passionate contributing as well.”

We'll have more on this.

Previously on September 22, 2015 after the Permanent Representatives of Estonia and Costa Rica announced a high level meeting on the topic on September 26; Estonia's Sven Jürgenson said his priority is the best candidate, not necessarily from the Eastern European group.

   Inner City Press asked if this same push for transparency applies to the current murky process of selecting the new High Commissioner for Refugees, of which it is said Ban Ki-moon alone choose (Danish UNGA President Mogens Lykketoft told Inner City Press he “favors” the Danish ex-Prime Minister but plays no role.)

  Costa Rica's Juan Carlos Mendoza Garcia told Inner City Press that reforms in Secretary General selection could help reform other selections in the UN system. Inner City Press - and the Free UN Coalition for Access -- ask, isn't the refugee top post something of a test case?

  Tellingly, the old UN Correspondents Association demanded to ask - and largely waste - the first question, the time of meritless hierarchy that is precisely what's wrong with the UN. We'll have more on this, and on the September 26 high level meeting.

  Back on July 22 the subject was discussed behind closed doors by the UN Security Council. Afterward UK Ambassador Matthew Rycroft emerged and described the meeting as a first step, adding that the UK intends to convene a so-called Arria formula meeting of the Council once candidates come forward.

  Inner City Press asked Rycroft if the issue of regional rotation - that is, the the Next SG post belongs to the Eastern European Group -- came up. He said that it did, adding among other things that the UK does not think that is the most important factor. Periscope video here, for now.

  It was argued to Inner City Press that while the UN Charter in English assumes that the Secretary General is male, that is not the case in the Chinese (or Russian) versions - for what it's worth.

Update: as to Russian, an astute reader notes that

Within Chapter XV of the Charter (“The Secretariat”), in the third sentence of Article 97, where the English version of the Charter says of the Secretary-General, “He shall . . .”, the Russian version instead uses the name “TheSecretary-General shall . . .”, thus avoiding specifying the SG’s gender.  But in Article 99, where the English says, “The Secretary-General may bring to the attention of the Security Council any matter which in his opinion may threaten . . .”, the Russian also uses, “. . . in his opinion”.

h/t/ SC Procedure

Статья 97

Секретариат состоит из Генерального Секретаря и такого персонала, который может потребоваться для Организации. Генеральный Секретарь назначается Генеральной Ассамблеей по рекомендации Совета Безопасности. Генеральный Секретарь является главным административным должностным лицом Организации.

Статья 98

Генеральный Секретарь действует в этом качестве на всех заседаниях Генеральной Ассамблеи, Совета Безопасности, Экономического и Социального Совета и Совета по Опеке и выполняет такие другие функции, какие возлагаются на него этими органами. Генеральный Секретарь представляет Генеральной Ассамблее ежегодный отчет о работе Организации.

Статья 99

Генеральный Секретарь имеет право доводить до сведения Совета Безопасности о любых вопросах, которые, по его мнению, могут угрожать поддержанию международного мира и безопасности.

Background: on June 30, UN Conference Room 11 was full to discuss the Next SG question, in an event organized by the 27 member states (so far) making up ACT (Accountability, Coherence, Transparency).

  Surprising to some, on the panel was UK Permanent Representative Matthew Rycroft, who said among other things that the Next SG should not necessarily be from the Eastern European Group.

  The room was full -- Inner City Press stood by the door, broadcasting by Periscope and live-tweeting with laptop in hand -- but with a notable contingent of Eastern European representatives. One question identified herself as such: a woman, and Eastern European. Just saying.

   William Pace of WFM reminisced how Boutros Boutros Ghali's second term was vetoed in a deal between the (Bill) Clinton adminstration and then-Senator Jesse Helms, to release dues payments to the UN.

 The proposal now is for a single seven year term. Mary Robinson says she knows of another P5 country, beyond the UK, which is open to a single seven year term.

  When it was open for questions, Inner City Press (also on behalf of the new Free UN Coalition for Access, which unlike the older correspondents grouping actually fights for more transparency by the UN) asked why not have a debate among prospective candidates?

  Why not require disclosure of how much is spend on each candidates campaign, including banning or requiring the disclosure of spending of the funds of UN Programmes (UNDP) or Organizations (UNESCO) for their chiefs to campaign to replace Ban Ki-moon?

   The UK's Rycroft said that prohibitions are not the answer -- agreed -- but did not answer on requiring financial disclosures. (He said we don't want massive spending, one isn't running for president. Which raises another question: what about some form of matching funds for candidates from lower income countries?)

  While much of the focus seems to be on arranging letters from the President of the Security Council to the President of the General Assembly, as Inner City Press asked at the ACT event and asked the new PGA Mogens Lykketoft himself, twice (video), can't the PGA call a high level meeting and invite candidates to present themselves? In this way, the wider world outside the UN could get engaged, and put on some pressure. The anonymous polling of which candidates are “discouraged” by the P5 members should not, FUNCA contends, be repeated.

  Costa Rica's Permanent Representative Juan Carlos Mendoza-García wrapped up, and the event was over. It was promising, but moves for reform and opening up should begin as soon as possible. Watch this site.

  Back on June 1, after several press conference on the topic and a closed door General Assembly session on April 27, the ACT group of 27 states (Accountability, Coherence and Transparency) submitted their page and a half set of proposals to the Presidents of the Security Council and of the General Assembly.

  Here is a photo, re-tweeted from the Swiss by the Free UN Coalition for Access.

  Even before these proposals are debated, candidates are edging for an advantage; dark horses are positioning themselves for it the post slips away from the Eastern European Group. Inner City Press has mentioned Helen Clark, using the UN Development Program post to campaign (staff who cross her on Twitter are reprimanded, as Inner City Press reported here.)

  The new Free UN Coalition for Access seeks to open the UN and these processes - watch this site.


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