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As UNDP Justifies $5 Charge to Kids to Hear Clark, Re-Directs to Airline Ads

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, August 5 -- Now the UN Development Program has provided a justification to the Free UN Coalition for Access of the  $10 charge to hear Administrator Helen Clark speak, from Clark's personal spokesperson Christina LoNigro:

"The Tauranga Branch of the United Nations Association is a small local organisation and the fees charged for the event will be used to cover the cost of the venue.  Any additional proceeds will be given to the YWCA Future Leaders Programme."

  It's appreciated, but charging money to hear a UN system official speak -- in this case, charging $5 to children -- is not only unsavory, but may run afoul of General Assembly Resolution 92(I), which provides that

"Members of the United Nations should take such legislative or other appropriate measures as are necessary to prevent the use, without authorization by the Secretary-General of the United Nations, and in particular for commercial purposes by means of trademarks or commercial labels, of the emblem, the official seal and the name of the United Nations, and of abbreviations of that name through the use of its initial letters"

  When previously raised by Inner City Press regarding a similar $10 charge to hear Robert Orr at the Korea Society, the oral response was to waive the fee. Presumably children weren't being charged in that case.

  Also, there may be a UNA pattern here: Inner City Press previously questions the charging of money for another UNA event, here.

  Meanwhile, now more than 24 hours after it was exposed, UNDP's Liberia website's "Delivering as One" section is still re-directing traffic to airline advertisements.

  While the UN's main Twitter account @UN quickly responded to the Free UN Coalition for Access when @FUNCA_info raised this problem -- the UN deleted its own link, which it said worked when it had been "scheduled" -- UNDP has still not respond on that, or fixed the link.

  Beyond these, FUNCA asked LoNigro and UNDP lead spokesperson Satinder Bindra and Abdel-Rahman Ghandour this:

"This is  also a formal request that Administrator Clark belatedly hold a question and answer press conference in UN Headquarters in New York, and for an explanation of why she has done even fewer of these than Kemal Dervis or Ad Melkert. Thank you in advance."

  On this, no response yet. The decline in New York media Q&A by UNDP's Administrator began under a UN official now in charge of both accreditation and UN Television, about which questions asked Monday by FUNCA and others, about the low quality of audio for the MERCOSUR foreign minister's stakeout about US spying were not responded to. Meanwhile even UNWebcast gushed to the new US Ambassador. This is the UN.

Footnote: The quick response, and "thanks," of @UN to the Free UN Coalition for Access stands in contrast to that of the sub-unit Department of Public Information, which has threatened to suspend or withdraw the accreditation of Inner City Press for merely hanging a sign of the Free UN Coalition for Access on the door of its shared office, click here to view.

   FUNCA asked questions that have not been answered, about this and that, and noted that the UN or DPI can't outlaw an organization like the Free UN Coalition for Access which would, has and will if necessary do its work without DPI. Watch this site.


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