Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, February 4 -- As the UN promotes its upcoming Global Model
United Nations, to be held in Malaysia, questions arose about
previous corporate sponsorships of the event, and of some
participants' travel. Inner City Press asked UN official Eric Falt
about listed 2009 "sponsors" including Nestle and AIG
affiliate C.V. Starr. Video here,
from Minute 31:13.
thought the deal with Nestle had fallen through, and hadn't heard of
"the other" sponsor, AIG's C.V. Starr. Later he sent the
regard to Nestle, we had been in discussion with them last year to
possibly sponsor students from developing countries who could not
afford to attend the first conference in Geneva. In this end, this
did not happen but the information relating to their expected
sponsorship somehow remained on the website. As an admittedly late
update, Nestle's name has now been removed from the website as a
students are responsible for paying their own expenses (i.e., travel
and accommodations), we encouraged them to seek their own funding
from local enterprises. The names of other sponsors you mentioned who
were also listed as “SPONSORS who provided financial assistance to
Global Model UN Delegates” were provided to us by the students
themselves. The United Nations did not have any direct connection
with any of these sponsors. In any case, I would agree that this is
potentially confusing and we have therefore removed this list of
"secondary" sponsors from the website as well.
that the solution to this "confusion" is to remove
information about who is paying to fly delegates to the Global Model
UN. If AIG (or Nestle) is paying, it should be known.
conference, Mr. Falt said that the UN reviews potential corporate
sponsor under rules promulgated by the UN Global Compact -- it's not
"anything goes," he said. But the Global Compact has as a
member, for example, PetroChina which is under fire for its
engagement with the Al Bashir government of Sudan. If there are
standards, what are they? And is the solution removing the names of
sponsors, even "secondary" sponsors, from the UN's website?
Malaysia's Ambassador on GMUN, some corporate
sponsors no longer shown
also asked Malaysia's Ambassador about human rights complaints
against his country for treatment of refugees, and crackdowns on free
press. He graciously responded that these must be seen in the
"context of the country itself... we have three major groups,
and many smaller." He said that although Malaysia has not joined
the Refugee convention, it still implements. But there are stories of
mistreatment of asylum seekers, for example from Myanmar, here.
these type of
issues -- UN engagement with corporations like Nestle, AIG or even
PetroChina, and the host country's treatment of asylum seekers, for
example from Myanmar -- be allowed to be debated at the 2010 Global
Model UN? We'll see. Watch this site.
* * *
Russia Denies Paulson's "Dump Fannie Mae" Story,
Chinese Tricks Explored
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, February 2 -- Buried in the just released memoir of former
U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson is the allegation that in
August 2008 Russia asked China to join with it in dumping on the
market the securities of Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac.
not draw the connection, it was in August 2008 that Russia's conflict
with Georgia about the territories of South Ossetia and Abkhazia
flared up into a war. The U.S. Administration jumped to Georgia's
defense, at least verbally, and according to Paulson, Russia try to
lure China into a "dump the GSEs" campaign. As it turned
out, Russia did sell its over $60 billion stake in the two mortgage
asked a senior Russian representative to the UN about Paulson's story
on February 2, as the Security Council met about its program of work
for February. "I don't think so," the diplomat said.
Paulson tell the story? "We are getting closer with the U.S.,"
the diplomat said. "People get jealous." He went on, "We
don't have a good relationship with China right now. The U.S. does
not have a good relationship with China." He shrugged. "People
don't want Russia and the U.S. to get along."
his story in "On the Brink: Inside the Race to Stop the Collapse of the
Global Financial System" to the Chinese, bragging perhaps that they
along with Russia's urging. So, in this view, was China trying to
drive a further wedge between Russia and the U.S.?
Paulson, China: Russia's "dump Fannie Mae" strategy
the time of the
South Ossetia and Abkhazia conflict, through which Russia recognized
both territories as countries independent from Georgia, China
expressed unease. What if Tibet or Taiwan, or even Uighur Xinjiang
Autonomous Region, were similar recognized by another state?
officials did in fact pass dirt about Russia along to the U.S.
Treasury Secretary, perhaps the disagreement about recognizing
breakaway separatist states explains it. It's something that should
be expected to be covered more in the media, as Paulson hawks his
book. It is may arise further at the UN -- watch this site.