Ban "Divides and Rules" G-77, Pachauri's Bank Links
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, December 21 -- While most observers and even participants
describe the Copenhagen global warming talks as a disappointment, UN
Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Monday told the Press that they
"sealed the deal" and were a success.
asked Mr. Ban about the scandal erupting around the undisclosed
business interests of the chairman of the UN's Intergovernmental
Panel on Climate Change Rajendra Pachauri, from the Tata Group
through Deutsche Bank to Credit Suisse, and about the criticism by
the chairman of the Group of 77 and its now 130 member states.
dodged the first question, paradoxically using it as an opportunity
to praise business. On the second, he asserted that the chairman of
the Group of 77 was not, in fact, speaking for the Group, since
others' of its members spoke more positively.
Inner City Press asked Sudan's Ambassador to the UN about Mr. Ban's
comments. "Divide and rule," he answered, calling the
Copenhagen process "climate apartheid." This phrase steps
back from his counterpart in Copenhagen who analogized it to the
conflicts of interest are extensive and emblematic of the UN's lack
of transparency and safeguards.
UN's Ban and Pachauri, financial disclosure not shown
in the Telegraph
2008 he was made an adviser on renewable and sustainable energy to
the Credit Suisse bank and the Rockefeller Foundation. He joined the
board of the Nordic Glitnir Bank... This year Dr Pachauri joined the
New York investment fund Pegasus as a ‘strategic adviser’... He
is on the climate change advisory board of Deutsche Bank... One
subject the talkative Dr Pachauri remains silent on, however, is how
much money he is paid for all these important posts, which must run
into millions of dollars.
the non-responsive answer Monday morning, does Mr. Ban believe that
Pachauri should make public financial disclosure of these interests?
Watch this site.
* * *
Silent on Climate Change Proposal to Use Its Gold and SDR Interest
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, December 18 -- While world media reports that the
International Monetary Fund might play a role in climate change
adaptation funding, as proposed by among others George Soros, IMF
spokesperson Caroline Atkinson told the Press on Thursday that how
SDRs (special drawing rights) are used is "up to individual
countries." Video here.
But the proposal involves the IMF using the gold it holds, already
ostensibly directed to less developed countries, for the purpose of
adaptation. So shouldn't the IMF have a response?
in the IMF's coffers are $150 billion for just 15 countries. But the
IMF apparently doesn't have the funding or staff or commitment to
prepare a transcript of its mere biweekly press briefing the same day
it is held.
of the proposal.
Bella Center, venue of climate change talks, IMF not shown
countries' governments are laboring under the misapprehension that
funding has to come from their national budgets but that is not the
case. They have it already. It is lying idle in their reserves
accounts and in the vaults of the International Monetary Fund (IMF),
available without adding to the national deficits of any one country.
All they need to do is to tap into it.
September 2009, the IMF distributed to its members $283 billion worth
of SDRs, or Special Drawing Rights. SDRs are an arcane financial
instrument but essentially they constitute additional foreign
exchange. They can be used only by converting them into one of four
currencies, at which point they begin to carry interest at the
combined treasury bill rate of those currencies. At present the
interest rate is less than one half of one percent. Of the $283
billion, more than $150 billion went to the 15 largest developed
economies. These SDRs will sit largely untouched in the reserve
accounts of these countries, which don't really need any additional
reserves... The United Kingdom and France each recently lent $2
billion worth of SDRs to a special fund at the IMF to support
concessionary lending to the poorest countries. At that point the
IMF assumed responsibility for the principal and interest on the
SDRs. The same could be done in this case.
owns a lot
of gold, more than a hundred million ounces, and it is on the books
at historical cost. At current market prices it is worth more than
$100 billion over its book value. It has already been designated to
be used for the benefit of the least developed countries. The
proposed green fund would meet this requirement...it could make the
difference between success and failure in Copenhagen.
IMF have had something to say about the proposals? Watch this site.
* * *
Studies Congo Deals by India and China, Quid Pro Quo by Canada at Paris
Mining, UN's Kivu Spin
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, December 11 -- The Congo battles for and is embattled by its
natural resources, the International Monetary Fund made plain on
Friday, perhaps inadvertently. During a press conference call
explaining the IMF's
$550 million facility to the Democratic Republic
of the Congo, the IMF's Brian Ames put the DRC's external debt at
asked about new debts to China and prospectively India, about
conflict and mining in the East, and Canada's use in the Paris Club
of debt relief to strong-arm for two of its mining firm.
to Kinshasa to negotiate about what he called the "China deal,"
described how with IMF pressure the deal decreased in size from $9
billion to $6.2 billion, with "only" $3 billion guaranteed
by the Congolese government.
guarantee, he emphasized, could only become due in 25 years. Still,
the IMF urged the restructuring of the China deal. Inner City Press
asked about a newly reported loan proposal by India to the Congo, for
said that was
just an announcement, when Congolese officials were in India. To
Inner City Press, a connection with the Congo's loud demand that
Indian peacekeepers leave the UN Mission in the Congo, MONUC, is
inescapable. India is paid by the UN and makes money on these
peacekeepers. How does this sum relate to whatever concessional rates
India will offer to the Congo?
asked what the IMF thinks of Canada's delay of a Paris Club vote on
debt relief to the Congo based on contracts canceled to Canadian
mining firms. Ames agreed that this had happened, saying it was
really about 1st Quantum. But what about Toronto-based Lundin Mining,
whose 24% stake in the Tenke Fungurume mine and its $1.8 billion
contract are being "re-negotiated"?
that Canada had, after a week's delay in November, agreed on a
conference call to go forward with debt relief, Inner City Press him
if 1st Quantum's contract was restored. No, he answered, but the
Congolese government, which already won a round of litigation in its
own courts, has agreed to international arbitration.
Congo's Kabila and China's Hu Jintao,
Indian UN peacekeepers and IMF and Canadian pressure not shown
whom Ames instructed to "earn his paycheck," added the 1st
Quantum has other mines in the Congo, that the dispute involves only
one mine. Yes, but that is the $553 million Kolwezi copper and
asked if the IMF has concerns, similar to those evidence on the China
deal, about the prospects of an Indian infrastructure loan. It is
just a proposal, Ames said, adding that it would be for two hydro
electric projects and one water project. Actually, the third would be
$50 million towards the rehabilitation of the rail system in
Press asked about reports, including by the UN's Group of Experts, of
illegal mining in the Kivus, Ames said that since this revenue stream
has yet to go to the government, its diversion does not have an
impact and is not considered. Actually, the UN Group's report shows
that units of the Congolese army are involved in the illegal mining.
asked the UN about reports its own Office of Legal Affairs advised
MONUC not to work with units of the Congolese army involved in these
and other crimes. The response:
your question on the DRC
unspokesperson-donotreply [at] un.org
Inner City Press
12/10/2009 1:33:20 P.M. Eastern Standard Time
The tasks carried out by MONUC are determined by the Security
Council. The mission has a mandate to provide support to the
Congolese Armed Forces (FARDC) in disarming illegal armed groups
while protecting the civilian population. MONUC continues to give the
highest priority to protection of civilians.
In furtherance of this mandate, MONUC and DPKO requested advice from
the Office of Legal Affairs regarding the conditions governing their
collaboration with the FARDC. In full transparency, the Secretariat
and the Mission advised the Security Council of the risks involved
and potential consequences of cooperating with the FARDC. The
Security Council has repeatedly expressed their unanimous support for
MONUC and for the joint operations with the FARDC against the FDLR,
with full respect for International Humanitarian, Human Rights and
After extensive consultations between the Secretariat the Mission and
OLA, a policy was developed, setting out the conditions under which
the Mission would support FARDC. This policy was transmitted to the
DRC Government in November. It specifies that all MONUC participation
in FARDC operations must be jointly planned and must respect
international humanitarian law, human rights and refugee law. The
policy also includes measures designed to improve FARDC performance
as well as to prevent and sanctioning violations. This
'conditionality' provision is why the Mission suspended support to a
specific FARDC unit believed to have been involved in the targeted
killing of civilians in the Lukweti area of North Kivu.
that the IMF is ostensibly part of the UN system. We will continue to
follow this -- watch this site.
* * *
Murky on Angola's Oil, Bond and China Deals, Doles Out $1.4 Billion
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, November 25 -- Days after announcing a $1.4 billion
arrangement with Angola, the International Monetary Fund held a press
conference call to offer explanations. At the end, things were
murkier than before. Inner City Press asked if the IMF had been able
to fully assess the income and distribution of revenue from the state
owned oil company Sonangol.
Leigh, who led the Fund's missions to Angola in August and September,
replied that "in the context of our negotiations, Sonangol
participated fairly well." Inner City Press asked, since
Sonangol has accounts in off shore financial centers and tax havens,
if the IMF had gotten to the bottom of these accounts.
pause, Lamine Leigh proffered another answer, that the government has
"committed to steps in the more general area of resource revenue
transparency." But what about the Sonangol accounts?
Oil in Angola, Sonangol's accounts not shown
asked about the statement
by IMF Deputy Managing Director and Acting
Chair Takatoshi Kato that in Angola "measures will be taken to
strengthen further the regulatory and supervisory framework."
The IMF's Senior Advisor on Africa Sean Nolan replied that the IMF
analyzed the effect of the exchange rate on borrowers and "on
government has gotten billions in pre-export oil loans from, for
example, BNP Paribas, Standard Chartered and Deutsche Bank. The
latter has made similar loans in Turkmenistan, assailed by
transparency and human rights advocates. How much of the IMF's new
arrangement benefits these banks?
questioner after Inner City Press, cutting off follow up, was from
Standard Bank. Other than Inner City Press, the only other media
questioner was from Reuters.
ended, Inner City Press was able to ask about Angola's reported $4
billion bond sale planned for December. Sean Nolan said that the
IMF's "understanding" with Angola does involve a
"fundraising effort," but that the timing was not agreed
to, the IMF does not "micromanage" to that extent. Nolan added
that there is an agreement on an "overall limit."
billion dollars?" Inner City Press asked.
the precise limit will be "clear in the documents," which
have yet to be released. Why play hide the ball?
praised the country for "appointing reputable financial and legal
advisers for the transaction" -- JPMorgan Chase will be the manager.
that the actual size of the bond sale will depend on how much
"concessionary lending" Angola gets from "countries
with a strong record of financial support to Angola."
asked if the size of China's loans to Angola -- China gets 16% of its
foreign oil from Angola -- were known by the IMF or considered.
figured in our discussions," the IMF's Nolan responded. Why not? Watch
* * *
Report Buries Its Icesave Conditionality, Enforcer's Duplicity?
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, November 3 -- While the IMF has acknowledged that its second
round of disbursements to crisis-hit Iceland was delayed for months
by the country's failure to placate those in the Netherlands and UK
who did business with IceSave, the IMF's just released report on
Iceland buries the issue on page 30 of the 98 page report. The IMF
terms and conditions of Nordic loans, amounting to $2.5 billion, have
been finalized. Their disbursement has been linked to resolution of
the Icesave dispute with the U.K. and Netherlands over deposit
insurance liabilities. After protracted discussions, the three
governments have reached an agreement on this"
agreement was reached, on October 18, the IMF then went forward with
a letter of intent and memorandum of understanding for the second
tranche of financing. But, as with the IMF's moves in Latvia for
Swedish banks, some see the Fund operating as an enforcement or
collections agent for creditors who even less would like to show
Iceland / Icesave protest, but is the heartfelt sign true?
the IMF does
not like to admit or reveal its degree of control over the countries
it lends to, the de facto conditions for loans, such as paying off on
IceSave, are often not explicit in what purport to be full agreements
containing all express and implied terms.
fact, the IMF
has claimed that it "no longer" engages in conditionality.
But the Iceland report has an entire chart about conditionalities.
It's just that the most important one was left unsaid. Is this
diplomacy or duplicity?
report continues, about other loan requests including from Russia:
loan from the Faroe Islands ($50 million) has already disbursed, and
a loan from Poland has been agreed ($200 million), and will disburse
alongside the next 3 program reviews. A $500 million loan originally
committed by Russia is no longer expected, but the $250 million in
over-financing in the original program, an expected
macro-stabilization loan from the EU ($150 million), and use of an
existing repo facility with the BIS ($700 million, of which $214
million is outstanding) will more than offset this."
Offset may be the right
word. Last year, in the midst of Iceland's abortive run for a seat on
the UN Security Council, the country announced it had to seek a $4
billion loan from Russia. It was after that that the IMF loan
commitment was made -- an "offset," some saw it -- and
after talks in Istanbul, on October 15 the already whittled down loan
request to Russia was formally rejected.
Then the deal
with the UK
and Netherlands, and the IMF's releasing. While the IMF calls these
types of moves only technical, others call them power politics. Watch
* * *
Plays Ukraine, Zim and Pakistan As "Technical" Questions,
Pushes Tax Hikes in Serbia
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, October 22 -- Are the International Monetary Fund's
negotiations with countries about the level of taxes and salaries for
public sector employees, the pricing of electricity and the
privatization of social services political, or merely "economic
and technical"? The questions arose Thursday in connection with
Ukraine, Zimbabwe and Pakistan, among others, in the IMF's first
press briefing since its annual meeting in Turkey.
Caroline Atkinson fielded questions for half an hour, leaving
unanswered one submitted by Inner City Press about Serbia, where the IMF's
Paul Thompson has been quoted that "if the Serbian
delegation has a concrete pan for decreasing expenses, we will
support it, if not, they
will have to agree with us and think about
increasing taxes." Left unanswered: how is raising taxes merely
respond to Inner City Press' questions about Ukraine, Zimbabwe and
Pakistan. While a full transcript is available online here,
and video here,
in sum the Q & A went as follows:
City Press asked, In Ukraine, the opposition party is critical of the
IMF as funding the campaign of Tymoshenko. What is the IMF's response
to the opposition's criticism? Ms. Atkinson replied that IMF funds go
to the central bank, and that the IMF has a team on the ground in
Kiev for a third review.
not, it seems, saying that money from the IMF is being used by
Tymoshenko for advertisements or to pay poll workers, but rather "MP
and opposition government's finance minister, Mykola Azarov, said
this at a meeting with delegates of an IMF mission, 'We must say that
the program of cooperation with the IMF has turned out to be
ineffective, and nothing is left but to consider the IMF's
as politically motivated, as funding of one of the candidates running
for the presidency.'"
reporter asked a follow up question about Ukraine, wondering if with
the IMF mission on the ground, the upcoming election "is an
issue," Ms. Atkinson said the IMF does not comment while a
mission is in the field, negotiating a program, but that information
-- and one hopes some questions and answers -- will be provided once
the mission is completed
IMF points the way, in budgets... and politics?
City Press asked, "NGOs are critical of the IMF for, they say,
pushing Zimbabwe to privatize its social services system. Has the IMF
pushed for that, and how does it respond to the criticism?" Ms.
Aktinson, while saying she can get back to Inner City Press with more
information, argued that the IMF does not favor or disfavor
particular privatizations, but must be pushing to strengthen the
social service sector to help the poor.
ahead of civil society's consultative meeting with an IMF team under
Article IV of the Fund's Articles of Agreement, NANGO said
are opposed to some IMF polices such as privatization of basic social
services. We know it from the past that some IMF policies have worked
against people in this country. They have affected the social
services sector and their polices are anti-people and negative'...
[NANGO] said some of the IMF instigated polices which had brought
suffering to the people were the Economic Structural Adjustment
Programme (ESAP) and Zimbabwe Programme for Economic and Social
Transformation (ZIMPREST)." It's a pretty specific critique,
and we'll publish the IMF's response upon receipt.
Inner City Press' questions and article from August 2009, it asked
"in Pakistan, the IMF in August extended for a year the
country's time to eliminate electricity subsidies. Now, while the
says 2 price increases will be implemented, others say this is not
possible politically. What is the IMF's thinking on consumer power
pricing in Pakistan?"
replied that "as I believe you know, the issue of issue of
electric subsidy is typically done by the World Bank and Asian
Development Bank," that IMF gets involved due to the budget."we
will be having another review of the Pakistan program in early
November." We'll be there....
* * *
Food Speculation, UN's Expert Says Nothing's Being Done, S. Korean Land
Grabs from Madagascar to Sudan, Brazil on Ethanol
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, October 21 -- After many speeches at the UN about the need
to crack down on financial speculation in food, nothing has been
done, the UN's expert on the right to food told Inner City Press on
Olivier de Schutter, a Belgian law professor just back
from a visit to Brazil about, among other things, the loss of land
for food to ethanol, replied that "nothing is moving at the
inter-governmental level." This despite a statement by the G-20
in April favoring the regulation of hedge funds which present
systemic risk. The argument is that commodities index funds which
speculate in food present systemic risk to net food importing
countries. But nothing has been done.
about the monopolization of the seed industry, and made a slew of
recommendations for governments. The three top monopolizers --
Monsanto, Dupont and the Swiss-based Syngenta -- are all members of
the UN Global Compact, and claim to comply with human rights. De
Schutter pointed out the antitrust law is directed as national and
not global or subnational markets. It is all very heady but one
wonders what effect it has.
one of de Schutter's claims to impact. He spoke glowingly of
President Lula, saying that Brazil has said that only 19% of land can
be used for sugar cane for ethanol, and has committed to monitor
labor rights. But what about, for example, Indonesia and Malaysia?
De Schutter, action on food speculation not shown
Schutter's briefing, Inner City Press asked his staffer for an update
on the proposed land grab in Madagascar by South Korea based Daewoo,
which was reputed after the coup in that country. De Schutter had
been scheduled to visit, but it was put off by the coup. The same
thing happened in Honduras. So perhaps De Schutter does have an
effect after all, mused one wag.
immediately after De Schutter's briefing, the UN's Haile Menkerios
was scheduled to speak to the Press about Madagascar. While the UN
usually compartmentalizes its work such that a rapporteur looks at
land grabs, while the Secretariat remains on "political affairs"
narrowly defined, this land grab played a role in the change of
government. Now it's said the South Korean deal is being pursued from
India, while South Korea appears to have moved on to 690,000 hectares
in Sudan. Watch this site.
for an Inner City Press YouTube channel video, mostly UN Headquarters
footage, about civilian
in Sri Lanka.
Click here for Inner City
Press' March 27 UN debate
Click here for Inner City
Press March 12 UN (and AIG
Click here for Inner City
Press' Feb 26 UN debate
12 debate on Sri Lanka http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/17772?in=11:33&out=32:56
Click here for Inner City Press' Jan.
16, 2009 debate about Gaza
Click here for Inner City Press'
review-of-2008 UN Top Ten debate
Click here for Inner
City Press' December 24 debate on UN budget, Niger
Click here from Inner City Press'
December 12 debate on UN double standards
Click here for Inner
City Press' November 25 debate on Somalia, politics
and this October 17 debate, on
Security Council and Obama and the UN.
* * *
usually also available through Google
News and on Lexis-Nexis.
for a Reuters
AlertNet piece by this correspondent
about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click
for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali
Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an
undefined trust fund. Video
Office: S-453A, UN, NY 10017
earlier Inner City Press are listed here, and some are available
in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.
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