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Even on Rio+20, Ban Doesn't Answer, How Tree in OPT NGO Accredited?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNdislosed Location, June 6 -- In order to manage Ban Ki-moon's communications challenges, his spokespeople said in advance that today's Q&A session would be about Rio + 20.

  It seems inevitable that Syria will come up, and he'll have some remarks ready. But one purpose of such control is to avoid having to answer, for example, why Ban continues to have alleged war criminal Sri Lanka general Shavendra Silva as a Senior Adviser on Peacekeeping.

That said, even on Rio + 20 there are questions that have been put to Ban's spokespeople and still not answered, that should be re-asked particularly by those not so under fire, flames fanned by the UN, and (relatedly) those called on by Ban's spokesperson Martin Nesirky to ask Ban questions.

On May 24, Inner City Press asked about something it exclusively reported on May 21:

Inner City Press: in the General Assembly, there was a meeting that resulted in a vote for some 53 to 33, and it involved the accrediting by the Secretariat, as it was described, to Rio+20 of NGOs [non-governmental organizations], and specifically two NGOs which the people that are trying to block them said were never accepted into ECOSOC [Economic and Social Council], of the NGO Committee. One is called the Jewish National Fund, and in the GA [General Assembly], it was said that they do business in occupied territories, it’s been said that that’s why they weren’t made part of ECOSOC, and so, a lot of questions arose, and my question is, what is the Secretariat’s role in accrediting NGOs to go to Rio+20? The G-77 said since this vote was called, one shouldn’t expect consensus on Rio, which is a pretty bold big statement. Is the Secretary-General even aware of this dispute that seems to put this very important conference into some question?

Spokesperson Nesirky: The role of NGOs and civil society is certainly very important, both in the run-up to the Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development and at the Conference itself. Their input is vital, as it always is. I don’t have any specific comment on the voting that you have referred to; that would be a matter for Member States. On the question you have asked that underlays that, if you like, the question of registration of NGOs, I would need to check. I don’t have the answer to that.

Inner City Press: It’s just because it was said, and I don’t if they are right or not, but it was said that a list wasn’t circulated, this is why there was a very ill-attended meeting and a hastily called vote, but so, really, it is a question I’d like… I mean, it would be great to know what the Secretary-General thinks of this group, given the controversy around it. I think he has planted a tree with them, but it would also just be important to know in the Secretariat itself how this list is created and whether Member States were informed in advance of this list.

Spokesperson Nesirky: As I said, the vote itself is a matter for Member States. The registration procedure I would need to ask about, I don’t know the answer to that. Lou, do you have a question?

Correspondent: No.

Spokesperson Nesirky: Your presence normally would indicate you had a question.

But the question about Ban's role in the process has NOT been answered. Will it be asked? Watch this site.

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Click here for Sept 23, '11 about UN General Assembly

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These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

Click here for Sept 26, 2011 New Yorker on Inner City Press at UN

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