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As UN Global Communicator Smale Says Will Hire Consultants, UN Won't Explain, Video

By Matthew Russell Lee, Video

UNITED NATIONS, October 14 – UN departments hold periodic “Town Hall” meetings with staff and some are worse that others. Several attendees of the UN Department of Public Information town hall meeting on October 3 chaired by Alison Smale after a month atop DPI have marveled to Inner City Press at what was said by Smale. That staff complain to Inner City Press that Smale and Guterres may bring in outside consultants is understandable; perhaps these overpriced consultants will highlight waste within DPI. On October 12, Inner City Press reported, based on multiple sourcing, Smale's consultant talk.

On October 13, Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric, who said he was "not aware" about the consultants, did not directly respond to the request that he find out, and provided no information in the following 24 hours. Now Inner City Press publishes some of the video on the consultants, here...

...And this from a recent UN Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions report about UN consultants, A/72/7, page 32: "The Advisory Committee recalls that the General Assembly, in its resolution 65/247, expressed concern over the increase in the use of consultants.. the Advisory Committee identified cases in which the intended scope of the proposed consultancy, the recourse to external rather than in-house expertise, the proposed length of the engagement and the categorization of expertise/level of remuneration could be called into question... the Committee intends to request the Board of Auditors to conduct a performance audit with respect to the use of consultants across the Secretariat and to report thereon in the context of volume I of its annual report on the financial statements of the United Nations."

So on what basis is Smale saying she'll hire consultants, while failing to address or even respond on the censorship and retaliation by the Department of Public Information she is in charge of?  As noted, contempt for Africa, and false promises of openness, were the themes of the complaints. Smale began by invoking the Prague spring, and described CNN as a high level of media to which the UN should aspire. She mispronounced the capital city of the Central African Republic, while saying that presenting Guterres' upcoming trip there as entirely positive will be her litmus test for the Department's performance. So, a staffer asked rhetorically, we have to lie that the UN is serving Central Africans well or be reviewed by some European consultants. Inner City Press would say, CAR needs help, but honesty and self-improvement by the UN, responsiveness, would serve it better. Outside the UN, from Cameroon many have noted Smale's focus on Germany and Catalonia, more on this to follow. Smale invoked not SWAT but “SWOT,” insisting that the UN should push itself forward for credit for example at the recent Global Citizen concert in Central Park. She alluded to a move toward “flexible space” on the 10th floor of the UN, DPI's offices, where she is expected to keep her private office, like the no-show Egyptian state media to which DPI is trying to award Inner City Press' long time shared work space on the third floor: full disclosure. We'll have more on this.


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