As UN Pleads in Doha, For Money and with Mugabe, Who Will
Out UN's $12 B Pension Loss?
Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of
Inner City Press at the UN: News Muse
November 29 -- As the UN in Doha
urges member states not to decrease contributions, a question being
New York is who might bail the UN system out? A little noticed report
month by the UN's Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary
discloses that the UN Pension Fund
has lost a over $12 billion, or 29.6%, so
far this year. How will this shortfall be made up?
member states are anticipating an appeal for a bail-out from the UN,
compete with their in-country responsibilities. They question the
wisdom of the
UN going forward with its multi-billion dollar renovation plans,
most recently by the lavish ceiling in
Geneva the UN spent $25 million from Spain's
international cooperation budget on. When the UN's Ban Ki-moon says
generous," is he talking about the poor or about the UN itself?
Inner City Press earlier
in the month asked Ban's spokesperson Michele Montas about the
then-reported $4.5 billion in losses at the Pension Fund. Ms. Montas
said there had been no real losses, and called this no more than a
"fluctuation." Is the since-disclosed $12 billion decline just another
Ms. Montas also told Inner
City Press on November 26 that in Zimbabwe the UN has converted aid
funds at rates set by Robert Mugabe's Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and that
while the UN may informally track its losses compared to
non-governmental rates, "that would not be
available to you." In Doha, Ban
met with Mugabe, "secretly" as one report put it, asking for a
political compromise. It's certainly been paid for...
UN's Ban in Doha, $11 B loss, Mugabe meeting
November 24 debate of the UN Pension Fund's losses before the UN's
(Budget) Committee, U.S. Representative Michael Scanlon suggested that
of UN officials who stole from the organization should be frozen or
"attached." He said that legal authority to do this should be
he did not say it, some assumed he was referring to recently
retired Guido Bertucci, who despite being responsible for a range of
irregularities including the discredited Thessaloniki
Center in Greece all left
with his entire pension. Greece's Deputy
Minister, off camera at the Security Council stakeout to talk recently
upcoming migration conference in Greece told Inner City Press that the
corruption at the Thessaloniki Center was for the UN itself to address.
when will it?
the Doha conference, the UN has allocated six seat for Palestine, the
for the World Bank (minus Robert
Zoellick). Some wondered if Tony Blair,
purportedly working for development in Palestine would take up one of
seats. Earlier in the week at UN Headquarters, on a day when both the
Security Council and General Assembly debated Palestine, Fatah's
Minister Riyadh Al-Maliki criticized Hamas but denied his party stoked
the strikes in Gaza
Strip. Most observers see the work stoppage by teachers and hospital
an attempt to cripple Hamas. But Fatah Minister Riyadh Al-Maliki denied
this. Video here.
Permanent Observer Riyad Mansour both noted that the Security Council
agreed on two paragraphs about the scene in Palestine, but that
president Jorge Urbina hadn't read it out load. "Ask him why," they
both said. But Urbina has more pressing business to attend to. Not him
deputy appeared to read a statement about Guinea-Bissau.
previous evening the visiting Fatah Minister was found in the UN's
Lobby, praising an exhibition of photographs by Anne Paq and the Images
Life Program of the Al-Rowwad Center in the Aida Refugee Camp. The
Jahalin bedouins, and the key over the camp, with its "Not For Sale"
sign. Waiters passed out egg rolls complete with guacamole, there was
juice but no liquor. This is serious business.
Click here for Inner City
Press Nov. 7 debate on the war in Congo
Watch this site, and this Oct. 2 debate, on
UN, bailout, MDGs
and this October 17 debate, on
Security Council and Obama and the UN.
* * *
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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
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