UN's Larsen Refuses Ban-Requested Financial Disclosure As
Conflict Questions Raised on "Peace" Event and Lebanon
Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of
Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis
November 12 -- UN representative Terje
Roed-Larsen has declined to follow Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's
envoys like him provide at least some public financial disclosure,
possible conflicts of interest can be identified. As a controversial
"Culture of Peace" event takes place at the UN, Inner City Press
asked Larsen's other employer, the non-profit International Peace
about its funding and how much Larsen has
been paid. IPI has refused to answer
either question, and has referred Inner City Press back to the UN for
questions about Larsen's "pro bono" work for the UN.
question is whether the funding of IPI, of which Larsen is president,
create the impression of conflict of interest not only in Larsen's
activity in Lebanon, but
also in the organization of the UN's November 13-14
"Culture of Peace" event.
Describing Larsen's role, UN Deputy Spokesperson
Marie Okabe told Inner
City Press on Wednesday that
behalf of the
Secretary-General, Special Envoy Terje Roed-Larsen met in Riyadh on
November with King Abdullah Bin AbdulAzziz Al-Saoud, Custodian of the
Mosques, and a series of other senior government officials. The trip
as part of the Secretary-General's preparations for the high level
the General Assembly on 12th - 13th Nov on the interfaith initiative of
King of Saudi Arabia."
Larsen , it
should be noted, is a UN Special Envoy for Lebanon, not religion. In
response to Inner City Press' question of why Larsen is not even
on the Secretary General's web site of senior officials and their
financial disclosure, Ban's Spokesperson's office told Inner City
"Mr. Roed-Larsen has already
sent in writing his form to the Ethics Office to say that he does not
disclose. In the meantime, he has submitted all the relevant documents
to his financial disclosure to the Ethics Office. Mr. Roed-Larsen is on
dollar a year contract."
Press has asked IPI's spokesperson for "information about IPI's
government funding," and about
"Mr. Larsen's compensation from IPI."
Roed-Larsen at the UN, financial disclosure
Inner City Press has
asked, "for Mr. Larsen and/or IPI, please comment on whether there
are or should be any concern about funding Mr. Larsen may receive
through his position with the International Peace Institute, and the
conflict or appearance of conflict of interest that it may
Larsen's Special Assistant Pim Valdre, stated in full that
"Mr. Russel Lee [sic]:
for your message. 1. All questions related to Mr. Larsen’s pro-bono
the UN have to be directed to the UN. 2. Mr. Larsen does not receive
compensation from the Government of Saudi Arabia, nor any other
individuals, or institutions except the International Peace Institute
information about IPI and IPI's donors, please visit IPI's website on
But the web
site does not provide any quantitative information, much less comment.
Rather, it says among
other things that
"IPI is an independent
research and policy institute which is registered as a 501(c)3
organization. However, we do work in close collaboration with the UN
Secretariat, agencies, programmes and funds, as well as with UN Member
is funded by generous donations from governments, philanthropic
and individuals. Roughly 70% of our annual funds are from government
and 22% of our funds are from philanthropic foundations. The remaining
come from corporate sponsors, individuals, and our board members."
Inner City Press
has made one last attempt,
cc-ed to the UN's Ms. Okabe
wrote to IPI because I
could not find on its web site information about funding [any numbers].
Please directly me to where on your web site this
requested information is. Does your response mean that the question of
Mr. Larsen is compensated by IPI will not be answered? Particularly
describe Mr. Larsen's work as SRSG as 'pro bono,' please
state whether he receives Daily Sustenance
Allowance from the UN, if so how much in 2006, 2007 and 2008 to date,
and if he
has received any benefits or services from any other non-IPI source
time frame, particularly in Lebanon. While I am as you suggest cc-ing
the UN (Ms. Okabe at the Office of the Spokesperson), I believe Mr.
as his assistant and IPI should be answering these questions."
should be noted
that Ban Ki-moon has loudly asked his senior officials and envoys to
financial disclosures. As questions about Roed-Larsen's roles continue
mount, the seriousness and substance of Ban's stated goal of
themselves in question. We'll see.
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