Under Obama, UN's Pascoe May Stay, UNICEF's
Veneman Not, Consultant Hired
Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of
Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis
January 20 -- As Democrat Barack
Obama takes over in Washington, one of the questions at the UN in New
concerns the future of officials nominated for their UN posts by George
Administration. The head of UNICEF,
Republican Ann Veneman, is the subject of much speculation.
Secretary of Agriculture, and a visible Republican before that. Ms.
Veneman has avoided
the press for extended periods of her tenure at UNICEF, not only during
scandal surrounding her giving the
UN's North Lawn for a Madonna fundraising
event that benefited, among others, the Kabbalah Center of Los Angeles,
even during a recent AIDS conference in Mexico.
was nearly silent
while children were killed in China by poisoned milk. She's isolated,
surrounded by American advisers, a well-placed staffer says. He adds
UNICEF staff worldwide are dissatisfied with her leadership, for
India where she sent an
all-male panel to investigate and excuse alleged sexual
abuse by the UNICEF country chief, who has been recycled to the UN
however, Ms. Veneman had reportedly hired a consultant to extol her
and ubiquity, all with an eye to convincing the Obama administration
should remain, including after her term expires.
Ann Veneman at the mic mid-Madonna scandal,
answers still not shown
The argument is that
Obama does not want to be seen as partisan, as taking out all Republic
appointees. On finance, he has brought in Republican Paul Volcker, for
some compare the energetic tenure at the World Food Program of
Josette Sheeran with the less dynamic management of UNICEF by Ann
Sheeran began by being defensive about
her Moonie past, she proceeded to get to
know WFP from top to bottom, as demonstrated at an hour-long press
at which she took all questions. Veneman, a UNICEF source scoffs,
do that. Another added, of Veneman, that "she never took off the
American flag pin and got to know
the UN system."
If someone has to go, these people say,
it's clear who it
should be. Obama is a proponent of effectiveness as well.
balance against Ann Veneman, the sources say, is that incoming U.S.
to the UN Susan Rice served on the board of the US Fund for UNICEF, and
said to not be a fan of Ms. Veneman's performance. Few are. But Rice
part of Obama's cabinet. If she allows Veneman to stay on, the
stated during last week's confirmation hearings to the reform and
of the UN will ring hollow.
City Press last week asked outgoing US Ambassador Zalmay
Khalilzad whether to his knowledge Lynn Pascoe will stay on under
Obama as the
head of the UN's Department of Political Affairs. "I have no reason to
that he won't," Khalilzad said, a
comment his spokespeople later confirmed could be used on the record,
his answers on Somalia and UN Reform.
So Pascoe dodges the bullet, but Veneman
despite her belated media push is in the line of fire? We'll see.
Footnote: At a UN
Development Program reception high
above Manhattan on Martin Luther King night, the talk turned from
whether the US will regain the top job at UNDP, now with Kemal Dervis
the agency on March 1. (Dervis also left the reception he was hosting,
muttering affably about a situation at home.) Now the talk turns
Nordic. In the
crowd, angling and perhaps offering posts, was Jan
Mattsson the Swede.
stock is up, both in contributions and its Ad-Hoc
role in Gaza. But before Mark
Malloch Brown and Dervis, one diplomat pointed out, Americans ran UNDP.
they both name Veneman's replacement and get UNDP? Or might they pull,
National League and pastime baseball parlance, a crafty double-switch?
Click here for Inner City Press'
review-of-2008 UN Top Ten debate
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City Press' December 24 debate on UN budget, Niger
Click here from Inner City Press'
December 12 debate on UN double standards
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City Press' November 25 debate on Somalia, politics
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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