In UNIFEM Spin, Alberdi Speaks Only to
Spanish Media, India Calls Sen More Qualified, UNDP Silent
Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at
the UN: News Analysis
April 10 -- What
carries more weight, in today's United Nations, $700 million or one
people? The doling out
of the top UNIFEM post this week to Ines Alberdi of
Spain, which recently gave $700 million to the UN Development
Program, over the
official candidate of more-populous India, Gita Sen, implies that money
rules the UN.
Thursday Inner City Press asked India's Ambassador to the UN,
Nirupan Sen, what he thought of the selection. While remaining
said that the (unrelated) Gita Sen "was the more qualified candidates."
Since UNDP made a point, 18 minutes after its selection of Alberdi over
issuing a press release granting the top spot for Asia in UNDP to
Indian, Ajay Chhibber, Inner City Press asked Ambassador Nirupam Sen if
that made things right, and if the two appointments were connected.
"I don't think so," Amb. Sen said. Chhibber was
"part of the system... he's not a person in India, coming to work for
UN," he said, noting the Chhibber already worked in the international
system. " I don't think you can
equate the two," Amb. Sen concluded.
UNDP, of course, hasn't answered any of these
charges, and Administrator
Kemal Dervis has been nowhere to be seen.
Gita Sen, India's candidate, passed over for
Ines Alberdi and Spain's $700 million?
Meanwhile, to try to quell the controversy, Ms.
Alberdi held a press conference
on Thursday at the Spanish mission -- but only for the Spanish press.
Alberdi was asked if she thought that Spain's grants, of $700 million
and over $11million to UNIFEM, played a role in her selection; she
replied that she couldn't deny there might be some connection. She also
that President Zapatero's policies on women were be recognized via her
analysis: but why then limit Ms.
Alberdi's press availability to media from her own nation, which
the transactions with the UN? In Spain, it may be popular to said, we
back, for the money we are giving. But non-Spanish media would ask the
inconvenient question, did you buy the post, and how does Spain and
feel about in some view stealing a post from a developing country?
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