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On Climate, UN Lobbies Itself, On Migration It Tells the Poor to Go Home

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis

UNITED NATIONS, November 20 -- That women are impacted by climate change, and that global warming talks in Poznan should take notice, are hardly controversial positions. But Thursday at the UN a strange grouping held a briefing on this issue. Ostensibly a "civil society" organization, the "Global Gender and Climate Alliance," said they will try in Poznan "to ensure that climate change funds target women and men equally." 

  Strangely, the founders of this Alliance are UN agencies, the UN Development Program and the UN Environment Fund. Inner City Press asked if this doesn't constitute the UN lobbying itself, the UN taking up the space where independent civil society should be. Video here, "under construction" (at time of press conference) GGCA web site here.

  The briefers recoiled at the suggestion, calling the Alliance a "coalition of the passionate" and saying that the UN needs to work with civil society. Yes, but implicit in that formulation and in common sense is that the UN and civil society are not the same thing. The UN can't lobby itself, with member states money. Or can it?

UN's Hania Zlotnik, lump sum payments to migrants to leave not shown

  A similar UN conundrum was in display at a briefing on migration earlier on Thursday. The UN's population expert Hania Zlotnik, after commenting on Bulgaria, defended Spain's program of paying legal immigrants money to go home. It grew out of UN forums, she said. Should the UN be advising developed countries on how to send their poor folks home?

  One wag quipped that contrary to the "give me your poor huddling masses" inscribed on the statue of Liberty, Ban Ki-moon's UN was saying to the poor, go home. There's a lump sum unemployment payment, in exchange for a promise not to return, at least for three years. Is this an appropriate UN program? Why should the UN defend it?

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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These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

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