Belated Disclosure Policy Undercut By Harassment, Diamond Smuggling and Conflict
Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis
UNITED NATIONS, May
15 -- A year late and not yet fully formed, the UN Development Program on
Tuesday afternoon sent out a policy on financial disclosure, under which senior
UNDP official will at some still-undefined date file some forms in some
still-undefined place, to be reviewed by parties unknown.
policy, e-mailed out by (or from the account of) Administrator Kemal Dervis to
all staff, and from there to Inner City Press, is reproduced below. Unlike the
policy in place for more than a year within the UN Secretariat, UNDP's belated
version does not provide for review by any outside accounting firm. It fails to
address the specifics of UNDP -- for example, it appears that some UNDP country
directors, those at the P-5 level, would not be required to file disclosures.
14, Inner City Press formally inquired, as yet without response, about one such
country director, based on UNDP staff complaints, asking if he
has been accused of sexual or other
harassment during his posting in [country redacted for now]; if the
alleged victim is now being considered for promotion; whether [he] has a Joint
Appeals Board case against him from any previous posting... and if so, where and
whether it concerns sexual or other harassment.
With regard to the upcoming Executive
Board meetings, please explain why on results-based budgeting, only an "oral
decision" is being sought from the Board.
Also, please confirm or deny that UNDP
is considering moving its Center in Bratislava to Istanbul and if so, describe
any and all involvement by Kemal Dervis in such planning.
Inner City Press' questions from eight
days ago [including about
remain entirely unresponded to.
At UNDP's last press conference in Room
S-226, it was requested that UNDP come at least weekly. What is the response?
And when Mr. Dervis came to S-226, he said he would return regularly. It is now
May. When will Mr. Dervis hold a press conference? And what of the press
availabilities at UNDP concerning One-UN? And of the One-UN opening in Albania?
as arose at the UN's noon briefing on
Friday, please describe any
UNDP's role in
diamond industry and diamond smuggling in
Zimbabwe, and please confirm,
yes or no, has the UN (through a UNDP-funded entity called AMSCO or any other
entity), provided any financial or in-kind support to the "River Ranch Limited"
diamond mine in Zimbabwe, one of whose directors one of whose directors is on a
Please explain and/or comment on the
statement that the DPRK "Informed UNDP that while the audit exercise could be
held in DPRK for other UN agencies, UNDP could not expect Government to agree to
an audit of UNDP programs" -- does UNDP still not expect the DPRK Government to
"agree" to an audit of UNDP programs? How could a legitimate audit be completed
without such agreement? What did the DRPK tell UNDP on March 26?
This last question, Inner City Press
subsequently asked the Spokesperson for the Secretary General at Tuesday's UN
noon briefing. From the
Inner City Press: Also, youíve got this
document where UNDPís Bureau for Asia and the Pacific states that the North
Korean Government told them on 26 March that UNDP could not expect the
Government to agree to an audit of UNDP programs. This is a letter the UNDP
circulated to its own Executive Board. How does this relate to the idea that if
they wanted to go they could go? This seems to make pretty clear that UNDP was
told by the Government that they wouldn't "agree to" an audit.
Spokesperson: This should be addressed to
Inner City Press: I have a question
pending there for eight days. Thatís why Iím asking you.
still no response, including on Inner City Press' question from May 11 about
UN Secretariat's second-highest legal
officer's reported letter confirming an investigation into UNDP
In the light of such
stonewalling, these late-announced, still detail-less financial disclosure
policies seem like a fig leaf, or a band aid. That said, because a UNDP staffer
sent them to us and there are not, for whatever reason, on UNDP's web site, here
they are, followed by portions of one sample staffer's comments:
From: Kemal Dervis
Sent: Tuesday, May 15, 2007 5:15 PM
To: UNDP Global Staff
Subject: Policy on Financial Disclosure, Declaration of Interest,
and Impartiality Statements (FDP)
15 May 2007
I would like to announce that UNDP will be
implementing the policy on Financial Disclosure and Declaration of Interest (FDP)
that was mandated by the Secretary- General in his bulletin of April 2006.
The General Assembly approved an amendment to Staff Regulation 1.2(n) through
resolution 60/238 of 23 December 2005. By this amendment, the obligation of
filing a financial disclosure statement is extended to all
staff at the D-1/L6 level and above and "other staff as deemed necessary in the
interest of the Organization". This General Assembly resolution also expands the
scope of the financial disclosure requirement to include the spouses and
dependent children of the above-mentioned categories of staff.
In response to this resolution, the Secretary-General issued a Bulletin ST/SGB/2006/6)
on Financial Disclosure and Declaration of Interest statements, which became
effective 1 May 2006. This bulletin requires UN staff who are at the in D1/L6
and above levels, and also those who are engaged in procurement or investment
functions, to file financial disclosure statements or declare their interests in
outside activities. It has been decided that UNDP will implement this policy by
requiring that categories of staff as listed below file financial disclosure
a. All staff at the D1/L6 level and
b. All staff who are procurement officers,
or whose principal occupational duties are the procurement of goods and services
for UNDP with Buyer and Approver roles in ATLAS in UNDP;
c. All staff whose principal occupational duties relate to the investment of
assets of UNDP, or any other investment accounts for which UNDP has fiduciary or
d. Other staff members whose direct access to confidential procurement or
investment information warrants the filing of a financial disclosure statement;
e. The Chairperson and the alternate Chairperson of either the
Advisory Committee on Procurement at headquarters, and the Chairperson and
the alternate Chairperson of the Contracts, Assets, and Procurement
Committee (CAP) in country and regional offices.
Staff who meet any of the criteria listed above and work on $1 per
year appointments or serve on appointments of short duration, have
the obligation to file a declaration of interest statement instead of a
financial disclosure statement.
As part of the UNDP Policy on Financial Disclosure, Declaration of Interest, and
Impartiality Statements, staff who are voting members of any advisory committee
on procurement will be asked to file a declaration of impartiality statement.
I have asked Ms. Akiko Yuge, Assistant Administrator and Director of the Bureau
of Management, to lead the implementation of this policy. She will communicate
directly with all of you and provide instructions on how staff should comply
with the financial disclosure policy.
from a portion of one sample UNDP staff member's response:
The letter of Kemal Dervis, while it comes
with one-year delay from the day it was approved across the street (UN
Secretariat), still stops short on identifying the following:
- This to-be Policy Paper should ensure
and mention all levels of higher up management, starting with Kemal Dervis and
Ad Melkert, and down with ASG, Regional Directors and Thematic Directors at HQ,
Resident Coordinators and Resident Representatives, Country Directors, as well
as all those that fall under the categories of Head of Procurement, Head of
Human Resources and Head of Finances, with Approval authorities;
- This to-be Policy Paper fail to
introduce and clarify the process of disclosure and whom within the organization
will be the leading as well as the recipient of such disclosures and decide on
whether staff has/have potential conflict of interests. In the absence of an
Ethics Officer (missing since the arrival of Ad Melkert - maybe he considers
himself as one), as well as an ad-hoc external contractor like Deloitte or
another who could be entrusted to check and vouch on these disclosures, the
process remains unclear as well as chaotic. Who should start and lead by example
should be Kemal Dervis and Ad Melkert followed by Akiko Yuge, Bruce Jenks and
the Shah family (director of finance Darshak Shah and his wife Aruna
Thanabalasingam of the Office of Human Resources) who together own both the
money and the gate to enter into UNDP.
- This to-be Policy Paper is very general
and fails to provide clear instructions as well as consequences of failure from
staff to do so...
Again, because a number of Inner City Press'
sources go out of their way to express commitment to serving the poor, and while
it should be unnecessary, Inner City Press is compelled to conclude this
installment in a necessarily-ongoing series by saluting the stated goals of the
UN agencies and many of their staff. Keep those cards, letters and emails coming, and phone
calls too, we apologize for any phone tag, but please continue trying, and keep
the information flowing.
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(and weekends): 718-716-3540