UNDP, Top Lawyer Demoted In Favor of One More Eager to Please, Funding Under
Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis
UNITED NATIONS, June
21 -- In continued fallout from the scandals surrounding the UN Development
Program, amid moves in the U.S. Congress to
cut UNDP's funding, Inner City Press can now amplify one part of the purge
reported earlier this week: the
demotion of UNDP's top lawyer, James Provenzano, following the similar demotion
of its head of budgets last week. A copy of the confirmation / spinning e-mail
Thursday on Turtle Bay, Inner City Press asked Japan's Deputy Permanent
Representative Takahiro Shinyo about the new charges against UNDP. "UNDP must
respond to the allegations," Amb. Shinyo replied, adding that the issues are
"not limited to North Korea." At the same time, he said, the United States
should come forward with whatever proof it has.
City Press is informed that at the "technical meeting" help on June 15, the U.S.
named dates and accounts, and told UNDP to review and open up its computer
system. Since then, UNDP has hired an outside computer contractor to review or
spin, among other things, how the agency's data may have been compromised and
Ironically and seemingly obliviously, UNDP's Executive Board meeting continued
in the UN's basement, with ill-attended "informal" meeting on the issue of
audits and transparency. It appears that those items will simply be deferred.
Ad Melkert said, "You ain't seen nothing
yet," apparently he meant it
literally -- we've still seen little to nothing in the way of reform,
other than the scapegoating / bloodletting demotions of the head of budgets and
now of Jim Provenzano, see below.
today's Wall Street Journal Ad Melkert is highlighted, with his two-letter
nickname spelled out in full as Adrianus Petrus Wilhelmus Melkert, along with a
reference to the retaliation which he denied. This article and the sketch are
sure to constitute a moment of pride for Mr. Melkert. That the WSJ does
not even mention UNDP's #1 Kemal Dervis is all the stranger given the paper's
focus on numbers and on corporate governance. Then again, both Amb. Khalilzad
and Mr. Ban have as if by rote offered praise to Dervis, mid-scandal and without
explanation. Apparently in today's UN system, on both sides of First Avenue,
there is a culture of the non-executive CEO, even of puppet-mastery.
the intra-UNDP spin:
Akiko Yuge at
undp.org to All, UNDP 3:20 pm, 21 June 2007
Colleagues, As you are aware, the Office of Legal and Procurement Support (OLPS),
Bureau of Management (BOM), currently covers both the legal support function and
the procurement support function of UNDP. In recent years, there has been a
significant growth in both volume and complexity in these two important areas.
In addition, the procurement function in UNDP is presently undergoing a
strategic re-alignment, especially in connection with the intended partial
merger of IAPSO and UNOPS and integration of some IAPSO functions into UNDP.
Under Jim Provenzano's leadership, OLPS has served UNDP well, but to enable us
to better respond to the increasing challenges and operational needs in these
areas, a corporate decision has been taken to separate OLPS into two separate
units within BOM.
Based on this
corporate decision, Jim Provenzano will continue to lead the procurement support
function, including the strategic re-alignment process mentioned above, as
Officer-in-Charge of the Procurement Support Office; Peri Johnson will lead the
Legal Support Office as its Officer-in-Charge. This arrangement will come into
effect on 1 July 2007 and will continue until further notice. I would like to
request your cooperation during this transition period. With best regards, Akiko
Sources tell Inner City Press that Peri
Johnson distinguished herself as Ad Melkert's main witness in
"retaliation-gate," and on that basis was jumped over Christian Batra, a union
man and Francoise Noke, to be given what used to be Provenzano's legal post.
Melkert, purge not shown
In a stakeout interview earlier this
week, U.S. Deputy Permanent Representative Alejandro Wolff said the U.S. stands
behind Amb. Khalilzad's letter concerning Ad Melkert's statements. And as
referenced above, in Washington on Thursday the House of Representatives
passed an amendment to the State & Foreign Operations Appropriations Act to
block $20 million in U.S. contributions to UNDP, in response to lack of
transparency and stonewalling. The start of a trend?
While many assumed that these UNDP
issues were raised during Ban Ki-moon's fast trip to Washington on Wednesday, UN
head of political affairs
Lynn Pascoe and
Ban's spokesperson on
Thursday said no, and no, and no, and no,
including on reports that UN peacekeepers in Liberia beat up two media members:
Press: On the Secretary-Generalís trip to D.C. Can you say, did topics other
than peacekeeping and raising the US contribution come up? For example, did
this General Assembly report on the accountability of transparency in UN
agencies, did that arise? UNDP, North Korea? Can you give us--
No, it was mostly... what was discussed was what I told you. They discussed
Darfur. They discussed Kosovo. They discussed UN reforms extensively. They
discussed US-UN relationships, and the purpose of the trip was to reinforce,
let's say, the relationship with different members of Congress and build that
Inner City Press: There's a press release
from UNMIL about the alleged roughing up of journalists in Liberia. It says
something like, it's true that Liberians are guaranteed rights, the rights of
other people, citizens, must not be infringed on. Can you somehow elaborate
what... it seems like
the allegation is that UNMIL troops forced
journalists to delete photos from their camera.
So it's hard to understand what this paragraph is referring to.
Well, this paragraph -- you read it -- it's UNMIL's reaction to it. They
acknowledged that the incidents took place, but they are saying what youíre
I have nothing to elaborate on this.
We will continue to follow all this.
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.
UN Office: S-453A,
UN, NY 10017 USA Tel: 212-963-1439
(and weekends): 718-716-3540 Matthew.Lee [at]
Other, earlier Inner
City Press are listed here, and
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UN Office: S-453A,
UN, NY 10017 USA Tel: 212-963-1439
(and weekends): 718-716-3540