At UNDP, Selection Process Stays Secret, from Solomon Islands
to Sierra Leone, No Answers
Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of
Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis
NATIONS, February 24 -- As
Ban Ki-moon backslides on transparency about the UN Development
unanswered questions mount about how UNDP runs itself. At the UN's noon
briefing on Tuesday, Inner
City Press asked, "it’s been reported that
Helen Clark, former Prime Minister of New Zealand, is in New York being
interviewed for, they have called it a shortlist for the UNDP top
position. It’s reported that 10 people
are being interviewed; a panel will make three and then Mr. Ban will
decision. Is that accurate, and who is
on the panel?"
After Deputy Spokesperson Okabe answered, "I have
nothing on the
selection specifics," Inner City Press followed up, "since the
previous Secretary-General did actually make the shortlist for this
public and I know that the Secretary-General has said he is going to be
least as transparent, if not more, what is the rationale for not
Ms. Okabe then tried again to move the discussion
out of the briefing
room, and off the record: "Matthew, we’ve had this discussion; if you
to have it later some more, that’s fine." But later on Tuesday, even a
senior UN official who works on the 38th floor said that to fall short
Annan is not acceptable.
Inner City Press asked Ms. Okabe, "Do you
acknowledge that it's
less transparent than it was?"
UN's Ban and Helen Clark, other UNDP candidates not shown
Okabe replied, "No. No,
don’t acknowledge that it is less transparent.
As we have told you several times already, the
reached out to Member States, he’s put an ad in the Economist, they’re
about this in a very transparent manner and, as soon as we have
announce for you, we will. For the sake
of the privacy of the individuals, we are not making that list public."
from Minute 11:33.
While one UN official, who demanded anonymous
treatment, later argued to
Inner City Press that there are some candidates who do not want to be
case they lose, another scoffed that "at that level, they can't afford
have such thin skin. If they do, they shouldn't get the UNDP job
In recent years at UNDP, Kemal Dervis
and Ad Melkert, his deputy and now candidate for the top job, fought to
make the agency
independent from the Secretariat, on ethics and whistleblower
result has been more retaliation cases than elsewhere in the UN system,
UNDP officials moonlighting on the advisory boards of lobbying firms.
for Inner City Press' exclusive report.
spokesman Stephane Dujarric has declined this year to answer questions
scandals in the Solomon Islands, and follow-ups on the lobbying
reporting on which await the promised answers.
While these pend, UNDP is named as "topping-up" the
a scandal-plagued judge in Sierra Leone, click here
Relatedly, while the UN Millennium Campaign
called in response to TV
to claim it does not
received funds through the UN system and "does not speak for the UN," since
Eveline Herfkens was admitted to have
violated rules prohibiting a UN staff member from taking money from
governments, this claimed "no relation" with the UN seems strange.
(Ms. Herfkens is still prominently displayed
on the Campaign's website, here.
An Inner City
notes that UNDP manages a trust fund called "EC Trust Fund for the
European Millennium Campaign Against Poverty," pointed to budget
documents showing that $350,000 was contributed to this UNDP trust
fund. The correspondent states, "So I don't think it is accurate to say
that the Millennium Campaign "receives no money from the UN system"; It
is probably more accurate to say that UNDP launders money from UN member
states to Eveline Herfkens' Millennium Campaign. Click here
for UNDP's partially-retracted spin about Herfkens. In fact, UNDP
itself refers to "the Campaign, which is financed by a trust fund
administered by UNDP."
head of UNDP will oversee this strange entity, whose recent
unaccountable advocacy a senior UN official has called little more than
"a gimmick." What is Helen Clark's position on this? Ad Melkert's?
web site does not meaningfully explain the relations between the UN
and the UN Millennium Campaign, much less publish the Campaign's
requested paragraph on UN - UN Millennium Campaign connections, with an
emphasis on the financial claim, has not been received. Watch this site.
12 debate on Sri Lanka http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/17772?in=11:33&out=32:56
Click here for Inner City Press' Jan.
16, 2009 debate about Gaza
Click here for Inner City Press'
review-of-2008 UN Top Ten debate
Click here for Inner
City Press' December 24 debate on UN budget, Niger
Click here from Inner City Press'
December 12 debate on UN double standards
Click here for Inner
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.
* * *
usually also available through Google
News and on Lexis-Nexis.
for a Reuters
AlertNet piece by this correspondent
about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click
for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali
Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an
undefined trust fund. Video
UN Office: S-453A, UN, NY 10017
Reporter's mobile (and
earlier Inner City Press are listed here, and some are available
in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.
2006-08 Inner City Press, Inc. To request
reprint or other permission, e-contact Editorial [at]