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At UNDP, Dervis' Desires, Scandals and Silence Recalled As He Departs

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

UNITED NATIONS, January 8 -- Kemal Dervis, the UN Development Program's Administrator, announced Thursday he will leave the post on March 1, ostensibly for personal and family reasons. His tenure was marked by a series of scandals in UNDP, from funding violent disarmament in Uganda and diamond mining in Zimbabwe to procurement fraud cover-ups and financial irregularities in its North Korea program. Through it all, Dervis largely avoided the media, repeatedly telling Inner City Press that he refused to answer questions in the hallway of the UN, as even the Secretary General and his top officials do. He presided over retaliation, and then fought to keep UNDP exempt from the UN system's Ethics Office.

  Why is Dervis leaving? There are a number of theories. One has it that he had his eye, in the UN system, on the Deputy Secretary General post. Many close observers had been predicted that Asha Rose Migiro would leave in February. But recently word came down that she is staying. And soon thereafter, Dervis announced he is leaving the system. Others less plausible tie his sudden announcement to the North Korea scandal, and Ban Ki-moon's recent trip to Washington.

  What will Dervis do next?  There's high brow chat of a university post, lower brow talk of filthy lucre or Turkish politics. Perhaps he'll write a book like the one his predecessor commissioned, "UNDP: A Better Way?"

Dervis at UN, refusal to answer question, and blue-sky mornings, not shown

  All that said, Inner City Press has a single semi-positive memory. On his way into the Secretariat building one blue-skied day, Dervis stopped and mused that, you only have so many mornings like this in your life, you have to enjoy them. We hope he does -- and that the next UNDP Administrator does a better job. At Thursday's UN noon briefing, Inner City Press asked Ban's spokesperson if he will at least commit to what his predecessor did, releasing a short list of candidates for the post. I don't know yet, the Spokesperson said. We will follow this one.

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.

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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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Other, earlier Inner City Press are listed here, and some are available in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.

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