UNDP, Clark's Talks and Photo-Ops But Dodging on Somalia, Biter,
Consultants' Pay and Royal
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, July 27 -- At the UN Development Program, one hundred days
after former New Zealand prime minister Helen Clark took over the top
job, she has yet to hold a press conference for correspondents at UN
headquarters. To mark her stealth one hundred days, she appeared
New York on New Zealand television. When asked how much she gets
paid, she answered "I think you can go into the website."
not that there is not real news about UNDP. The organization was targeted
in Somalia by Al Shabaab essentially for taking sides in a
civil war. Conflict extended into UNDP headquarters itself, where
by Inner City Press a staff member complaining
of hiring irregularities and nepotism was maced and taken to the
local police precinct after biting of UN Security Officer on the
Panama, UNDP is in damage control mode faced with criticism of
paying consultants there more than the president of the country.
Weeks after asking Clark's UNDP for
responses on its programs including in
Cyprus, but receiving no response, Inner City Press on July 27 asked
the UN system's Associate Spokesperson Farhan Haq questions about
UNDP, from the man bites man incident to Helen
Clark having given a
speech at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Washington from which the public
was excluded until they
paid at least $200.
UNDP's Helen Clark and blue UN flag, Press Q&A not shown
City Press: the head of UNDP, Helen Clark, gave a speech in
Washington at the Women’s Foreign Policy Group, and they charged
$250 admission. Is there any kind of rule applicable to UN officials
speaking in a for-pay environment and who reviews, obviously it was a
fund-raiser, but what comment do you have on that?
Spokesperson Haq: I don’t. I would suggest that you talk to UNDP
for any comment on this. It’s their event and I don’t have any
of the details of it.
City Press: Is there any UN system rule, to your knowledge?
Spokesperson Haq: Well, UN officials do not receive payment for the
speeches that they give. But I don’t know about what kind of event
this is. Whether this was an outside group that was charging or
whether UNDP was. For that you really have to get the details from
UNDP still refusing to answer long-pending questions including about
its programs in Cyprus, Inner City Press sent a few questions to two
of the agency's spokespeople, including to Administrator Clark's
personal spokesperson Christan LoNigro:
comment including on compliance will all applicant UN and UNDP rules
and principles on Helen Clark speaking recently in DC at a
fundraising for which $200 or $250 entrance was charged: how are the
beneficiaries of such UNDP fundraising chosen? Who reviews the
beneficiaries? Which similar invitations has Ms. Clark, or Mr. Dervis
in 2008 and 2009, declined? On what basis?
state when Ms. Clark will finally hold a press conference Q&A in
Room 226, and why this has not yet been done.
provide all available UNDP information on the biting incident I asked
about at noon: Farhan says UNDP tells him the biter was a job SEEKER,
and that the recruitment was transparent. Please name the underlying
job, the job seeker, and what happened.
comment on this from Panama, UNDP criticized for paying consultant(s)
more than that country's president makes
state on what basis some but not all UN correspondents who cover UNDP
were invited to the embargoed briefing on UNDP's report on Human
Security and the Middle East / Arab world.
comment on / respond to Al
Shabaab's criticism and expulsion of UNDP
(but not WFP, for example) -- how many UNDP staff have left
What has UNDP done, if anything, in the face of criticism that it
lacks balance in Somalia? How much money has UNDP spent on security
personnel in Somalia in 2008 and 2009 and name the donors. And again,
the Cyprus. Thanks in advance.
six hours later, some but not all responses arrived, from the "Press
Office to the Administrator" Helen Clark, Christina LoNigro:
RE: Stephane- UNDP questions
[Ms. LoNigro at] undp.org
Inner City Press
7/27/2009 6:22:24 P.M. Eastern Standard Time
Administrator Helen Clark spoke at the Women’s Foreign Policy
Group’s first event in its “Women in Power” series in
Washington DC on July 24 in her official capacity. UN officials often
speak at events that share the goals and ideals of the UN. Miss
Clark received no compensation for speaking at this event and
obtained clearance from UNDP’s Ethics Office prior to accepting the
invitation. Miss Clark spoke about development issues and achievement
of the MDGs. You can find her full remarks here.
Panama, UNDP values its relationship with the Government of Panama,
and everyone involved is committed to ironing out any issues. On
Friday 17th July 2009 , UNDP Panama met with Minister Vallarino, the
National Comptroller, Carlos Vallarino and the Vice-minister for
Economy, Frank de Lima to clear up any misunderstandings. The new
government expressed its desire to continue working with UNDP.
was an unfortunate and isolated incident involving an employee of
UNDP on 23rd June 2009. UN Security and the New York Police
Department responded, and it is now being handled by the authorities
of the host government.
continuously assesses the security situation on the ground in Somalia
and acts accordingly, taking into consideration the safety of our
staff and the effective delivery of our programmes. For the safety
and security of our staff we are not able to comment on their numbers
and location. We can say that UNDP programmes and operations
continue uninterrupted in Somalia.
Cyprus, Stephane will be sending you something soon.
last has been said for months. But what, as simply one example, about
the question of when Ms. Clark will finally take questions from the
Press? Watch this site.
UNDP's side site to "respon[d] to inaccurate press reports,"
long dormant, is back,
proclaiming that "UNDP, through its
office in Geneva, has indeed been in discussions with Ms. Segolene
Royal, as the President of the Regional Council of Poitou-Charentes,
within the context of cooperation between regional and local
communities in the developed countries and those in the developing
world, in particular as regards issues of climate change."
knew? And what does UNDP have to say about Ms. Royal's reported
in trying to de-fund a music festival due to one artist, Orelsan's,
of July 27-28, 2 a.m. -- After weeks' long delay, suddenly these
answers about UNDP's funding of media in Cyprus arrived:
- Is it possible for you to tell me who received the money and how
this money was spent?
- As indicated in the description of the project on the internet,
funds were provided to Radio May to produce and broadcast
informational programs across the island.
I understand the radio station (was?) established just to support the
Annan Plan. Is it true?
- Did the recipients of the funds report back on how they spent the
money? Did they submit receipts, etc?
there's more to be said about these UNDP (and USAID) programs, for
now we'll simply run in full what UNDP sent.
* * *
In Afghan Scandal, UNDP Failed to Oversee,
Taking 7% Fee, Dervis and Akbank
Russell Lee of Inner City Press at
the UN: News Analysis
UNITED NATIONS, April 14
-- After the UN
Development Program and UN Office of Project Services repeatedly
information requests from the U.S. government about missing and
money, UNDP spokesman Stephane Dujarric on Tuesday told the Press that
"there were lapses, perhaps, in responding" and they he estimates
$1.5 million will be returned. But the U.S. government report -- online
puts the missing money at over $7 million; a collection agency had to
Dujarric on Tuesday said that the lesser known agency UNOPS was
the work, that $25 million was, to UNDP, "pass through" money. But
what oversight did UNDP provide for the seven percent fee that Dujarric
charged? Clearly, very little. Funds were reported moved to projects in
Lanka, Sudan, Haiti and Dubai. Click here for a 2007
Inner City Press report on
UNOPS in Dubai, cracking down on a whistleblower; here for UNOPS' own open
bragging about Dubai.
UNDP has something of a conflict in purporting to oversee or watchdog
The director of UNOPS, Jan Mattsson, who notably has refused to follow
Ki-moon's call for basic public financial disclosure, was to work at
Mattsson has been noticeable absent in defending UNOPS against it
to back scandals, leaving that job to his also scandal-scarred deputy.
UN's Ban speaks to UNDP staff,
Mattsson's disclosure and 7% fee, response to USAID not shown
Press asked, and Dujarric did not answer, which of the individuals
named in the
U.S. report are still in the employ and pay of UNDP. Carlos Haddad, for
example, who refused repeated request for information -- is he there?
referred to the "acting
Administrator" leading the response to this most recent UNDP scandal.
To many, this lacks credibility. Ad Melkert, twice passed over for the
agency's top job and tapped by insiders to leave, proclaimed during
UNDP's tight-lipped response to a previous scandal that "you ain't see
nothing yet." We still haven't.
this take place mere weeks before new Administration Helen Clark
she move to clean up UNDP, to improve or cancel its lax "pass through
Administrator Kemal Dervis,
who quickly landed another UN gig advising Ban Kid-moon for the G-20 in
now taken a post with Akbank in Turkey. Inner City Press asked the
spokesman if this might implicate the anti-revolving door rules
yet another previous UNDP Administrator, Mark Malloch Brown, in the
of the Kofi Annan administration. The spokesman said he wasn't yet sure
facts of the case. Watch this site.
for a new YouTube video, mostly UN Headquarters footage, about civilian
in Sri Lanka.
Click here for Inner City
Press' March 27 UN debate
Click here for Inner City
Press March 12 UN (and AIG
Click here for Inner City
Press' Feb 26 UN debate
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
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
Office: S-453A, UN, NY 10017
earlier Inner City Press are listed here, and some are available
in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.
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