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UNDP's Helen Clark Listed As VP of Socialist International, Until This Article

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 24 -- Why is Helen Clark, the Administrator of the UN Development Program, listed as a vice president of the Socialist International? It's a simple question, which Inner City Press posed in an article on June 21, here, and then to UN spokesman Martin Nesirky back on June 22:

Inner City Press: Helen Clark, UN system official, head of UNDP, is listed on the website of Socialist International, which is meeting here at the UN, as a vice-president of the organization. I’m just wondering, was, is there some kind of waiver given or is permissible for a UN system official to serve in such a capacity with an outside group?

Spokesperson Nesirky: I would ask you to ask UNDP.

Inner City Press: I think, there is a UN system, I mean, there’s UN rules that cover the whole system, so it’s not…

Spokesperson: But in the first instance…

Inner City Press: Right, okay.

Spokesperson: …ask UNDP.

  And so later on June 22, at a UNDP briefing about hydro power in Nepal, Inner City Press asked UNDP's seeming Number Two official Olav Kjorven. Before answering, he whispered back and forth with a UNDP communications officials. Then he said, “I am not prepared to answer, but we will get back to you.”

  After the briefing, the UNDP communications officials said to Inner City Press, you're known for this type of question. He then asked why Inner City Press didn't direct the question to Helen's people.

  But aren't you all Helen's people? Another UNDP communications official said, in the briefing room and later by voice mail, that Helen's people would get back to Inner City Press with an answer.

Helen Clark, role as Socialist International VP (and request for removal) not shown

Two full days later, there still was been no answer. Where were and are Helen's people? Watch this site.

Update: after preparation of this article, Inner City Press received an answer by asking, not UNDP again, but... Nesirky again. It is not clear why UNDP never responded to Inner City Press. Nesirky said that Helen Clark's role as Vice President of the Socialist International was only as prime minister of New Zealand.

  Nesirky said Socialist International has now been asked to remove her name from its web site. But SI has as VP a number of politicians out of power, meaning that removal from the VP board is not automatic. Did Helen Clark make the request when she took the UN job? Or only now?

* * *

On Myanmar, UNDP's Clark Blames Poverty on Politics, UK Defends Sanctions, UNDP Conflict of Interest in N.Korea?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 17 -- Building the capacity of governments, even dictatorships and military regimes, is the approach taken the UN Development Program. Thursday Inner City Press asked UNDP Administrator Helen Clark to explain what she meant that because "'political factors' restrict what the UNDP can do in Myanmar.. 'it's not so easy to make progress there at this time' on the Millennium Development Goals.

  Ms. Clark backtracked, saying that it's not UNDP's restricted action in Myanmar that's to blame, its the politics of aid donors-- apparently meaning, sanctions. Clark emphasized that Myanmar gets the least development aid per capita of any country, including North Korea. "Politics," she said, "has been a complicating factor." Video here, from Minute 32:28.

    Well, yes. The government of General Than Shwe has dissolved the NLD party of Aung San Suu Kyi, and has stacked the upcoming election for military connected candidates. Is this the government whose capacity UNDP seeks to build?

UK's Lyall Grant at right hand of Helen Clark, regimes not shown

   UK Ambassador Lyall Grant jumped in to say that the sanctions only "target the regime" in what he called Burma.

The UN's Children and Armed Conflict envoy Radhika Coomaraswamy has said that Myanmar entirely stopped working toward an action plan on child soldiers, in the run up to the election. Inner City Press stopped Myanmar's Ambassador to the UN outside the Security Council on June 16 and asked why the country has stopped. The Ambassador insisted that his government works closely with Ms. Coomaraswamy, and wants to be take off her list of recruiters. Perhaps UNDP would support this?

Inner City Press also asked Ms. Clark about UNDP's role in the security sector in Somalia, where the government has been exposed as using 20% child soldiers. "We do not train soldiers," Clark answered. "We are nowhere near that one." Not so fast. UNDP has provided funds for training TFG security; the dispute has been how much they spend. We aim to have more on this.

Footnote: When UNDP re-opened its North Korea program and website, it listed Mr. Vijay Thapa as International Finance Officer. A whistleblower asks, isn't this a conflict of interest since Mr. Thapa has been Finance Officer in DPR Korea since 2003, therefore four years before the discovery of counterfeit? Mr Thapa is among those UNDP Staff of DPR Korea whom declined to talk to US Southern District Attorney on counterfeit and he is part of the "old cast" of UNDP DPRK management responsible for the wrong doings. One wonders, was the appointment of Mr. Thapa a request from DPR Korean Government ? Is this more capacity building?

 Click here for an Inner City Press YouTube channel video, mostly UN Headquarters footage, about civilian deaths in Sri Lanka.

Click here for Inner City Press' March 27 UN debate

Click here for Inner City Press March 12 UN (and AIG bailout) debate

Click here for Inner City Press' Feb 26 UN debate

Click here for Feb. 12 debate on Sri Lanka

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.

* * *

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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