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UNFPA Supplies Faces $700 Million Shortfall, Natalia Kanem Calls It UNfair

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive Sept 9 on

UNITED NATIONS, October 19 – The UN system with little transparency named Natalia Kanem as the successor at the UN Population Fund for Babatunde Osotimehin, who died suddenly earlier this year. Inner City Press was exclusively informed by sources in early September that the finalists ranged from Kanem's Panama to Costa Rica to Senegal and a Belgian in Kenya, see below. Now Kanem has called US budget cuts unfair and cited her agency's shortfall. Inner City Press on October 17 asked UNFPA's Senior Editorial Adviser Richard Kollodge about both, and the next afternoon he returned with this comment, which we publish in full: "The United States' contribution to UNFPA in 2016 totaled $69 million, about 8 per cent of the total, and no new funds from the United States are expected in the coming years. In addition, the 'UNFPA Supplies' program, through which the bulk of contraceptives are procured for developing countries, faces a $700 million shortfall for 2018 through 2020. In the light of the US funding cut and the projected funding shortfall for UNFPA Supplies, UNFPA is taking steps to diversify its donors, precisely to avoid the decisions of individual governments and other partners having a broad impact on the lives of women and girls. As of 15 October, a total of 112 governments have already made commitments to support to UNFPA this year." We'll follow this and other UN system budget issues. At UNFPA, beyond Acting Executive Director Natalia Kanem, Costa Rica second vice president Ana Helena Chacón Echeverría, , Belgian in Kenya Marleen Timmerman, and Senegal's Awa Marie Coll-Seck of Roll Back Malaria were short-listed. Then more were added, but the UN when Inner City Press asked refused to confirm anything. Less and less transparent. At a background briefing on September 8, a UN Department of Public Information official told Inner City Press that the current nearly-useless wifi Internet “should” be fixed in time, and that “there will be a secondary pass for RC to go to basement area, 1B, limited to resident correspondents” - a group of less than 200 of the several thousand journalist the UN says are coming. Inner City Press asked, Why are these passes limited in that way? The UN official said, “That's the arrangement with Security and with the UNCA [UN Correspondents Association] because we have to find some distinction.” So the UN let a group of at most 200 insiders limit the access of thousands of other journalists, with no transparency. This Department of Public Information has been headless since April 1; New York Times journalist Alison Smale was named by Secretary General Antonio Guterres as replacement but has apparently not arrived: she has not answered e-mailed questions about these elitist “distinctions.” Actually, the 200 UNCA insiders include numerous rarely seen state media, for example Akhbar al Yom from Sisi's Egypt, making the “distinction” all the more telling. Similarly, when Inner City Press was for assurance that at least the UN Press Briefing Room would be open to all journalists, the UN official said while missions are told that, there is no guarantee, the Media Accreditation office does not make the bookings. Those are done by the UN Spokesman, Stephane Dujarric, who has a history as noted by the Free UN Coalition for Access of "lending" the UN Press Briefing Room to the president of his native France, and to UNCA, evicting the Press which tried to cover the event with Periscope. The UN is closing in on itself, while bragging about all the important people coming to see it. The reformed needed at the UN go well beyond those alluded to in the pre-signed outcome document of the September 18 event. That reform event, tellingly, is not even mentioned on the UN's list so far of UNGA72 events: 12 September: Opening of the 72nd Session of the General Assembly (Preliminary list of items in the provisional agenda); 18 September: High-Level Meeting on the Prevention of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse; 19-25 September: General Debate of the General Assembly 72nd Session; 20 September: Signing Ceremony of the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons; 20 September: Security Council High Level Meeting: Reform of UN peacekeeping, implementation and follow-up; 26 September: High-level plenary meeting to promote and commemorate the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons; 27-28 September: High -level meeting of the General Assembly on the appraisal of the United Nations Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons (resolution 71/287). Watch this site.


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