Inner City Press

 

In Other Media-e.g. Somalia, Ghana, Azerbaijan, The Gambia   For further information, click here to contact us          .

Home -

Search is just below this first article

 
 
How to Contact Us

 

Support this work by buying this book

Click on cover for secure site orders

also includes "Toxic Credit in the Global Inner City"

Inner City Press Podcast --



At UN in Beirut, Dueling Charges of Job-Trading and Tax-Evasion, the Burden of Mervat Tallawy, Retaliation from Below

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

UNITED NATIONS, Dec. 19, edited 3:20 pm -- "Institutions are more important than individuals, anyway."

  This was the first response Inner City Press received to a set of detailed questions about job-trading and abuse of United Nations' funding at the top echelon of the UN's Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia. The questions, reproduced below, were sent Sunday to the executive secretary of ESCWA, Mrs. Mervat Tallawy, and also to Jan Beagle of UN Headquarters human resources and to the chairman of the Economic and Social Council, ECOSOC.

  In response, the chief of UN Regional Commissions, Kazi Afzalur Rahman, telephoned Inner City Press and on Monday afternoon granted a 25-minute interview. He did not deny even one of the detailed allegations. Rather he presented a two-page set of "Talking Points" that he said Mrs. Tallaway had faxed to him in New York as a response to Inner City Press' questions.  "She is highly respected," Mr. Rahman said.

            "Yes, but where are the answers to the questions?"

            "She is a very important figure," Mr. Rahman said.

            This, then, began as a story about questions and lack of answers, or the presumption by some in the UN that no answers are needed, or that not answering will make a story go away.

  The story evolved when, on Tuesday afternoon, Mrs. Tallawy called Inner City Press for another thirty minute interview in which she answered some twelve of the questions, and made counter-charges against her staff. At Inner City Press, we do not believe in sweeping things under the rug, about important public institutions -- but we do believe in telling both sides of a story, and more.

            As the administration of Kofi Annan and Mark Malloch Brown winds down at the UN, information pours in about waste, fraud and abuse, as well as favoritism, disfunction and corruption.

  While some is due to a momentary decrease in fear of retaliation, as those at the top no longer have power or focus to stop the leaks, Mrs. Tallawy points out that vengeful staff take the transition as a time to get even -- a sort of retaliation from below. (Mrs. Tallawy did not use this line, we don't want to mischaracterize her defense, thus we'll accept credit for the phrase.)

   For more than two weeks, Inner City Press has run a series about the UN Development Program, on issues ranging from the theft of money for UNDP's Moscow office to sexual harassment in New York and contracting fraud in Vietnam. In today's report we turn to another UN agency, the Beirut-based Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia which is known by the acronym ESCWA (pronounced ess-kwa or as some say the lawyer's suffix)  and its executive secretary, Ms. Mervat Tallawy.

            This story, we'll first let be told by sources in Beirut, followed by Mrs. Tallawy's responses, where available, and counter-charges, where applicable. This will be followed by some of what Mrs. Tallawy presents as her and her office's positive work, in keeping with Kofi Annan's call, at his Dec. 19 press conference and in response to a question from Inner City Press, for a rooting out of bad apples combined with praise for what is right.

Subject: Mervat Tallawy, Executive Secretary of ESCWA based in Beirut.

From: [Name withheld due to stated fear of retaliation]

To: editorial [at] innercitypress.com

Sent:  December 2006

 Mervat Tallawy (MT) is, you better believe it, another abuser of authority among the upper management members, [ask] Jan Beagle:

- Mervat Tallawy has recruited and kept for under two years Faroug Idris (who was fired from FAO in Iraq where he worked under another name), the nephew of Kamal Idris (another player), the Director General of WIPO. And guess what, MT's daughter (who by the way works for the UN) Cherine Rahmy, who could not get promoted to P-3 in UNOV, suddenly gets a P-4 in WIPO. Rahmy stayed less then a year in WIPO when Mummy finally found a way to get her a P-4 in UNOV where she still is. Few months after Rahmy's return to Vienna, Mr. Idris's contract was not renewed.

- Mervat Tallawy uses a UN vehicle from private purposes with no reimbursement (ever) to the UN. The car is driven by her, her daughter, her driver, her bodyguard for private errands.

- Mervat Tallawy was accused by OIOS that her management style is colliding with most of UN principles, the investigation ended in her accusing a D-1 auditor of lying.

- Mervat Tallawy has three cases at the Administrative Tribunal that will end up in over one million US dollar payments to the harassed staff, but of course MT will be out of the system due to the speed of the Administrative Tribunal. There are around five more cases in the Joint Appeals Board.

 -MT has heard from no one else than Annan that Kuwait has recommended Miriam Awadhy the then-Deputy to MT as a candidate for MT's post. This happened because rumors were going on that MT will not be extended. Once KA extended MT's contract in the last minute, MT came back to Beirut and started the deconstruction of Awadhy. MT did not recommend Awadhy's contract without proper justification. Jan Beagle's predecessor came to a Solomonic solution, to send Awadhy 8 months to New York, to DESA on daily allowance (additional cost in tens of thousands of dollars) so that Mervat Tallawy does not come eye to eye with her!

-Mervat Tallawy is a cruel and paranoid but a part of the blame goes to the SG's office, Iqbal Riza and Malloch Brown, Jan Beagle and her predecessor. These people just cannot say no to Mervat Tallawy...

-MT has left, abandoned her staff for 24 hours during the latest war in Lebanon, to driver her grandchildren to Damascus, board them on a plane and only then came back. This delay delayed the evacuation of the staff that had to be evacuated in the worst buses due to the delay.

            As Inner City Press on Monday told Kazi Afzalur Rahman, the chief of UN Regional Commissions who came to answer questions, the above is not and was never taken at face value. However, due to the level of detail it gave rise to questions, which were not sufficiently answered by Monday's repeated reference to that Mervat Tallawy is "a very important figure." Research found that Mrs. Tallawy's response in-region to the critical OIOS report was to call the report purely technical and to claim that only the UN General Assembly could discuss it.

   While ESCWA, like UNDP and other some agencies, has until recently escaped much scrutiny, WIPO's name has come up in previous UN investigations. The questions, or whether they were worth formally posing, were first run by a range of UN sources, many of them reflexively pro-UN. Even these indicated they'd heard of problems within ESCWA; some used a striking phrase with regard to Ms. Tallawy, "She's been out of control." This from people with no discernable axe to grind with Mrs. Tallawy or ESCWA.

Photo from Beirut, circulated in NY, then sign gone

            Inner City Press sent questions based on the above on December 17 to tallawy [at] un.org, to UN Human Resources' Jan Beagle, and to the Tunisian chairman of ECOSOC, which oversees ESCWA. Only last week, the ECOSOC chairman told Inner City Press, on camera, that he had received a previous request for information, about lobbying by the official U.S. candidate to head the World Food Program, but had not responded because, after days or weeks or delay, it was "too late." And by the afternoon of December 19, there has been no response, or even confirmation of receipt, from ECOSOC.

            Inner City Press re-sent the questions, into which Mrs. Tallawy's response, in a telephone conversation on December 19, are noted in italics:

Hello. The questions below were sent yesterday to tallawy [at] un.org, and now to you in spokesperson capacity.  We are sending to you at deadline, need answers asap concerning the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) and its executive secretary Mervat Tallawy (MT) 

 Q: Are you aware if Mervat Tallawy uses a UN vehicle from private purposes with insufficient reimbursement to the UN? 

Response: Mrs. Tallawy states that while she used the UN vehicle to drive family members to the border of Syria, "three days into the war" this past summer. Other than that, she states that she only uses the UN vehicle to drive from home to work and back again.

 --Did MT recruit and keep employed for over a year one Faroug Idris? 

Response: Mrs. Tallawy says that the answer is yes.

 Is Faroug Idris the nephew of Kamal Idris, Director General of WIPO

Response:  Mrs. Tallawy does not deny this -- but states that it was not Kamal Idris but rather Jacques Diouf of the Food and Agriculture Organization who requested that she hire Faroug Idris.

 Was Cherine Rahmy, MT's daughter, hired as a P-4 at WIPO

Response:  Mrs. Tallawy does not say this is false. She says that such hiring is normal.

 Did Cherine Rahmy then get a P-4 with the UN in Vienna and, a few months later, was Idris's contract not renewed? 

 Response:  Mrs. Tallawy does not deny this, but again, states that it was not Kamal Idris but rather Jacques Diouf of the Food and Agriculture Organization who requested that she hire Faroug Idris.

 Was Faroug Idris fired from FAO in Iraq when he worked under another name? 

Response:  Mrs. Tallawy's response on December 19 was, "I don't know anything about another name."

 Has MT promoted three staff from G to P category against the rules using loops in the rules; was one of them her daughter's boyfriend from UNOV, Ahmad Dik. 

Response: Mrs. Tallawy acknowledges the promotions from G to P, stating that the Gs had to resign and reapply as Ps, which was successful. Yes, she says, Ahmad Dik was one of the three and yes, he was in Vienna at the same time as her daughter. Mrs. Tallawy points out that her daugther is now married and has children.

 -- Are you aware if MT was reviewed by OIOS that her management style is colliding with certain UN principles? Did the investigation end in her accusing a D-1 auditor of lying?

Response: Mrs. Tallawy reiterates her characterization of the OIOS review as routine, something done every two years, and states that the report was discussed in "an open debate" of the Fifth Committee during this Fall's General Assembly, which took note of OIOS' findings. Further documents have been promised to Inner City Press. 

 Does MT have three cases at the Administrative Tribunal (please describe the case of Miriam Awadhy), and around five cases at the Join Appeals Board? Please provide all available information about the "Mehdi" case. 

Response: Mrs. Tallawy states that that Mehdi matter has been settled. "He was a good economist but a first-time manager, he didn't listen to rules and had problems with his subordinates. When his contract finished, he was not renewed. There was appeals and now it has been settled."

 Did MT hear from S-G Kofi Annan that Kuwait recommended Miriam Awadhy, the then-Deputy to MT, as a candidate for MT's post? Please confirm or deny that once the S-G extended MT's contract at the last minute, MT did not recommend Awadhy's contract. Has Awadhy been sent for 8 months to NY, to DESA on daily allowance / DSA? How much does that cost? 

Response: Of Miriam Awadhy, Mrs. Tallawy states that Ms. Awadhy "is not qualified," but that the decision was the Secretary-General's, "when he saw the report he took her to New York to finish her contract."

 Has MT filled middle and higher level professional posts disproportionately with Egyptians? Has she fired three Chiefs of Administration to now bring an Egyptian who was to retire on 31 Dec 2006 but was extended six months beyond? 

Response: Mrs. Tallawy states that Jan Beagle of UN Headquarters has spoken to her about geographical distribution. She has not "fired three Chiefs of Administration" -- the first "lady took a golden parachute." The second, one Kolov, is now in Geneva, having gotten a promotion during the evacuation from Lebanon. After that, Mrs. Tallawy says she "asked Jan Beagle" for a fast hire, who, yes, is Egyptian, but served in Congo and elsewhere.

 Finally, for now, did MT leave her staff for 24 hours during the latest war in Lebanon, to drive her grandchildren to Damascus, board them on a plane and only then came back? 

Mrs. Tallawy states that she used the UN vehicle to drive her two grandsons to the border of Syria, "three days into the war" this past summer, that it was a four-hour drive, not the 24 hour figure cited.

            The above italicized twelve responses were provided by telephone on Tuesday afternoon by Mrs. Tallawy. The first response is described below.

  On Monday, Inner City Press called Jan Beagle, and left a detailed message with her secretary, about the questions that had been emailed and that a response was being requested. The same was reiterated to UN spokespeople in Beirut and New York.

            Monday Inner City Press received a phone message from Kazi Rahman. Inner City Press returned the call, but was told that Mr. Rahman was in a meeting. After four p.m., Mr. Rahman called back and offered to come meet Inner City Press at the Security Council stakeout, where reporters were waiting to question Serge Brammertz about his investigation into Hariri's and others' murders in Lebanon. Upon his arrival, Inner City Press accompanied Mr. Rahman to the UN Delegates' Lounge. Over 25 minutes, Mr. Rahman spoke about ESCWA without denying a single one of the questions. He veered from flattering Inner City Press ("you are operating at the global level") to indirectly warning, "She is a very important figure." He said, "Each Commission reflects its region, including the state of unity or divisiveness... Not every region has the same character."

            He acknowledged that his response, such as it was, was to the questions sent to Ms. Tallawy and said, "I got feedback from Human Resources here" in New York. Inner City Press reminded me of the recent New York story about politician Alan Hevesi, who misused his governmental car. When the question was asked, he had an answer, and a reason; to say, "I have accomplished a lot for New York" would not have been enough.

            Mr. Rahman had with him a green folder. Midway through the interview announced that Mrs. Tallawy "has raised ten to twelve million dollars for Iraq, eight million of it from UNDP," the UN Development Program. When Inner City Press asked for further specifics, Mr. Rahman opened the green file and pulled out a three page document. He tore off the cover page and handed Inner City Press two pages, headed "Talking Points - The Achievements of ESCA (2002-present)."

            "She faxed me these," Mr. Rahman said. "Instead of going over them, I will just give them to you."

            The fax line read "18-DEC '06 (MON) 18:24  UN ESCWA." Within the talking points, no Iraq project is mentioned. Rather, there are generalizations such as:

"Through the efficient management of the programme, and decisive, yet sensitive, human resource management practices, ESCWA's image within the UN system and with its stakeholders improved tremendously. Today, ESCWA and its staff comment the respect of sister UN agencies, and its services are highly sought by member states... ESCWA has successfully coordinated the activities of the Regional Coordination Group (RCG), particularly in the monitoring of the MDGs... ESCWA also received a commendation form the high level panel of the UN 21 Awards for excellence."

            Last week Inner City Press covered the UN 21 Awards ceremony and Mark Malloch Brown's speech at the ceremony. But what does it say about the UN that detailed questions are responded to with a sidestepping set of talking points, and that this has been allowed to go on for so long? To be fair to ESCWA, its work is self-described on its Web site. To be fair to Mr. Rahman, he was previously a diplomatic from Bangladesh, who served on the Executive Board of the UN Development Program. To be fair to Mrs. Mervat Tallawy, as she told Inner City Press on Tuesday, she has worked in public affairs for forty years. "Read what the Washington Post wrote about me in 1995," she said, referencing both Beijing and population conferences.

  As to her work at ESCWA, Mrs. Tallawy emphasizes that for the staff she has established a nursery, a gym, and changed the location of the cafeteria. She focuses on a particular staffer whom she says tried to import a second car into Lebanon without paying taxes, along with providing false or front ownership for the car, an issue that still resonates, even in its silence, at UN Headquarters. Mrs. Tallaway points to leveraging funds from UNAMI in Iraq. For her involvement in evacuation from Lebanon she received two cables of praise from Kofi Annan. In terms of fundraising from member states, Mrs. Tallaway cites $4 million she says she raised from Canada to study the causes of sectarianism in the Middle East. Also on the academic front, she says that she "with Cisco updated the computer systems at four universities in Iraq." More information about these Cisco - UN partnerships has been promised.

  Also concerning the UN in Lebanon, the question has still not be answered, how much Germany and others are trying to charge UNIFIL for the use of ships, click here for one of Inner City Press' previously stories.

Again, because a number of Inner City Press' UN sources go out of their way to express commitment to serving the poor, and while it should be unnecessary, Inner City Press is compelled to conclude this report by saluting the stated goals of the UN, its agencies and affiliates and many of their staff and employees. As they used to say on TV game shows, keep those cards, letters and emails coming, and phone calls too, we apologize for any phone tag, but please continue trying, and keep the information, including but not limited to withheld internal audits, flowing.

Feedback: Editorial [at] innercitypress.com

UN Office: S-453A, UN, NY 10017 USA Tel: 212-963-1439

Reporter's mobile (and weekends): 718-716-3540

Google
Search WWW Search innercitypress.com

The UN Development Program Is Important For The Poor, It Therefore Must Be Made Transparent

Tenth Installment in Inner City Press' Ongoing UNDP Series, Reported by Matthew Russell Lee: Intro followed by second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth

UNITED NATIONS, December 10 -- The UN Development Program, a $5 billion agency whose Administrator Kemal Dervis has not held a press conference in UN Headquarters for over 14 months, on December 8 issued a press release attacking Inner City Press by name. The same day, UNDP informed Inner City Press that it would no longer respond to any requests for comments about seeming violations of UN recruitment, hiring and promotion rules, and that it does not disclose to the press or to the public its internal audits.

            Given that it appears, at least for the short term, that UNDP will not be providing even this basic information, despite its status as an international agency funded by the publics of member states, Inner City Press has decided to recapitulate the reasons that it began this series about UNDP on November 29, and why it will continue. This brief overview inevitably may mention UNDP's press release. But since UNDP did not contact Inner City Press for comment before distributing its press release, and only provided the subject of its statement with a copy six hours after it was released.

UNDP's Kemal Dervis, at left - holding secret audits?

            UNDP has an important role, including enabling development to benefit poor people. It is therefore important that UNDP be transparent, both in its finances and its hiring and promotion practices. UNDP often preaches to the governments of developing countries that they must become more transparent. For example, only last week Neil Buhne, UNPD's representative in Bulgaria and previously Belarus, preached in Sofia on the topic of transparent administrative services, saying that a lack of transparency can intensity existing inequalities. But this preaching must be applied all the more to UNDP itself.  It is particularly inappropriate for UNDP to now say that it will not release its audits of its spending, nor comment on seeming violations of its own stated rules against cronyism  and sham competition in hiring and promotion.

            There are many, many serious and well-meaning people within UNDP. Some of them clearly see a need for improvements in how UNDP is run, and feel the threat of retaliation if they make their views known in a way in which their supervisors and other high UNDP officials could identify them. For this reason, Inner City Press has been willing where necessary to use anonymous sources in the course of this series. Inner City Press follows accepted rules of journalism, explaining the reasons for which a source has requested anonymity. As one employee said, "You will not get any on the record sources on this story. But everyone in this workplace knows this is true."

            This last quote was concerned widely-alleged sexual harassment by an individual whom UNDP selected to head up its entire Europe and CIS States operation. It is time, then, to explain why Inner City Press in this series has at time mentioned sexual harassment. While this has provided a pretext for UNDP's Communications Office, and also former UNDP Administrator, to try to portray the entire series as salacious and as a violation of privacy, this aspect of harassment is integral to the story. First, the incidents took place in the workplace. But also, the fact that the incidents were allow to go on for so long, due to connections to high officials of the UN and rich UN supporters, shows inappropriate favoritism and lawlessness within this organization which so impacts the world's poor.

            A UN source generally respected by Inner City Press has explained that the UN is "like a village," leading to upset at overly-personal investigative reporting. This village analogy seems apt, not only among the press corps and members of Security Council members' missions, but among the UN staff as a whole, for example in the Headquarters cafeteria, or during this past summer's World Cup. There is another aspect, though: some of the UN, particularly UNDP, is like a *feudal* village, in which a small group and some courtiers who feel they are protected are left outside of otherwise-applicable rules, and bristle if this is ever reported.

            To do such reporting, one must be in the village, but not entirely of it. UNDP has asked Inner City Press, "Who is telling you these things?"  But Inner City Press will not sell out its sources. UNDP has demanded to speak with editors or, it would seem, corporate owners amenable to pressure. It is a dynamic well sketched by one of the paragon American journalists, I.F. Stone, and it is not a demand to which Inner City Press will acquiesce.

            UNDP, even after declaring that is will not respond to questions about seeming violations of applicable rules on hiring and promotion, has sent Inner City Press a ludicrous list of supposedly required corrections. These include demands that a headline, "UNDP Spent $567,000 on a Book to Praise Itself," be modified since it is UNDP's position that despite the payments, the book is a work of independent scholarship. Perhaps UNDP deserves this repetition of the argument. But reasonable minds can and do disagree with UNDP.

            We have waited to the near-end of this column to sketch the history and motives of Inner City Press. First, Inner City Press has long reported on and been immersed in community development efforts. Among other things, Inner City Press has investigated and reported on redlining by banks: their failure to lend fairly to low income people. In connection with this reporting, Inner City Press vindicated the rights to information of the wider press corps, for example in a Freedom of Information Act win in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, reported in the New York Times earlier this year. Click here for a more detailed write-up by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.

            Inner City Press' investigative series on Citigroup, which like this series included reporting on the nitty-gritty of employment practices, resulted in Citigroup being held accountable to its overseer, the Federal Reserve Board, which imposed a fine of $75 million and required detailed reforms. But where are the overseers of UNDP?

            In its UN reporting, Inner City Press most often focuses on human rights. In fact, Inner City Press' first stories on UNDP involved the agency's funding of disarmament programs in Uganda, where civilians have ended up killed in the name of disarmament, as now confirmed by the UN High Commissioner of Human Rights. UNDP's Communications Office repeatedly misstated and tried to downplay UNDP's enabling of the Ugandan People's Defense Forces' disarmament programs, and despite having quietly announced a suspension of funding in June, has most recently reverted to entire denial. The issue will continue to be pursued so that it is not repeated.

            To avoid any misunderstanding, which some have tried to cause, that Inner City Press is part of the so-called vast right wing conspiracy, we simply state that Inner City Press has most often be placed in the public record on the left wing side of the equation. That does not mean that lack of transparency and lack of accountability in programs to benefit to the poor should be excused -- in fact, quite the contrary, in fact. That is the motive and justification for this ongoing series.

            Some have asked, why UNDP and not (yet) other UN agencies. Only a few months ago, Inner City Press inquired closely into the process for selecting Josette Sheeran Shiner as the new head of the World Food Program. But the range of issues at UNDP, from a lack of oversight on disarmament programs it funded in Uganda, to allowing its head of European and CIS states to run wild (to choose only two examples), may indicate that UNDP's amorphous mandate combined with a lack of transparency and of independent press coverage have resulted a fiefdom whose only response to questions is to attack the questioner. How UNDP's December 8 press release comports with the UN System's exhortations for journalistic freedom, or with UNDP's own purported attempts to encourage governments in the developing world to allow for media independence, remains to be seen.

            Since we cannot resist further reporting, we feel that the following UNDP staff email, the identity of whose sender we will protect due to fear of retaliation, may show why we use anonymous sources and why UNDP's arbitrary employment practices are a legitimate journalistic subject. This extended quote precisely illustrated the reality of UNDP conduct in connection with the Millennium Development Goals project.

Dear Matthew, thanks for your recent coverage of UNDP HR policies. I would like to reconfirm your information regarding the integration of the Millennium Project (MP) in UNDP Bureau for Development Policy Poverty Group, directed by Nora Lustig.

The evidence gathered in the adopted project document regarding Dr. Sachs' remuneration shows that over 200,000 US Dollars are supposed to cover his services. I believe you already have this document in your possession.

The problems associated with the Millennium Project's integration go far beyond Dr. Sachs' charity fees. Ms. Chandrika Bahadur and M. Guido Schmidt-Traub, who have been working for the MP over the last years have benefited from the different breaches of procedures during the merger. Their "new" positions with UNDP have only been advertised for a week on a limited basis. There has not been a formal panel interview process but a mere "desk review" of the different candidates. Following that fast-track process, MM. Melkert and Gleeson recommended the appointment of Ms. Bahadur and M. Schmidt-Traub as policy advisors and, for the latter, head of the MDG support team. While both candidates show limited professional and managerial experience, they have furthermore benefited from promotions that are not linked with their background. Ms. Bahadur has been hired as P4 though she does not have the minimum professional required for that level (7 years). M Schmidt Traub has been appointed as P5 and head of MDG support team though he has very limited managerial experience (this position involves managing a team of 25 professional staff) no background in economics or development (M. Schmidt Traub has a degree in Chemistry).... At the junior level, some Research Associate staff do not even have master's degrees, which is mandatory to be considered even for an internship.

Following growing tensions among UNDP staff, M. Melkert, UNDP Associate Administrator, met the extended Poverty group team on December 1. He took full responsibility for the decisions made regarding the merger between the MP and the Poverty Group, including HR management decisions. The Associate Administrator considers that it is the role of UNDP's top management to make strategic decisions, including breaking UNDP HR policies in the name of necessity and higher interests. This approach is not acceptable within an international organization accountable to member countries and publicly funded.

Hopefully member states will take the opportunity of UNDP Executive Board meeting to ask UNDP Senior management for clarification on these matters."

            We share that final hope, and trust that this series will play some small role in cleaning up UNDP, for the benefit of the poor. And so this series will continue.

Here is / was UNDP's position on the above-described:

From: cassandra.waldon [at] undp.org
To: Inner City Press
Sent: Wed, 6 Dec 2006 6:27 PM
Subject: RE: Additional Qs re UNDP, response to your Q re deadlines, thank you in advance

Dear Matthew,

For the record, Jeffrey Sachs will continue to be involved with the UN’s effort on the Millennium Development Goals. As of 1 January, he will serve as Special Adviser to UNDP on the Millennium Development Goals. His salary will continue to be $75,000 per year.... we have decided to merge the work of the Millennium Project into UNDP. To this end, UNDP has set up a new sub-unit in our poverty group, which will consist of some 20 positions.

To complete the integration by the end of the year, UNDP management is using an expedited competitive recruiting process for five lead positions. These five positions have been advertised and are in the process of being filled.

Five other positions do not require a competitive process under UNDP recruitment procedures and will be filled with people currently working for the Millennium Project.

All other positions will be recruited according to standard UNDP recruitment procedures, and this process is on-going.

and then

In a message dated 12/8/2006 7:14:39 PM Eastern Standard Time, cassandra.waldon@undp.org writes:

Dear Matthew,
 
UNDP is working to address the numerous questions you have asked us. As many of your concerns touch upon similar kinds of issues we thought it might be helpful if we were to state, for the record:
 
--That we will no longer be responding to unsubstantiated allegations about UNDPís recruitment and personnel practices.  We urge you to desist from publishing such allegations...

--That we do not release the reports of our internal audits and investigations. The results of these reports are communicated on an annual basis to the UNDP Executive Board in the form of an annual Administratorís report on Internal Audit and Oversight...

  In this, UNDP lags behind even the rest of the UN System. Compare to Secretariat's Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS), under General Assembly Resolution 59/272 of December 23, 2004:

-- OIOS provides a summary of all of its reports to all member states as well as the general public in its annual reports; whereas UNDP only provides a summary of its reports to the limited membership of its executive board (with not even summaries provided to the general public).

-- OIOS makes some reports available as public documents; UNDP makes no reports available to the general public.

-- OIOS makes all non-public reports available to all member states at their request; UNDP makes only summaries (and not the full text of reports) available to only 36 out of 192 member states.

  This is not to say that the UN Secretariat is transparent enough -- rather, that UNDP is even less transparency, despite its $5 billion a year budget. Developing.

 Again, because a number of Inner City Press' UNDP sources go out of their way to express commitment to serving the poor, and while it should be unnecessary, Inner City Press is compelled to conclude this installment in a necessarily-ongoing series by saluting the stated goals of UNDP and many of its staff. As they used to say on TV game shows, keep those cards, letters and emails coming, and phone calls too, we apologize for any phone tag, but please continue trying, and keep the information, including but not limited to withheld internal audits, flowing.

Other Inner City Press reports are available in the ProQuest service and some are archived on www.InnerCityPress.com --

UNDP's Ad Melkert Says He Will Finally Increase Transparency, Describes Fraud in Russia, Dodges Uganda

In Eastern Congo, Kidnapper of UN Peacekeepers Is Made a Colonel, Clooney And Now Guehenno Might Stay

At the UN, Ocampo 1 Says Kony To Jail and Ocampo 2 Sees No Serious Bertucci Charges, Dueling Parties

In UNDP's Book, Strong's Scandals Are Missing, While Workers Complain, MMB Schmoozes the Korean Mission

At UNDP, Flighty Rhetoric Founders in Mismanagement, MMB's Net, a Genocidaire and Whither ECOSOC

At the UN, Disabled Are Freed from a Footnote, Murky Answers from Gbagbo to Kosovo to a Genocidaire

Countering UN's Vanity Press, UNDP Histories from Below, Brussels and Two Views of Omar Bakhet

At the UN, Indigenous Indignation, Revolving Door Mysteries and Peace Pipe Belatedly Smoked

At the UN, Questions of Congo Mass Graves and Kazana, Mugabe and Forests and Rich German Ships

UNDP Is Important For The Poor, and Therefore Must Be Made Transparent

As UN Speechifies, UNDP Audits Are Still Being Withheld, While War in Somalia and Sudan, Pronk Blogs On

Waste, Fraud and Abuse at UNDP in Vietnam, While UN Secretariat Urges Censorship

At the UN, Questions of Humanitarian Aid and Congo Body Count, Despots' Crackdown on Dissent

In UNDP, Questions of Money Wasted, Neutrality Trampled, Russian Office Audits Withheld and Sachs Expenses

From Baidoa to the UN, Denials on Ethiopian Troops Being in Somalia, Resolution Is Passed

Retaliation Found at UNDP, While Dervis Is Focused on Turkey, In Two Weeks Will Take Questions

Annan's Spokesman Silent on 150 Dead in Congo, War in Somalia - But in Loud Defense of UNDP's $567,000 Book

At the UN, Interlopers into Somalia Are Discussed, With Chadian Pull-Back, Peacekeepers and Uganda's Karamoja

UNDP Spent $567,000 on Book to Praise Itself, While the Well-Placed Feed Off UNDP's Core Budget and Prime Postings

As UNDP Questions Mount, Mark Malloch Brown Calls Them Irresponsible, Answers Only in Vanity Press

In UNDP Series, Questions of Jeffrey Sachs and Associates Payments, From $1 to $75,000

From Sleaze in Vietnam to Fights in DC-1, UNDP Appears Out of Control at the Top

On Somalia, Past Arms Embargo Violations Forgiven in Zeal to Contain Islamic Courts

In UNDP, Drunken Mis-Managers on the Make Praised and Protected, Meet UNDP's Kalman Mizsei

From Violent Disarmament in Uganda to the National Bank of Serbia, UNDP Leaves Others to Answer for It

UNDP Sources Say Dervis Fires Malloch Brown-linked Officials, Then Offers Hush-Up Jobs

On Somalia, Fiji and Oil-for-Food, UN Ambiguity Leads to Hypocrisy and Corruption

At the UN, Indigenous Rights Get Deferred, As U.S. Abstains, Deftly or Deceptively

At the UN, Threat and Possible Statement on Fiji Spotlights Selection and Payment of UN Peacekeepers

At the UN, China and Islamic Dev't Bank Oppose Soros and World Bank On How to Fight Poverty

At the UN, Misdirection on Somalia and Myanmar, No Answers from UNDP's Kemal Dervis

UNDP Dodges Questions of Disarmament Abuse in Uganda and of Loss of Togo AIDS Grant, Dhaka Snafu

At the UN, The Swan Song of Jan Egeland and the Third Committee Loop, Somalia Echoes Congo

UN Silent As Protesters Tear Gassed in Ivory Coast, As UNMOVIC Plods On and War Spreads in Somalia

In the UN, Uzbekistan Gets a Pass on Human Rights As Opposition to U.S. Grows and War's On in Somalia

At the UN, Cluster Bombs Unremembered, Uighurs Disappeared and Jay-Z Returns with Water -- for Life

From the UN, Silence on War Crimes Enforcement and Conflicts of Interest on Complaint from Bahrain

En Route to Deutsche Bank, the UN's Door Revolves, While Ban Ki-moon Arrives and Moldova Spins

As Two UN Peacekeepers Are Killed, UN Says Haiti's Improving, Ban Ki-moon on Zimbabwe?

Nagorno-Karabakh President Disputes Fires and Numbers, Oil and UN, in Exclusive Interview with Inner City Press

Inside the UN, Blaming Uganda's Victims, Excusing Annan on Mugabe, and U.S. Blocked Darfur Trip

U.S. Blocked Council's Trip to Darfur Meeting, Brazzaville Envoy Explains After U.S. Casts a Veto

At the UN, Council Works Overtime To Cancel Its Trip About Darfur, While DC Muses on John Bolton

UN Panel's "Coherence" Plan Urges More Power to UNDP, Despite Its Silence on Human Rights

On Water, UNDP Talks Human Rights, While Enabling Violations in Africa and Asia, With Shell and Coca-Cola

Will UN's Revolving Door Keep Human Rights Lost, Like Bush's Call and WFP Confirmation Questions?

On Somalia, We Are All Ill-Informed, Says the UN, Same on Uganda, Lurching Toward UNDP Power Grab

On WFP, Annan and Ban Ki-Moon Hear and See No Evil, While Resume of Josette Sheeran Shiner Is Edited

Would Moon Followers Trail Josette Sheeran Shiner into WFP, As to U.S. State Dep't?

At the UN, Positions Are Up For the Grabbing, Sun's Silence on Censorship, Advisor Grabs for Gun

In WFP Race, Josette Sheeran Shiner Praises Mega Corporations from Cornfield While State Spins

At the UN, Housing Subsidy Spin, Puntland Mysteries of UNDP and the Panama Solution

In Campaign to Head UN WFP, A Race to Precedents' Depths, A Murky Lame Duck Appointment

At the UN, Gbagbo and his Gbaggage, Toxic Waste and Congolese Sanctions

WFP Brochure-Gate? John Bolton Has Not Seen Brochure of "Official" U.S. Candidate to Head World Food Program

Ivory Coast Stand-Off Shows Security Council Fault Lines: News Analysis

At the UN, It's Groundhog's Day on Western Sahara, Despite Fishing Deals and Flaunting of the Law

"Official" U.S. Candidate to Head WFP Circulates Brochure With Pulitzer Claim, UN Staff Rules Ignored

Senegal's President Claims Peace in Casamance and Habre Trial to Come, A Tale of Two Lamines

A Tale of Two Americans Vying to Head the World Food Program, Banbury and Sheeran Shiner

At the UN, the Unrepentant Blogger Pronk, a Wink on 14 North Korean Days and Silence on Somalia

At the UN, Literacy Losses in Chad, Blogless Pronk and Toothless Iran Resolution, How Our World Turns

Sudan Pans Pronk While Praising Natsios, UN Silent on Haiti and WFP, Ivorian Fingers Crossed

UN Shy on North Korea, Effusive on Bird Flu and Torture, UNDP Cyprus Runaround, Pronk is Summoned Home

At the UN, Silence from UNDP on Cyprus, from France on the Chad-Bomb, Jan Pronk's Sudan Blog

Russia's Vostok Battalion in Lebanon Despite Resolution 1701, Assembly Stays Deadlocked and UNDP Stays Missing

As Turkmenistan Cracks Down on Journalists, Hospitals and Romance, UNDP Works With the Niyazov Regime

At the UN, Darfur Discussed, Annan Eulogized and Oil For Food Confined to a Documentary Footnote

With All Eyes on Council Seat, UN is Distracted from Myanmar Absolution and Congo Conflagration

As Venezuela and Guatemala Square Off, Dominicans In Default and F.C. Barcelona De-Listed

At the UN, North Korea Sanctions Agreed On, Naval Searches and Murky Weapons Sales

At the UN, Georgia Speaks of Ethnic Cleansing While Russia Complains of Visas Denied by the U.S.

At the UN, Deference to the Congo's Kabila and Tank-Sales to North Korea, of Slippery Eels and Sun Microsystems

At the UN, Annan's Africa Advisor Welcome Chinese Investment, Dodges Zimbabwe, Nods to Darfur

At the UN, Richard Goldstone Presses Enforcement on Joseph Kony, Reflecting Back on Karadzic

UN Defers on Anti-Terror Safeguards to Member States, Even in Pakistan and Somalia

Afghanistan as Black Hole for Info and Torture Tales, Photos and Talk Mogadishu, the UN Afterhours

Amid UN's Korean Uproar, Russia Silent on Murder of Anna Politkovskaya, Chechnya Exposer

UN Envoy Makes Excuses for Gambian Strongman, Whitewashing Fraud- and Threat-Filled Election

Sudan's UN Envoy Admits Right to Intervene in Rwanda, UNICEF Response on Terrorist Groups in Pakistan

At the UN, As Next S-G is Chosen, Annan Claims Power to Make 5-Year Appointments, Quiet Filing and Ivory Coast Concessions

Chaos in UN's Somalia Policy, Working With Islamists Under Sanctions While Meeting with Private Military Contractors

U.S. Candidate for UN's World Food Program May Get Lame Duck Appointment, Despite Korean Issues

At the UN, U.S. Versus Axis of Airport, While Serge Brammertz Measures Non-Lebanese Teeth

Exclusion from Water Is Called Progress, of Straw Polls and WFP Succession

William Swing Sings Songs of Congo's Crisis, No Safeguards on Coltan Says Chairman of Intel

Warlord in the Waldorf and Other Congo Questions Dodged by the UN in the Time Between Elections

In Some New Orleans, Questions Echo from the South Bronx and South Lebanon

In New Orleans, While Bone Is Thrown in Superdome, Parishes Still In Distress

At the UN, Tales of Media Muzzled in Yemen, Penned in at the Waldorf on Darfur, While Copters Grounded

US's Frazer Accuses Al-Bashir of Sabotage, Arab League of Stinginess, Chavez of Buying Leaders - Click here for video file by Inner City Press.

Third Day of UN General Debate Gets Surreal, Canapes and Killings, Questions on Iran and Montenegro and Still Somalia

On Darfur, Hugo Chavez Asks for More Time to Study, While Planning West Africa Oil Refinery

At the UN, Ivory Coast Discussed Without Decision on Toxic Politics, the Silence of Somalia

Evo Morales Blames Strike on Mobbed-Up Parasites, Sings Praise of Coca Leaf and Jabs at Coca-Cola

Musharraf Says Unrest in Baluchistan Is Waning, While Dodging Question on Restoring Civilian Rule

At the UN, Cyprus Confirms 'Paramilitary' Investigation, Denies Connection to Def Min Resignation, CBTB Update

A Tale of Three Leaders, Liberia Comes to Praise and Iran and Sudan to Bury the UN

UN Round-up: Poland's President Says Iraq Is Ever-More Tense While Amb. Bolton Talks Burmese Drugs, Spin on Ivory Coast

As UN's Annan Now Says He Will Disclose, When and Whether It Will Be to the Public and Why It Took So Long Go Unasked

At the UN, Stonewalling Continues on Financial Disclosure and Letter(s) U.S. Mission Has, While Zimbabwe Goes Ignored

At the UN, Financial Disclosure Are Withheld While Freedom of Information Is Promised, Of Hollywood and Dictators' Gift Shops

UN's Annan Says Dig Into Toxic Dumping, While Declining to Discuss Financial Disclosure

A Still-Unnamed Senior UN Official in NY Takes Free Housing from His Government, Contrary to UN Staff Regulations

UN Admits To Errors in its Report on Destruction of Congolese Village of Kazana, Safeguards Not In Place

As UN Checks Toxins in Abidjan, the Dumper Trafigura Figured in Oil for Food Scandal, Funded by RBS and BNP Paribas

Targeting of African Americans For High Cost Mortgages Grew Worse in 2005, While Fed Downplays Its Own Findings

The UN and Nagorno-Karabakh: Flurries of Activity Leave Frozen Conflicts Unchanged; Updates on Gaza, Gavels and Gbagbo

The UN Cries Poor on Lawless Somalia, While Its Ex-Security Chief Does Business Through Ruleless Revolving Door

At the UN, Micro-States Simmer Under the Assembly's Surface, While Incoming Council President Dodges Most Questions

"Horror Struck" is How UN Officials Getting Free Housing from Governments Would Leave U.S., Referral on Burma But Not Uzbekistan

Security Council President Condemns UN Officials Getting Free Housing from Governments, While UK "Doesn't Do It Any More"

At the UN, Incomplete Reforms Allow for Gifts of Free Housing to UN Officials by Member States

Rare UN Sunshine From If Not In Chad While Blind on Somalia and Zimbabwe, UNDP With Shell in its Ear on Nigeria

Annan Family Ties With Purchaser from Compass, Embroiled in UN Scandal, Raise Unanswered Ethical Questions

At the UN, from Casamance to Transdniestria, Kosovars to Lezgines, Micro-States as Powerful's Playthings

Inquiry Into Housing Subsidies Contrary to UN Charter Goes Ignored for 8 Weeks, As Head UN Peacekeeper Does Not Respond

On the UN - Corporate Beat, Dow Chemical Luncheon Chickens Come Home to Roost

Stop Bank Branch Closings and Monopolies in the Katrina Zone, Group Says, Challenging Regions- AmSouth Merger

Ship-Breakers Missed by UN's Budget for Travel and Consultants in Bangladesh, Largest UNIFIL Troop Donor

With Somalia on the Brink of Horn-Wide War, UN Avoids Question of Ethiopian Invasion

In UN's Lebanon Frenzy, Darfur Is Ignored As Are the Disabled, "If You Crave UNIFIL, Can't You Make Do With MONUC?"

UN Decries Uzbekistan's Use of Torture, While Helping It To Tax and Rule; Updates on UNIFIL and UNMIS Off-Message

On Lebanon, Russian Gambit Focuses Franco-American Minds, Short Term Resolution Goes Blue Amid Flashes of Lightening

Africa Can Solve Its Own Problems, Ghanaian Minister Tells Inner City Press, On LRA Peace Talks and Kofi Annan's Views

At the UN, Jay-Z Floats Past Questions on Water Privatization and Sweatshops, Q'Orianka Kilcher in the Basement

In the UN Security Council, Speeches and Stasis as Haiti is Forgotten, for a Shebaa Farms Solution?

UN Knew of Child Soldier Use by Two Warlords Whose Entry into Congo Army the UN Facilitated

Impunity's in the Air, at the UN in Kinshasa and NY, for Kony and Karim and MONUC for Kazana

UN Still Silent on Somalia, Despite Reported Invasion, In Lead-Up to More Congo Spin

UN's Guehenno Says Congo Warlord Just Needs Training, and Kazana Probe Continues

With Congo Elections Approaching, UN Issues Hasty Self-Exoneration as Annan Is Distracted

In DR Congo, UN Applauds Entry into Army of Child-Soldier Commander Along with Kidnapper

Spinning the Congo, UN Admits Hostage Deal with Warlord That Put Him in Congolese Army

At the UN, Dow Chemical's Invited In, While Teaming Up With Microsoft is Defended

Kofi Annan Questioned about Congolese Colonel Who Kidnapped Seven UN Soldiers

UN Silent As Congolese Kidnapper of UN Peacekeepers Is Made An Army Colonel: News Analysis

UN's Guehenno Speaks of "Political Overstretch" Undermining Peacekeeping in Lower Profile Zones

In Gaza Power Station, the Role of Enron and the U.S. Government's OPIC Revealed by UN Sources

UN's Corporate Partnerships Will Be Reviewed, While New Teaming Up with Microsoft, and UNDP Continues

BTC Briefing, Like Pipeline, Skirts Troublespots, Azeri Revelations

Conflicts of Interest in UNHCR Program with SocGen and Pictet Reveal Reform Rifts

UN Grapples with Somalia, While UNDP Funds Mugabe's Human Rights Unit, Without Explanation

UN Gives Mugabe Time with His Friendly Mediator, Refugees Abandoned

At the UN, Friday Night's Alright for Fighting; Annan Meets Mugabe

UN Acknowledges Abuse in Uganda, But What Did Donors Know and When? Kazakh Questions

In Uganda, UNDP to Make Belated Announcement of Program Halt, But Questions Remain (and see The New Vision, offsite).

Disarmament Abuse in Uganda Leads UN Agency to Suspend Its Work and Spending

Disarmament Abuse in Uganda Blamed on UNDP, Still Silent on Finance

Alleged Abuse in Disarmament in Uganda Known by UNDP, But Dollar Figures Still Not Given: What Did UN Know and When?

Strong Arm on Small Arms: Rift Within UN About Uganda's Involuntary Disarmament of Karamojong Villages

UN's Selective Vision on Somalia and Wishful Thinking on Uighurs

UN Habitat Predicts The World Is a Ghetto, But Will Finance Be Addressed at Vancouver World Urban Forum?

UN's Annan Concerned About Use of Terror's T-Word to Repress, Wants Freedom of Information

UN  Waffles on Human Rights in Central Asia and China; ICC on Kony and a Hero from Algiers

UN & US, Transparency for Finance But Not Foreign Affairs: Somalia, Sovereignty and Senator Tom Coburn

Human Rights Forgotten in UN's War of Words, Bolton versus Mark Malloch Brown: News Analysis

In Praise of Migration, UN Misses the Net and Bangalore While Going Soft on Financial Exclusion

UN Sees Somalia Through a Glass, Darkly, While Chomsky Speaks on Corporations and Everything But Congo

Corporate Spin on AIDS, Holbrooke's Kudos to Montenegro and its Independence

The Silence of the Congo and Naomi Watts; Between Bolivia and the World Bank

Human Rights Council Has Its Own Hanging Chads; Cocky U.S. State Department Spins from SUVs

Child Labor and Cargill and Nestle; Iran, Darfur and WHO's on First with Bird Flu

Press Freedom? Editor Arrested by Congo-Brazzaville, As It Presides Over Security Council

The Place of the Cost-Cut UN in Europe's Torn-Up Heart;
Deafness to Consumers, Even by the Greens

Background Checks at the UN, But Not the Global Compact; Teaching Statistics from Turkmenbashi's Single Book

Ripped Off Worse in the Big Apple, by Citigroup and Chase: High Cost Mortgages Spread in Outer Boroughs in 2005, Study Finds

Burundi: Chaos at Camp for Congolese Refugees, Silence from UNHCR, While Reform's Debated by Forty Until 4 AM

The Chadian Mirage: Beyond French Bombs, Is Exxon In the Cast? Asylum and the Uzbeks, Shadows of Stories to Come

Through the UN's One-Way Mirror, Sustainable Development To Be Discussed by Corporations, Even Nuclear Areva

Racial Disparities Grew Worse in 2005 at Citigroup, HSBC and Other Large Banks

Mine Your Own Business: Explosive Remnants of War and the Great Powers, Amid the Paparazzi

Human Rights Are Lost in the Mail: DR Congo Got the Letter, But the Process is Still Murky

Iraq's Oil to be Metered by Shell, While Basrah Project Remains Less than Clear

Kofi, Kony, Kagame and Coltan: This Moment in the Congo and Kampala

As Operation Swarmer Begins, UN's Qazi Denies It's Civil War and Has No Answers if Iraq's Oil is Being Metered

Cash Crop: In Nepal, Bhutanese Refugees Prohibited from Income Generation Even in their Camps

The Shorted and Shorting in Humanitarian Aid: From Davos to Darfur, the Numbers Don't Add Up

UN Reform: Transparency Later, Not Now -- At Least Not for AXA - WFP Insurance Contract

In the Sudanese Crisis, Oil Revenue Goes Missing, UN Says

Empty Words on Money Laundering and Narcotics, from the UN and Georgia

What is the Sound of Eleven Uzbeks Disappearing? A Lack of Seats in Tashkent, a Turf War at UN

Kosovo: Of Collective Punishment and Electricity; Lights Out on Privatization of Ferronikeli Mines

Abkhazia: Cleansing and (Money) Laundering, Says Georgia

Post-Tsunami Human Rights Abuses, including by UNDP in the Maldives

Citigroup Dissembles at United Nations Environmental Conference

Other Inner City Press reports are available in the ProQuest service and some are archived on www.InnerCityPress.com --

            Copyright 2006 Inner City Press, Inc. To request reprint or other permission, e-contact Editorial [at] innercitypress.com - phone: (718) 716-3540