Budget Endgame Has Genocide and R2P, Iran Against Political Missions
December 23 -- The UN Budget
fight went into overtime
Thursday evening on the issues of genocide and the Responsibility to
Nicaragua put forward a proposal to bar the UN Special Representative
on Genocide from having anything to do with R2P, which they say is a
concept which has never been approved by the UN General Assembly and
which could be used for imperialist interventions.
place in the context of Cote d'Ivoire strongman Laurent Gbagbo
issuing threats against the UN peacekeepers there.
night UN officials Susana Malcorra, Catherine Pollard and Controller
Yamasaki were on hand to lobby for the Secretariat, neither R2P
Special Adviser Ed Luck nor current top genocide official Francis
Deng were seen on Thursday evening.
UNTV stake out
had been set up for statements to the Press. Ban Ki-moon's
spokespeople had left, and would not hold a briefing until 2011. Thus
are billions fought for and spent.
UN's genocide man Denger, R2P and budget not shown
diplomats milled around the UN's North Lawn building while
negotiations continued in Conference Room 5. “OICT is done,” a
delegate called out, referring to the Office of Information and
Communications Technology. A final deadline was announced: 10 or
10:45 in the General Assembly.
votes were still predicted on Durban III and on Iran's challenge to
the Group of Experts on its Sanctions Committee, and to Special
Political Missions more generally.
General Assembly met in its old building, but only to act on the
Credentials Committee's recommendation to accept the new Cote
d'Ivoire Mission personnel appointed by Ouattara. President of the
General Assembly Joseph Deiss quickly read out the proposal and
quickly gaveled approval.
and Namibia protested that they had
wanted to speak, even to ask for a postponement. But Deiss would not
relent. With other countries asking to speak, Deiss suspended the
meeting, to reconvene only when the Budget Committee is ready.
* * *
Votes On Durban III & Iran Sanctions Panel, R2P & Staff
December 22/23 -- With the UN Budget
committee at work at
2:30 am on December 23, the number of issues on which a contested
vote would be called was whittled down to two, or three at most. The
main achievements, though, would be under or unreported, committee
members complained to Inner City Press.
some, Iran is still calling for a vote on the funding of the Panel of
Experts of its Sanctions Committee. On the other side of the coin,
the Durban III event in September will be voted against by, among
others, Canada -- which has already said it won't participate.
at 2 am is a merger of functions of the offices for the Prevention of
Genocide and of the Responsibility to Protect. The opponents of R2P
say it has never been approved, and oppose the merger.
Committee members mill around past midnight, with bottles of wine and
pizza boxes on tables, a deal is said to be near on R2P, while votes
are predicted on Iran's Panel of Expert and on Durban III.
Committee members bemoan the lack of coverage of the bigger ticket
items: continuing contracts and so-called common system. As one
heart felt developing world committee member told Inner City Press,
staff are 70% of the UN's costs and therefore its major asset.
need to be given security, especially working in some of the most
dangerous places in the world. And to pay funds and programs staff
more than Secretariat makes no sense. This too, they say, will be
part of the package.
votes, it is
predicted, still come December 23. Watch this site.
* * *
Sanctions Group, UNICEF
21 -- The UN budget committee has begun its ritual
of all night meetings to finish before Christmas. This year the
global financial crisis has finally hit home, as one delegate put it
to Inner City Press, in the discussion of the “common UN system”
or “harmonizing contracts.”
are additional political issues
around the UN's funding of a Durban conference review day in
September, and Iran trying to defund the Panel of Experts of its
contracts has been a theme since September in the budget
committee. UNICEF came and argued that it should be allowed to pay
its people more, since it needs “better” people in order to
attract private sector support.
UNHCR and the
World Food Program,
among others, came to make the same pitch. The phrasing, and the
arrogance, troubled many.
grew more subtle with example of staffers leaving UN peacekeeping
missions in order to work for UNICEF to earn more money. There are
also examples of seeming UN peacekeeping officials, like Alan Doss
when in Liberia and the Congo, secretly being under better paid UNDP
avoid at least
some of these scams, the proposal is to harmonize contacts, with some
sort of a phrase in or grandfathering period. This may raise costs,
and countries which are cutting back pay to their own workers are
hard pressed to vote increases for UN system staff.
Permanent Representative of Tunisia recently admitted to Inner City
Press that his country's announced plans for a Youth Conference have
fallen through due to lack of funding. Still, a deal is predicted for
December 22 or 23.
complaining about Ban Ki-moon's Secretariat not doing enough of the
heavy lifting on “continuing contracts,” leaving Missions like
Singapore having to do the calculations.
recorded vote is
predicted on funding the Durban III day in September, and perhaps on
Iran's proposal to defund its Sanctions Committee. Why aren't North
Korea and Sudan, for example, making the same proposal to undercut
their Sanctions Committee?
Tuesday's UN noon briefing, Inner City Press asked Ban's acting Deputy
Spokesman Farhan Haq for any comment from Ban about Durban III. "The
member states decide," he said.
UN's Ban and Controller Yamazaki, (not) taking the 5th
referred from the Third Committee is the question of Myanmar. Despite
evidence that staff time has been redevoted from Myanmar to other uses
in the Department of Political Affairs, nothing has yet been done.
the North Lawn, the new venue for budget committee rituals, included
two diplomats from Cote d'Ivoire chatting nervously with the Press. Earlier
Ban Ki-moon urged the General Assembly to disaccredit
Permanent Representative Djedje. What would this mean for others in
the Ivorian mission? Their budget expert just keeps working. It is
the Fifth Committee ethic. Watch this site.