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

Reuters AlertNet 8/17/07

Reuters AlertNet 7/14/07 7/19/07 6/29/07 6/14/7 6/1/7

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 --

UN Staff Council Votes to Tell Ban to Make UNDP's Dervis Accept Ethics Office, Stop "Culture of Impunity"

Byline: Matthew Russell lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis

UNITED NATIONS, August 29 -- The UN Staff Council on Wednesday passed a resolution calling on Ban Ki-moon to require the Administrator of the UN Development Program Kemal Dervis to comply with the protection against retaliation policy and accept the jurisdiction of the UN Ethics Office.  Portions of the resolution are below.

            As reported exclusively by Inner City Press on August 20, Dervis rebuffed Ethics Office chief Robert Benson following his finding that former UNDP staffer Tony Shkurtaj was retaliated against for reporting irregularities in UNDP's program in North Korea. In the nine days since, Ban has staked out a position supporting Dervis, and "passing the buck," in the words of one Council diplomat, to the General Assembly to perhaps place future whistleblowers, but not Shkurtaj, under the Ethics Office's protections.

            The Staff Council's Second Vice President, just prior to the vote, said that the question is whether the whistleblower policy will "have the force of law."  A question had been asked about a UNDP Staff Union resolution which was said to have also passed. The Second Vice President's response what that while the resolution concerns "a staff member of UNDP," it is also impacts staff of the Secretariat: if the Ethics Office is weakened, so are whistleblower protections throughout the UN System. This might explain Benson's plea, so far rejected, to Ban and Dervis to accept Ethics Office jurisdiction over UNDP "for the good of the UN." Now the UN Staff Council has asked for the same thing. But will Ban listen?

Ban and UN Staff Council, June 15, 2007 - meeting, but is he listening?

            Since UNDP is now seeking to get its Executive Board to accept terms of reference for an inquiry to purportedly replace the Ethics Office, in which UNDP Administrator Kemal Dervis would choose his own investigator, the question is also raised regarding what the Executive Board members will do on and about the UN Staff Council's resolution. As one staff member put it, how far does the "culture of impunity" referred to the resolution extend? The resolution goes one step further and urges Ban to recommend to the General Assembly "the establishment of the Internal Justice Council." As Staff Council officials often say, without a meaningful and binding internal justice system, including but not limited to whistleblower protections, the UN will continue to lose prestige and foster a culture of corruption and impunity.

            Pertinent portions of the resolution adopted Wednesday by the UN Staff Council:

Transparency, Accountability and Justice

Upholding Ethical Conduct

Noting that the General Assembly under its resolution 60/1 urged the Secretary-General to scrupulously apply the existing standard of conduct and develop a system-wide code of ethics for all United Nations personnel...

Aware that a staff member of the [UNDP] who had the courage to report a significant case of misconduct and was declared a whistleblower by the Ethics Office suffered retaliation and is not longer employed by the United Nations;

Noting the findings of the Ethics Office that it would have supported a determination that a prima face case of retaliation has been established in this case had UNDP agreed for the case to be pursued within the parameters of ST/SGB/2005/21;

Dismayed that UNDP contends that its autonomy overrides the provisions of ST/SGB/2005/21 which is administrative law promulgated by the Secretary-General as the Chief Administrative Officer of the entire United Nations family and not parts thereof;

Concerned that the refusal of the Administrator [of] UNDP to abide by the administrative law provisions promulgated by the Secretary-General confirms that the culture of impunity permeating the higher levels of the organization, complemented by a dysfunctional internal justice system;

Reiterating that the Ethics Office and Office of the Ombudsman cannot operate in isolation and must be underpinned by a fully independent internal justice system, as recommended by the Secretary-General's own redesign panel on the UN system of administration of justice (A/61/205).

The Council decides:

To request the Secretary-General

(a) direct the Administrator of UNDP to comply fully with the administrative law provisions of ST/SGB/2005/21;

(b) to take appropriate measures to safeguard the interests of the complainant in accordance with the provisions of ST/SGB/2005/21 para 5.6;

(c) to recommend the General Assembly approve the establishment of the Internal Justice Council, pursuant to para 142 of the Redesign Panel's report.

* * *

 Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

Feedback: Editorial [at]

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

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

Search WWW Search

Other, earlier Inner City Press are listed here, and some are available in the ProQuest service.

            Copyright 2006-07 Inner City Press, Inc. To request reprint or other permission, e-contact Editorial [at] -

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

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