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Losing WFP Fight, Sheeran Sets Sail for WEF, Cousin Fix In UN System Fog?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, January 3 -- This morning Josette Sheeran, the head of the World Food Program who didn't want to leave, announced that when her term ends in April she will become the deputy at the World Economic Forum.

  As Inner City Press reported in early November, Sheeran was enlisting Republican members of the US Congress to threat to cut funding to WFP if she did not get a second term.

  But Barack Obama had in mind a former Chicago public relations executive Ertharin Cousin. Conveniently, Cousin has been serving as US Ambassador to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, whose director along with Secretary General Ban Ki-moon nominates the head of WFP. So it would seem the fix is in.

  Back in July 2009, as Inner City Press exclusively reported,

"UNITED NATIONS, July 11 -- On the sidelines of the G-8 meeting on July 10, the World Food Program shut down its headquarters for a "simulated food distribution" for the spouses of the G-8 leaders, flying in school children from Ghana to put them on display. Many WFP staff members found the display disgusting, a waste of money and a disrespect to UN recipients. U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama may have shared some of the concerns: she did not attend... Sheeran, rumored to be under review by the the U.S. which nominated her under George Bush, conducted a 'seminar' which some attendees found awkward and stilted, 'a quest for personal publicity.'"

 There was also some less public jockeying: again as Inner City Press exclusively reported, within the UN system community in Rome, many alleged Sheeran engaged in a quid pro quo with then FAO chief Jacques Diouf, hiring a relative of his for an information technology post in exchange for FAO hiring the husband of her personal assistant, Tanujah Rastogi.

  (Cousin, we note in passing, once served as Deputy Director of the Chicago Ethics Board.)

 One thing Sheeran can be credited with during most of here WFP tenure is not shying from questions, in marked contrast to most other UN system executive in Ban Ki-moon five years.

(c) UN Photo
Ban gives Sheeran a picture: (Chicago) boot not shown

Footnote: Sheeran's announcement was re-tweeted by the head of the UN Development Program Helen Clark, who like Ban's chief lawyer Patricia O'Brien has refused multiple requests to take questions in New York, the headquarters of UNDP.

So here's a question for UNDP: does the agency deny, or why has it covered it, that the Sudanese National Security Committee has barred it from entering Al Muglad in South Kordofan, including having vehicles detained by military intelligence for days in Babanusa and being barred from passing to El Obeid in North Kordofan? There are of course other questions. Watch this site.

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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

Click here for Sept 26, 2011 New Yorker on Inner City Press at UN

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