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At UN, National Competitive Exams Are "Suspended," Favoritism Gaining

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

UNITED NATIONS, May 1 -- One of the UN's few mechanisms against favoritism, its National Competitive Exam, has quietly been "suspended," Inner City Press has learned.  The UN's website states that "the National Competitive Exam (NCE) aims to improve geographic diversity amongst staff, which is essential for a truly diverse international civil service and is also very important to Member States." Earlier this year, Inner City Press was shown an e-mail sent out by a senior official in the UN's Office of Human Resources Management, headed by Catherine Pollard, that NCE is being scrapped.

  At the May 1 noon briefing, Inner City Press asked Deputy Spokesperson Marie Okabe if this is true, and if so what would replace the NCE. Ms. Okabe said she knew nothing about this. But later in the afternoon, apparently prepared by the Department of Management headed by Angela Kane, the following arrived:

Subj: your question about national competitive exams
To: Inner City Press
Sent: 5/1/2009 1:43:07 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time

UN is not scrapping the National Competitive examinations. We have temporarily suspended these exams for revamping to make them more efficient.

  Many have asked, why suspend the exam "for revamping" -- why not just design whatever improved system is ostensibly desired while continuing with the existing exam, through which applicants from under-represented countries can compete to work for the UN?

UN's Angela Kane, center, in last long ago press conference, new one needed

Others say that one of the other few UN merit pathways, the G to P test, is also being suspended. These people guess that neither will return in positive form. Some Missions are said to be angry, as they learn of this anti-reform. Watch this site.

Footnote: so many Department of Management issues have arisen -- unlicensed dispensing of controlled narcotics in the Medical Services, asbestos controversies in the Capital Master Plan, failure to discipline in Nairobi and DESA, procurement irregularities -- that it seems time for a press conference by Angela Kane. Other say that a meeting was held at the U.S. Mission to "get the top DM post back." We'll see.

  Click here for a new YouTube video, mostly UN Headquarters footage, about civilian deaths in Sri Lanka.

Click here for Inner City Press' March 27 UN debate

Click here for Inner City Press March 12 UN (and AIG bailout) debate

Click here for Inner City Press' Feb 26 UN debate

Click here for Feb. 12 debate on Sri Lanka

Click here for Inner City Press' Jan. 16, 2009 debate about Gaza

Click here for Inner City Press' review-of-2008 UN Top Ten debate

Click here for Inner City Press' December 24 debate on UN budget, Niger

Click here from Inner City Press' December 12 debate on UN double standards

Click here for Inner City Press' November 25 debate on Somalia, politics

and this October 17 debate, on Security Council and Obama and the UN.

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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

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