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UN's Malaria Envoy Ray Chambers Seeks to Avoid Conflicts of Interest, Was Invited by WHO

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

UNITED NATIONS, February 14 -- A UN envoy for malaria was announced on Thursday, Raymond Chambers, New Jersey-based financier turned philanthropist. Chambers said he would be taking a leave of absence from Malaria No More, although a scientist and a publicist from that organization accompanied him to Thursday's press conference. Inner City Press asked if Chambers will continue with the MCJ Amelior Foundation, which recently hired away from the State of New Jersey's youth agency Kevin Ryan, its director of two years. Ryan, who will start on March 8, said his title and duties are still under discussion. In a letter to agency staff, Ryan said that its interests include "the eradication of malaria through Malaria No More, an organization it helped create." If as Chambers stated there would be a conflict between his UN role and Malaria No More, how not its founder or creator, MCJ Amelior Foundation? Chambers' candor was appreciated, but questions remain to be answered.

Malaria victim in Burundi, philanthropists not shown

            Chambers said that it was the World Health Organization's Margaret Chan who, in September 2007, asked if he would be interested in the position. Video here, at 54:03. He was already in the UN loop, with the UN Foundation and ubiquitous poverty expert Jeffrey Sachs, most recently on the UN campus in the glitzy Madonna - Gucci event held in a one-day-only structure on the UN's North Lawn. It is not known if Ray Chambers was there as well.

    Inner City Press asked how he will work with UN Envoy on Tuberculosis Jose Sampaio, former Portuguese president and long-time Baltimorean. Given Chambers' Newark roots, they could talk about urban policy -- and perhaps also about the UN's public financial disclosure program. Whereas Ban's climate envoy filed, it appears that these health envoys, other than the AIDS envoy for the Pacific, aren't required to, or won't. 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

  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 installment in a necessarily-ongoing series by saluting the stated goals of the UN agencies and many of their staff. 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 flowing.

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Other, earlier Inner City Press are listed here, and some are available in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.

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

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