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To Head UNDP, Sources Tell ICP Dutch Koenders After Electoral Loss Is In the Mix, Changes

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive series

UNITED NATIONS, March 22 – When an elected official's party loses out, particularly in favor of a so-called populist, where to look for a job? For now one answer is the United Nations, where sources exclusively tell Inner City Press that Dutch Burt Koenders, whose Labor Party lost badly while Geert Wilders' PVV picked up five seats, is now vying to head the UN Development Program. Koenders was previously UN envoy in Cote d'Ivoire and Mali, on both of which Inner City Press has questioned him. He is not un-open. But there may be changed afoot at UNDP. We'll have more on this.

  The race to replace Irina Bokova atop UNESCO, the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, has candidates from Qatar and Egypt facing off, with the former procuring it seems more support. The full list of nine candidates is here.

The UNESCO circus has had another Clinton connection: the announced candidacy of Lebanese expatriate Vera El Khoury Lacoeuilhe, affiliated with St. Lucia and, it's reported, Gilbert Chagoury, the Lebanese-Nigerian businessman whose Clinton ties emerged in emails released by the US State Department.

  How is St. Lucia's representative to UNESCO chosen?

  How does Dominica choose to whom to give passports, including for example Macau-based businessman Ng Lap Seng, facing trial for UN bribery, accorded no due diligence by the UN communications chief Cristina Gallach? A phrase that in telling Inner City Press about these processes diplomats keep using is "For Sale." We'll have more on this - and on the future of UNESCO and other UN system agencies.

  With the UN system facing 40% budget cuts from the US, on January 25 UN Development Program chief Helen Clark confirmed she will leave on April 19. On January 26, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric refused to disclose when Inner City Press asked the process to pick a replacement.

  The unwritten process for UNICEF, the UN children's agency, and the World Food Program is better known. The current Democrat Party appointees, Anthony Lake and Ertharin Cousin respectively, are expected to resign and Secretary General Antonio Guterres will ask the US, presumably through Nikki Haley, for three American names.

Will it go that way this time? Will Trump accept the decision being made between three names? If France was able to impose the incompetent Herve Ladsous on the UN, and Spain the censor Cristina Gallach, will even the three-name game now stand?

 Beginning on the day Nikki Haley arrived at the UN, and Inner City Press exposed the extension of the contract of Clinton-aligned Jeffrey Feltman so that his UN pension could vest, this will be an Inner City Press series.

  Even further back than the US has controlled the UN Department of Political Affairs (through Lynn Pascoe and Jeffrey Feltman, to whom we have questions pending), it has held WFP: Catherine Bertini, James Morris, Josette Sheeran, Etharin Cousin.

And UNICEF, under both political parties (see, Veneman): Bellamy, Veneman, Anthony Lake.

 So on January 27, Inner City Press asked the UN's holdover spokesman Stephane Dujarric, after he called Inner City Press' questioning on the use of taxpayers' funds "despicable," this, from the UN Transcript:

Inner City Press:  this is on the theme of transition, because I wanted to know, as you may know, Nikki Haley, in written responses to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, talked about working early… in early days on WFP (World Food Programme) and UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund).  And, although yesterday you’d said that there’s a well-established procedure as to UNFP… UNDP, I wanted to know, what is the procedure for this administration of the UN, in terms of replacing the heads of WFP and UNICEF?  It… are you saying that it’s… it’s open to all countries as… as I guess it’s stated, but it seems… my understanding… [inaudible]

Spokesman Dujarric:  There are stated rules.  And those will be followed.

Inner City Press:  Then why is it that some countries have controlled these posts five and… four and five times in a row?  And, if so…  [inaudible]

Spokesman:  That’s not a question… that’s not a question I’m able to answer.

Inner City Press:  It is a question…

Spokesman:  It’s not a question… I’m not saying it’s not a question.  I’m saying it’s a question I’m not able to answer.

Inner City Press:  Have you seen letters of resignation from Ertharin Cousins or Anthony Lake?

Spokesman:  Not that I’m aware of.  Good day.  Thank you.

  As to UNDP, while Inner City Press first reported the interest of France's Segolene Royal in replacing Clark, and the UK's David Miliband has also been mentioned (but see below).

 On January 26, Inner City Press asked UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric what the process will be, and about (UN) transparency. Video here, from the UN transcript:

Inner City Press: now that Helen Clark has said that she'll be leaving by 19 April, can you describe what the process will be that António Guterres will use to choose a new administrator of UNDP (United Nations Development Program)?  Has he received nominations, for example… [Inner City Press said Miliband and Segelone Royal, the UN did not transcribe.]

Spokesman:  No, we was… he was…  He was informed by Helen Clark of her desire to step down at the end of her… of her term.  There is a well-determined process of consultations between the Secretary-General and the Executive Board of UNDP on finding a successor, and that process will be followed.

Inner City Press:  Yesterday, he met with the French Minister of Development and Francophonie.  I was kind of expecting some kind of a readout.  Did I miss one?  Was one put out?

Spokesman:  No, there was no readout that I know of.

Inner City Press:  And I wanted to ask, I guess, related to that, there are some in the South Korean media asking to know where it's available to find the daily schedules that are put up every day.  Are they just thrown out, or is there some repository of who met with the Secretary-General…?

Spokesman:  Well, I'm glad you're… you've asserted a role as the Spokesman for the South Korean media but they can look on the website, and everything should be archived.


 On January 26 Inner City Press asked UK Ambassador to the UN Matthew Rycroft, video here, UK transcript:

Inner City Press: Does the UK support David Miliband to head UNDP?
Amb Rycroft: We look forward to working with Helen Clark in her final months in office and with her successor, and no further comment. [end]

  Some UN sources have told Inner City Press this post, "like UNICEF and WFP, may go to an American." We'll see.

  Of the candidates to replace the increasingly discredited Ban Ki-moon as UN Secretary General, Clark was the most active on social media.

She also, as Inner City Press exposed, had UNDP go after a UNDP staff who dared tweet criticism of her.

She was once getting a tobacco award but when exposed by Inner City Press, turned it down. There's more to be said but the news of the day is the impending budget cuts.

 And why WAS France minister for development meeting with and lobbying Antonio Guterres on January 25? We'll have more on this.


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