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Bolivia Heads G77 Today, Day After UN Layoffs & Denials, Showdown?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, January 8 -- Two months ago, that Bolivia would come to head the Group of 77 was first reported on November 6 by Inner City Press. Today, Evo Morales is in New York to accept the hand-over from Fiji's foreign minister.

   In the interim, between Christmas and New Years, a UN budget deal was concluded which resulted in UN staff getting "notices of termination" -- layoff letters -- handed to them on January 6.

  (The UN spokesperson on January 7 refused to confirm the layoff letters, referring instead to a Town Hall meeting Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will have on January 9 at 9:30 am, 24 hours after meeting Evo Morales. But Inner City Press has now published one of the layoff letters, here.)

   While the Group of 77 works on a number of issues within the UN system, it is a major player in UN budget negotiations, as evidenced by Fiji's omni-presence in the UN's North Lawn building throughout December, and Algeria's the year before.

   Closing speeches in December made much of Ban Ki-moon in March 2014 "getting his way" on a mobility plan not fully accepted by staff, and on a corporate partnership scheme headed by long-time American UN official Robert Orr (a sample partner, here, at UN January 7 with no read-out yet.)

  What positions will Bolivia-led G77 take on these? On the current layoffs, and those to come? We will be covering this. 

  "Game on," one G77 Permanent Representative told Inner City Press back in November. The G-77 sources said the timing is propitious, including given Bolivia's standing up on issues like the searching of Evo Morales' plane.

  (On the night of January 7, amid frigid temperature, Morales' plane landed without incident, as tweeted by Bolivia's Permanent Representative Sacha Llorenti.)

  They said, again speaking exclusively to Inner City Press, that while in the past the UN Secretariat's budget proposals were closer to the side of the developing world, and then richer countries tried to scale them back, now "Ban Ki-moon has sided in advance with the rich."

  Similar cuts are proposed in the UN Development Program and also UNICEF, with talk of "nodes," under Anthony Lake, outsourcing and off-shoring jobs from New York. These were denounced by many speakers at an October 31 meeting of the Staff Union. Click here for that.

   Y ahora de verdad, Bolivia. Watch this site.


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