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Cut-Backs at UNDP Seen as Helen Clark Run for SG, Deals & Faux Fight-Back

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, May 30, more here -- For weeks there have been rumblings about “Helen Clark's cut backs” at UNDP, the UN Development Program.

   This week the rumbling spiked, with the UNDP staff union holding a meeting in the UN's basement on May 29 to discuss the loss of up to 30% of UNDP's jobs in New York.

  Another source told Inner City Press that Clark wants to “force people, many women, many who are head of household, to be deported after one month [when their G-4 visas would expire], and force many staff who are just 2, 3, 4 years from early retirement age out, so they will miss out on their after-service health insurance. If they get away with this at UNDP, it will quickly spread to the rest of the UN system. Oh, and by the way, the men and women at D1, D2 and ASGs are unaffected.”

  This, Secretariat staff say, is similar to current Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's mobility or “5 year rule” - now imposed on regular staff, but seemingly not applied Ban's higher ranking friends. UNease is growing. Another description here, from IPS.

  The connection is that Helen Clark wants to replace Ban Ki-moon as Secretary General, despite the the post as his successor said to be reserved for the Eastern European group which has never held it. Clark is banking on gender trumping geography, and job cutting seems to be her campaign issue for Western, donor countries.

  A well placed source tells Inner City Press Clark told management currently employed at UNDP to “drop what they are doing and work on her campaign” for S-G, they would be rewarded with a higher post in the Secretariat if she comes to replace Ban.

Footnote: In the Secretariat, the hold-over staff union which barely fought Ban during its time in power now presents itself as supporting UNDP worker, and as... still the staff union, despite the December vote and controversy since.
   This rift only benefits those pushing for lay-off, just like the UN's Censorship Alliance getting the first question and big room results in softball coverage of the UN, here. We'll and the Free UN Coalition for Access will have more on this.


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