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UNDP to Cut 10%, Off-Shore 20%, Grumbling of Clark Cutting to Run for SG

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, November 18 -- There is a drive to be seen as saving money, throughout the UN system. Today Inner City Press profiles how it is happening within the UN Development Program, and why.

UNDP under Helen Clark hired Accenture to study ways to cut costs, calling it the "Structural and Cost Effectiveness Review." Accenture sent a team, which most staff never saw if heard of, working "on-site at UNDP Headquarters from July to October." Inner City Press has obtained and is publishing the executive summary of the UNDP Accenture Report, here.

The report urges "moving remaining staff to the field... High-demand countries such as Afghanistan and the Democratic Republic of Congo require dedicated teams; for program countries below $50MM it is important to ensure that each desk officer, moved to the region for relevance, is not responsible for more than 3-4 countries."

The overall plan they have arrived at involves a straight cut of 10%, and sending another 20% out to the field -- or, in the phrasing of the UNDP "Structural Review FAQs" Inner City Press obtained and is publishing today, "reversing the current HQ:regional staff ratio from 60:40 to 40:60."

  UNDP has "Global Shared Service Centers" in Copenhagen and Kuala Lumpur.

  A similar off-shoring of jobs from New York including to Kuala Lumpur is underway at UNICEF, run by American Anthony Lake.

  Helen Clark was prime minister of New Zealand; her right-hand there Heather Simpson is now leading the charge for cuts at UNDP. And why?

  There's grumbling that while the next UN Secretary General is supposed to come from the Eastern European group and "probably" be a woman, there's a move by New Zealand and allies to push Helen Clark for the job. There's talk of offers directed at Eastern Europe to back down.

  A high profile campaign of "reform" and cost-cutting at UNDP, in this context Inner City Press is exclusively informed, would be part of a Helen Clark campaign for UNSG. UNDP staff grumble that at the most recent Executive Board meeting, it was not said that 30% had to be cut (or 10% cut, 20% off-shoring). So what changed?

   Helen Clark has held even fewer media question and answer sessions in New York than her predecessors Ad Melkert and Kemal Dervis, as documented and protested by the Free UN Coalition for Access @FUNCA_info. On these extensive cuts, she should answer questions. Watch this site.


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