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Link of Colombia's World Cup Team to Cocaine by UN Goodwill Ambassador

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 18 -- The UN system has said it is trying to clean up its Goodwill Ambassadors program, as Inner City Press exclusively reported in January, here.

  But now UNICEF's Dutch Goodwill Ambassador Nicolette van Dam, in the middle of the World Cup, has tweeted a photo-shopped mock-up of Colombia national team members James Rodriguez and Falcao Garcia snorting, like cocaine, the white spray now used to limit how close to stand to a free kick.

  "Colombian wall," was Nicolette van Dam's caption.  Click here to view.  Many Colombians naturally were less than pleased, as were some in the UN system (at least at UNICEF in Colombia). But what will be done?
  (Colombia's team is set to play Cote d'Ivoire on June 19.)

Previously, that Libya's Colonel Moammar Gaddafi's daughter Aicha Gaddafi was a UN "Goodwill Ambassador," when first reported by Inner City Press in February 2011, was an issue the UN did not want to address.

  First Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesperson's office left the question unanswered after Inner City Press asked at the February 20, 2011 noon briefing. Three days later, former UN Deputy Secretary General Mark Malloch Brown told Inner City Press he hoped it wasn't true -- but it was.

  Now UN sources have exclusively provided Inner City Press with a draft proposal that, if implemented, might avoid for the UN some such embarrassments and outrages in the future. The proposal, from UNDP, is that the UN system discourage naming as Goodwill Ambassadors "immediate family members of individuals holding or running for political office, as well as members of Royal Households."

   Ironically, UNDP even as it makes this proposal has as a Goodwill Ambassador Crown Prince Haakon Magnus of Norway. But it would apply to many other current UN system Goodwill Ambassadors, such as the First Ladies of Cameroon and the Dominican Republic, and Royal family members of Jordan, the UAE, Morocco, Norway, Denmark, Monaco, Bhutan and Thailand.

  Here exclusively are two proposed paragraphs, then how they would apply to current UN practice, and a comment -- appreciated and included for fairness -- from the UN's Outreach Division chief, Maher Nasser, that updates are needed.

  Some might call them too-rare reforms:

Messenger of Peace/Goodwill Ambassador draft guidelines & meeting minutes

Dear All, With our apologies, please find a revised version of the draft guidelines. We neglected to add language that UNDP had proposed.

FN3: "immediate family members" replaces "spouses"

The designation of immediate family members of individuals holding or running for political office, as well as members of Royal Households, is discouraged to avoid the appearance of vested interest.

PARA18: the following text has been added

5. Appointment letters should specify the beginning and end dates of the term of the appointment. If a decision is made to terminate or not renew a partnership with a Goodwill Ambassador or Messenger of Peace, an official letter shall be sent expressing appreciation for his/her services and clearly indicating the date on which the partnership comes to an end. Language should also be included specifying that as of that date, the individual should no longer use the title of Goodwill Ambassador or Messenger of Peace, and that his/her biographical data, websites and other promotional materials should be modified accordingly.

We understand that some of you have shared the previous version with your legal departments, and very much regret this inconvenience.

As always, we look forward to your feedback.

Please review the guidelines and convey your agency's approval of this version by 31 January.

Best regards,

Chief, NGO Relations, Advocacy & Special Events
NGO Relations
Creative Community Outreach Initiative
Messenger of Peace Programme

   Aicha Gaddafi was, clearly, an immediate family member of a person holding office. But currently, for example, the UN system has the following as Goodwill Ambassadors, many of them " members of Royal Households" --

Her Royal Highness Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein of Jordan, spouse of HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates, Ruler of Dubai

FAO: Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak al Ketbi (United Arab Emirates)

Margarita Cedeño de Fernández (Dominican Republic) First Lady

UNAIDS: HRH Crown Princess Mette-Marit (Norway)

Her Serene Princess Stephanie (Monaco)

UNICEF: HM Queen Rania (Jordan)

UNESCO: Chantal Biya (Cameroon) First Lady of Cameroon

H.R.H. the Princess of Hanover (Principality of Monaco)

H.R.H. Princess Firyal of Jordan

Bahia Hariri (Lebanon) Parliamentarian

H. R. H. Princess Lalla Meryem of Morocco

UNWOMEN: HRH Princess Bajrakitiyabha Mahidol (Thailand) Granddaughter of the Thai King

HRH Princess Basma bint Talal of Jordan

UNDP: Crown Prince Haakon Magnus of Norway

UNFPA: Princess Basma Bint Talal of Jordan

Ashi Sangay Choden Wangchuck (Bhutan) Queen Mother of Bhutan

Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Mary of Denmark

WFP: HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn (Thailand)

Inner City Press sought comment from the UN's Outreach Division; its director Maher Nasser quickly replied:

"On the Goodwill Ambassadors, the existing guidelines are several years old and in need of an update.  We have been working with the focal points in the UN System on Goodwill Ambassadors to update them for quite a while now. Until these are approved by all, this is still work in progress, so I cannot comment on the specific language until it is final.

"The revised draft aims to ensure consistency in the selection criteria of GWA across the UN system and that we are able to best harness the potential created by a celebrity's association with a UN organization and/or a certain cause."  We'll have more on this. Watch this site.


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