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In OCHA Race, Cameron Said "Rude" to Ban, Spelman Eyed, Mladenov Future

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive Follow Up

UNITED NATIONS, January 30, more here, Video I here -- Minutes after the UN announced on November 26  the departure of Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs chief Baroness Valerie Amos, Inner City Press asked UN Deputy Spokesperson Farhan Haq if the vacancy would be advertised for candidates from all countries, or if it is set aside for Amos' United Kingdom.

  On January 30 Inner City Press was reliable informed that UK Prime Minister David Cameron telephoned Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and said -- "rudely," according to denizens of the UN's 38th floor -- that despite the UK's submission of two additional names, below, Ban "must" pick Andrew Lansley.

  These sources say that Ban, as if to prove independence, will NOT choose Lansley but will keep the post UK, choosing on a progressive basis the female candidate, Caroline Spelman.

 But as Inner City Press exclusive reported on January 26, it appears the UK may be preparing itself -- unsuccessfully so far -- for the real possibility of entirely losing the OCHA post. Multiple sources on January 26 told Inner City Press that the UK has sought to take over the Iraq UN Special Representative of the Secretary General post currently held by Nickolay Mladenov.

  (Inner City Press already knows where Mladenov is slated to go, to a post whose holder has surpassed Ban Ki-moon's stated five year rule, but for now is sworn to withhold the information. Watch this site.)

  The nomination to replace Mladenov was interpreted as related to the UK seeing the OCHA post going to another candidate, whether from Germany (Martin Kobler), Italy, the UAE or elsewhere.

  But, sources on the UN's 38th floor tell Inner City Press, the answer to the UK successor to Mladenov in Iraq has been "no."

 Inner City Press asked the UK mission for comment on both -- "the UK proposed nominee to succeed Nickolay Mladenov as SRSG in Iraq / UNAMI, and separately how this might be related to the competition to replace Valerie Amos atop OCHA" -- and had been told "Senior appointments are subject to open competition and are the decision of the Secretary-General."

  Inner City Press is informed by multiple sources that it was directly to the Secretary General's office on the 38th floor that the kibosh was put on UK nominee for UNAMI in Iraq.

 (Another no: On January 16, Inner City Press asked, will the aid groups OCHA works with play any role in the review? Video II here.)

  Back on January 9, Inner City Press exclusively reported that the UK after first submitting only the name of Andrew Lansley has added too more, scarcely more qualified.

   And, significantly, the Italy had nominated Emma Bonino, sources exclusively told Inner City Press, and Germany nominated Martin Kobler, currently the head of the UN's Mission in the Congo.

  On January 14, Inner City Press was informed by sources of another candidate, a minister from the United Arab Emirates, Lubna Khalid Al Qasimi, a member of the ruling family of Sharjah. The UAE has, it is noted,, the "Humanitarian City." And the UAE did give $1 million to OCHA's CERF last month.

   Bonino is well regarded in international circles -- one source said she is "too strong a character" for UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to choose, another notes, sadly, health concerns -- and Kobler after Iraq has his experience in the Congo, for better and worse. Either is more experience than the UK troika.

  Beyond Lansley, whose qualification is a brief visit to UN health conferences, the other UK candidates sources tell Inner City Press are Caroline Spelman and Stephen O'Brien. 

  On January 17, Inner City Press asked Ban's lead spokesman Stephane Dujarric, video here, transcript here:

Inner City Press: On the OCHA recruitment process to find the new person, I've been informed that the UK has submitted two additional names to make a total of three, that Italy, Germany and UAE have also put forward names and I'm sure others.  So, is it a wide open process?  Have other countries submitted more than one?  Is it still a matter of looking, giving in the first instance a look to the UK of those three names? What of the request by a number of highly respected humanitarian NGOs [non-governmental organizations] that the inter-agency standing committee, i.e. these NGOs that are outside of the UN system, be given some role in the review process?  And I wanted to know what’s the response of the Secretary to that request.

Spokesman Dujarric: Obviously, the recruitment process has been to get the best possible person.  Not for the first time, you seem to have more information than I do.  I have to say, we will not go into the details of the recruitment process.  As we said earlier, a call went out for names, for candidates.  A recruitment process is ongoing but the Secretary-General is solely responsible and it is being done under his authority.

Inner City Press:  In previous cases, even when there's no short list given out, there's a review panel, and I guess the request… since it's been made semi-publicly in a petition, especially for a job that involves providing aid in conjunction with NGOs all over the world--

Spokesman Dujarric:  I think the Secretary-General and his senior staff are well aware of what the job implies.  And one could argue that every senior job in the UN involves working with outside partners.  The recruitment is being handled by the Secretary-General and his staff.
  So... no. Another no.

  Could the UK really lose this Under Secretary General post? It's looking more likely. If Kobler were chosen, would fellow German Angela Kane have to leave? We'll have more on this.


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