"....The staff is sick and tired of the impunity extended by the office of the Secretary-General to senior managers for their failings especially in situations where it has led to death and disability....."
- UN Staff Union
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Do critics of UN meat report have a beef with transparency?
The 2006 UN report said global meat production was responsible for 18% of greenhouse gas emissions. Photograph: Mikhail Mordasov/AFP/Getty Images
There's been lots of excitement in the blogosphere and beyond over the news that, following the recent furore over the IPCC reports, the United Nations has been forced into yet another embarrassing reinvestigation of its data.
This time it's the turn of the highly influential report called Livestock's Long Shadow, which was published by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in 2006. Its headline conclusion was that global meat production was responsible for 18% of greenhouse gas emissions, which was slightly more than all of the world's cars, trains, and planes combined. This astonishing fact has been cited ever since by environmentalists and, in particular, vegetarian advocacy groups as a good reason in itself to reduce meat consumption. I myself have mentioned the report when writing about this subject.
This is how the latest revelation has been reported over the past couple of days:
The paper, called Clearing the Air: Livestock's Contributions to Climate Change, was first published last October in the journal Advances in Agronomy. In it, Mitloehner argued that while full lifecycle analysis was used to calculate the emissions for the meat sector, this wasn't the case for the transport sector, where only the fossil fuels burned by the vehicles was included, not the emissions resulting from manufacturing the vehicles.
"This lopsided 'analysis' is a classical apples-and-oranges analogy that truly confused the issue," Mitloehner told the meeting.
The BBC's Richard Black has since contacted the FAO's livestock policy officer, Pierre Gerber, and asked him for his reaction.
"I must say honestly that he [Mitloehner] has a point - we factored in everything for meat emissions, and we didn't do the same thing with transport," he told Black. "But on the rest of the report, I don't think it was really challenged."
Fair enough. On this evidence, it certainly seems worth examining this apparent mismatch between the methodologies used to calculate the emissions of each sector. I have no problem with that at all.
What does seem odd, though, is that none of the reports that I have seen so far have thought to mention who funded the original report. Just a cursory check online is all it takes to reveal the source of the funding. After all, it was mentioned in the original press release put out by the university last December:
Clearing the Air is a synthesis of research by the UC Davis authors and many other institutions, including the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, US Environmental Protection Agency, US Department of Agriculture, California Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board. Writing the synthesis was supported by a $26,000 research grant from the Beef Checkoff Program, which funds research and other activities, including promotion and consumer education, through fees on beef producers in the US. Since 2002, Mitloehner has received $5m in research funding, with 5% of the total from agricultural commodities groups, such as beef producers.
Well, that's a rather interesting paragraph, isn't it? It's funny how none of this information made it into those gleeful reports. First, let's learn some more about the Beef Checkoff Program. It appears to be an initiative of the Cattlemen's Beef Board, which, according to its website, "consists of 106 members, including domestic beef, dairy and veal producers, as well as importers of beef and beef products".
The checkoff is a producer-funded marketing and research program designed to increase domestic and/or international demand for beef. This can be done through promotion, research and new product development, and a variety of other marketing tools. The Cattlemen's Beef Board and USDA [US Department of Agriculture] oversee the collection and spending of checkoff funds.
And what about the "$5m in research funding" that Mitloehner has received since 2002? As is right and proper, Mitloehner freely publishes all the details on his website as a pdf document. Here we learn that, over this period, he has received $40,000 from the National Pork Board, as well as sizeable grants from the US Department of Agriculture and something called the Agriculture Air Research Council (AARC), which, according to the Pork Checkoff website, is "an independent, non-profit organisation … formed to oversee and manage the air emissions research. The AARC board of directors has two representatives from each participating livestock sector, including one member from the National Pork Board and one from the National Pork Producers Council."
In other words, Mitloehner's research over the past eight years has been significantly funded by representatives of the US livestock industry and the government department charged with overseeing this multi-billion dollar industry.
Let me make this perfectly clear: I'm not saying that Mitloehner is a bought-off scientist in the pocket of Big Beef. As I said earlier, I actually think his claims are worthy of further investigation and I'm pleased this now appears to be taking place. It's not like he's trying to hide this information – it's just a click away on his website. My beef is that this funding information has not been deemed worthy of inclusion in the reports and blogs that have been so quick to leap on Mitloehner's findings as, in their eyes, further proof that environmentalists are just a bunch of unscientific cranks.
Spin it on its head for one moment: remember how climate sceptics were punching the air over the revelation that the so-called"HimalayaGate" error in the IPPC's fourth assessment report had resulted from a WWF document? For some sceptics, this fact alone immediately invalidated the whole report.
I think everyone agrees that transparency is a worthy goal so maybe in the future all sides of this debate can aim to include information such as this as a basic principle? Just a thought.
637 UNDP Staffers are Millionaires, and another 1041 UNDP staffers have enough salary (income) to justify million dollar homes in New York (or tri-state area NY/NJ/CT).
UN/UNDP's budgets are untransparent !
U.N. budget is “utterly opaque, untransparent and completely in the shadow” and would benefit from being consolidated and audited from the outside. MMB from NyTimes
JOSE RAMOS HORTA - PRESIDENT OF EAST TIMOR
‘‘You know how many layers of bureaucracy there are when the European Union wants to help East Timor? Well, they don’t provide the funds to us, the funds allocated are managed by world bank. And the world bank has its own layers of bureaucracy. And they charge for that. The project is then managed by UNDP. But UNDP is only good at doing studies, they don’t execute projects.’‘
Boutros Boutros-Ghali on UN:
"perhaps half of the UN work force does nothing useful"
Can Helen Clark be trusted on Climate Change ?
President Obama's answer to Helen Clark's appeal for US to do more on climate change was : "I think the American people right now have been so focused, and will continue to be focused, on our economy and jobs and growth that ... if the message is somehow, we're going to ignore jobs and growth simply to address climate change, I don't think anybody's gonna go for that," he said. "I won't go for that."
In 2011 Rami Makhlouf - a trusted development partner of UNDP in Syria
In 2008 U.S. Treasury designation: Rami Makhluf Designated for Benefiting from Syrian Corruption (Click on photo to see US Treasury page)
"Screwed" How Foreign Countries Are Ripping America Off
A full chapter (7) dedicated to UNDP and UN Secretariat. But it today at Amazon.com (click above picture)
There was an error in this gadget
Asma al-Assad is UNDP's champion of reform in Syria
UNDP's special relations with dictators and terror is well documented. Yet, they continue to operate covered by UN Immunity. Click on immage for story.
Aicha Gaddafi You are Fired !
UNDP continues to be in bed with other dictators. Will clean it one at a time.
Where is NETAID money David Morrison?
UNDP Transparency Censored
UNDP's moto is: - eliminate the uncomfortable, frighten those who disagree, "educate" the perplexed..
UNDP Chief Finance Officer
The UNDP is a secretive organization and so far has kept in the dark every information related to its Chief Finance Officer and Deputy Assistant Administrator, Mr. Darshak Shah. Click on the picture for more on Finance Office of UNDP.
UNDP Belarus - best breast corner
Should tax-payers dollars be used to photograph beautiful breasts - even when making a valid point?
Uncle Helen turning UNDP into a cove of corrupt NZ labour politicians
CLICK ON PICTURE TO SEE Chris Carter's latest Credit Card scandal - can he work at UNDP after that? It seems YES he is full tested!!
Helen Clark says: "No more cars"
Thinking about buying a new car this year? Why, you evil Westerner! You don’t need that. You are demanding your new car off the sweat, toil, and exploitation of the world’s poorest people in developing countries.
Eveline Herfkens belongs to Jail - she should return imemdiately Dutch Taxpayers money.
if anyone else would have done what Eveline Herfkens did, would have long been in jail. We denounce this impunity and demand justice.
Andrew Mitchell - says Helen Clark is up to no good!
1. UNDP’s partnership with the World Bank needs to be more effective, particularly in fragile and crisis-affected countries. 2. UNDP’s near universal mandate means its technical resources are spread very thinly. The Board does not provide strategic direction. HR management is weak. It has a weak results chain. 3. There is limited evidence of active senior management consideration of cost control. Country evidence points to mixed progress on demonstrating cost-efficiency. 4. The Executive Board is politicised and there is a lack of consensus on the key areas for reform. It is not clear that current plans for change will deliver the required depth and breadth of reform. 5. Evidence gathered at country level was highly critical of UNDP’s ability to deliver results. Its delivery can be undermined by staffing issues and bureaucratic processes. 6. Its performance in fragile states is mixed. It has reasonable training and a range of guidance and analytical tools but struggles to fill posts. 7. There is no evidence that the Climate Strategy was directly guiding resource allocation decisions
Mark Malloch Brown outraged over Aicha Gaddafi
“I hope she's not a UNDP Ambassador,” ...“I don't think it's UNDP. I was surprised when I saw that... she was an Ambassador to any part of the UN system.”
Travel Palestine - Rediscover Your Senses
Get ready to a sensual feast of ...sounds...scents of The Land of حماس Ḥamās Documentary sponsored by UNDP Funds (click on picture for video)
Helen Clark on UNDP's own corruption (Can she be trusted?)
“When funds intended for life-saving treatment and prevention are stolen, that theft is tantamount to murder.” CLICK ON PICTURE FOR MORE
Scandal in Rwanda with Human Development Report
Aurelien Agbenonci, UNDP's RR in Kigali accuses Khalid Malik of making up data without UNDP Rwanda's knowledge. Rwanda Government is unhappy !!!
H.E. Dirk Niebel - German Development Minister
"I take the accusations made in the media concerning corruption and breach of fiduciary duty at the Global Fund very seriously and I am sure that the Fund will clarify the matter without delay. Germany is one of the biggest donors to the Global Fund. I have therefore seen to it that a special review will be held. I have frozen all further disbursements to the Fund until matters have been fully clarified, and I will ask a representative of the Fund to come to the BMZ to discuss the matter."
US Amb. Joseph Torsella blows the whistle on UN budgets
U.N. Secretariat’s proposed $5.2 “regular” budget for 2012-2013, was “simply loosening our belt a little less than we originally planned.”
The U.N. Exposed
How the United Nations Sabotages America's Security and Fails the World (Click in picture to purchase the book)
Share now information about illegal dealings at United Nations
If you are in possession of UNDP or any other United Nations Agency' contracts, correspondence, financial records or databases, which you believe detail wrongdoing such as fraud, mismanagement and abuse of authority, and you have failed to have UN's internal control, oversight and justice systems respond and/or react to your claims, you can send them to UNDP-WATCH and we will make them public keeping your identity anonymous and confidential.
Send an email to: email@example.com
Helen Clark is watching you!
Gaddafi aint got nothing on UNDP - Click on the picture for more!
Malakia: A Turk advises Greece on Economy
Kemal Dervis (Turkish) and George Papandreou (Greek) share many late-night phone calls together (Click on picture to read story)
Where does Ban stand on Libya?
C'est vraiment ce que tu veux pour ta carriere?
United Nations Dispute Tribunal finds Ethics Office decisions Appealable
Because UNDT is the first level of the UN’s two-tiered justice system, there is a possibility that this decision may be appealed. Hopefully, the Secretary-General will not be “absurd” enough to do so. Click above to go to GAP page.
Andrew Mitchell Demands Transparency from United Nations
And I promise you as well that in future, when it comes to international development, we will want to see hard evidence of the impact your money makes. Not just dense and impenetrable budget lines but clear evidence of real effect
YOUR TAX DOLLARS AT UNITED NATIONS
Ban Ki Moon supports Ethics Decision on UNDP North Korea
Question: He recommends strongly that UNDP pays 14 months back pay to the whistleblower. Does the Secretary-General stand behind that recommendation? Should UNDP in fact pay that money, or are they free to rebuff that recommendation? Spokesperson: We will see what is going to happen. The Secretary-General of course is behind Mr. Benson on his report. There is no doubt about it. What UNDP will do, we will be seeing this; how they will implement that report.
UNDP Watch is a grouping of United Nations Staff committed to openness. We believe that everyone has the right to access information held by United Nations.
Despite a stated commitment to openness, UNDP remain a highly secretive agency.
Although a wealth of information is available on some UNDP websites, its Executive Board operate behind closed doors, much important programme and administrative information is never made available and, as a rule, information that is disclosed is provided only after relevant decisions have effectively been taken.
While UNDP has adopted “internal policies” on information disclosure, they in fact operate on precisely the opposite presumption. For the most part, they list which documents will be disclosed and when, and there is a presumption against the disclosure of all the other information they hold. They do not establish right of access, the lists of documents subject to disclosure is limited, they do not set out clear and narrow grounds for refusing access and they do not provide for independent oversight mechanisms to ensure proper implementation of the policy.
The UNDP WATCH is calling for the complete overhaul of these policies.
"...We believe that without accountability, there is impunity. We ask that you (Secretary General) not be complicit in cover-up of what happened prior to 11 Dec attack. The staff is sick and tired of the impunity extended by the office of the Secretary-General to senior managers for their failings especially in situations where it has led to death and disability."