"....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
Friday, July 23, 2010
Disquiet grows over performance of Ban Ki-moon, UN's 'invisible man'
When Ban Ki-moon visited Washington for the first time as United Nations secretary general in January 2007 to speak at one of the city's most prestigious foreign policy forums, hundreds turned up to size up the man heading the world organisation.
Boredom and disappointment set in quickly. A bland speech, one platitude on top of another, had the audience checking their phones and BlackBerries or slouching in their seats for an early evening doze.
The South Korean is now in his fourth year of a five-year term in office but the impression he left that evening at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies has not improved in the intervening years. One foreign policy analyst, ranking the eight secretary generals since the founding of the UN in 1945, placed him joint bottom.
The disquiet about Ban became public this week in a leaked 50-page internal memo sent to him from one of his inner circle, under-secretary general Inga-Britt Ahlenius, before she left office. "I regret to say that the secretariat is now in a process of decay. It is not only falling apart … it is drifting into irrelevance," wrote the Swede, who was in charge of financial oversight of the UN. She described Ban's failure to fill key posts and other decisions as "deplorable" and "seriously embarrassing for yourself".
Ahlenius is concerned mainly with what she sees as interference in her department. But interviews with senior UN staff, politicians and diplomats by the Guardian over the last year confirmed that the unease is widespread throughout the UN. Even staff loyal to Ban in public will admit in private that, though a nice, affable and hardworking secretary general, he has struggled to make an impact in international affairs and that the organisation has been seriously weakened.
One recently retired UN official said that one of Ban's biggest handicaps was his lack of fluency in English, which made it difficult for him to win over audiences in the US and elsewhere. "We have got him diction lessons and media training," the former official said. The diction lessons, sometimes as often as two to three times a week, have helped, but not enough. "We advised him to make fewer television appearances. He is a hard sell."
Ban is up for re-election next year by the UN general assembly and, with the backing of China and probably the US, he will almost certainly secure a second five-term term, taking him up to the end of 2016. But criticism such as that by Ahlenius will not help, and there are hints that the Obama administration is becoming unhappy about his stewardship of the world organisation.
In an interview with the Guardian earlier this year in Washington, Ban indicated he is likely to seek a second term. But he acknowledged the personal hurt caused by criticism of his performance, insisting it was unfair. "As a public servant, I know that my performance of my job needs to be constantly under scrutiny and I welcome any constructive criticism … Sometimes I have found some of such criticism has been based on misunderstanding or not fully appreciating what kind of person I am and what my job requires me to do."
Courteous and friendly, he became agitated only once during the interview, when asked about criticism of promotions within the UN of Siddarth Chatterjee, his son-in-law, a former major in the Indian special forces.
"This kind of thing is just unfair. He joined [the UN] 15 years before I ever joined," the secretary general said. "He is a professional person, a very distinguished person. When he was transferred from Kenya to Iraq, do you think it was nepotism? If someone wants to give a favour, [would he move a person] from Kenya to Baghdad, which was regarded as dangerous? … It is criticism for the sake of criticism." Ban apologised afterwards for becoming what he described as "emotional".
Asked to list his achievements, he said modesty required it to be left to others to make that judgement, before going on to list what he regarded as three successes: climate change, UN administrative reform and the championing of human rights.
Denying the December Copenhagen summit on climate change had been a failure, Ban said: "No, I don't think Copenhagen was a failure. There was room for improvement in procedure, in how we can make it more inclusive or transparent, but when it comes to substantive elements, I think it was quite a success."
Copenhagen was the turning point for Steve Schlesinger, a former UN staffer and author of Act of Creation, about the organisation's founding. Schlesinger, who had been initially supportive of Ban, said he became increasingly disenchanted. "I soon enough became concerned about his inability to communicate well, and even more troubled by his seemingly futile efforts to resolve various crises around the world," he said.
He described Copenhagen as an abject failure. "After all, global warming had been his singular cause. This is the one issue on which he was most passionately identified," Schlesinger said.
Thomas Weiss, politics professor at the City University of New York and author of several books on the UN, is even tougher on his record. Asked to rank Ban alongside his predecessors, Weiss placed him in joint last position alongside Trgyve Lie, the Norwegian who presided over a long list of diplomatic failures, and Kurt Waldheim, the Austrian whose controversial role in the Wehrmacht during the second world war only fully emerged after he had left office. "Each tarnished the UN in different ways and accomplished very little," Weiss said.
Weiss compares Ban unfavourably with his predecessor, Kofi Annan, who is charismatic, a good media performer and popular in Europe and elsewhere round the world for standing up to the Bush administration over the Iraq war.
"While it is perhaps unfair to compare the current secretary-general with his telegenic and charismatic predecessor, Ban Ki-moon has set a new standard for being invisible," Weiss said, adding: "I think he feels comfortable with blending into the background."
At the UN headquarters in New York, at present undergoing a major refit, Ban's staff defend him in public, saying that their boss operates best out of the limelight – what they call quiet diplomacy, private conversations with world leaders, avoiding embarrassing or hectoring them in front of television cameras.
Kiyo Akasaka, UN under-secretary general for communications, who is Japanese, sees the problem as a cultural one, a clash of east and west. Asians, he said, appreciate his Confucian values, the emphasis on self-effacement, self-discipline and understatement. "To eyes of Asians, his behaviour has been like that of the wise man, the sage in Oriental philosophy who does not speak as articulately as you might expect in the leaders of the western world," he said. "I can see that the Western world has a different kind of expectation in its leaders, including the element of charisma."
Nick Haysom, a South African who is Ban's director of political affairs, blamed the media, saying the secretary general was frustrated over being caricatured as invisible when he made outspoken comments that the media then failed to report.
Haysom, who was former legal adviser to Nelson Mandela, dismissed objections of the UN being run by a South Korean clique, with Ban placing Koreans in several key posts, including Kim Won-soo as his deputy chef du cabinet.
Haysom praised Kim, who he said was unfairly portrayed as an eminence gris, saying he was an extremely productive member of the team.
Joseph Nye, one of most respected foreign affairs analysts and still supportive of Ban, believes he will get a second term. The Harvard professor, who taught Ban and who was a senior figure in the Clinton administration, said: "He had a hard act to follow, given his predecessor's charisma and media skills, but note that good relations with the security council is essential to effectiveness, and Ban Ki-moon has managed that well."
Ban was appointed to the job mainly because it was Asia's turn, under an unofficial rotation system, and partly because the Bush administration wanted someone less outspoken than Annan.
John Bolton, the neoconservative hawk who at the time was US ambassador to the UN, an organisation he is hostile towards, acknowledges that he supported Ban because he wanted an administrator rather than someone who used the UN as a pulpit. "Ban is not, as his predecessor was, the secular pope. As a Lutheran, I don't believe in religious popes or secular ones. Mother Teresa had moral authority. The secretary general does not," Bolton said.
The Obama administration, unlike the Bush administration, might prefer a bigger presence at the top of the UN than Ban but is unlikely to block a second term, not wanting to offend South Korea, where he is a hero.
Asked about a second term, Ban hesitated and smiled. "It is too early for me to think about my future second term." But his subsequent words were a virtual confirmation that he would. "Of course, if member states want, I am ready to serve."
But Schlesinger, though he describes Ban as "a nice man with a good heart who wants to do the right thing, even if this job seems beyond him," is not in favour. "If he were to retire and not seek a second term, not a lot of people would be upset," he said
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."