Thursday, December 30, 2010

In Sudan, Disarmament Irregularities Freeze UN Program in Referendum Run Up

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, December 29 -- Mismanagement and corruption in the UN system, hardly rare, sometimes comes to light at a particularly bad time. Such is the case in Sudan with irrregularity in the disarmament programs run by the UN Development Program.

Less than a month before the Southern Sudan secession referendum which many predict may give rise to a renewed civil war, UNDP confirmed in response to questions from Inner City Press that it has suspended seeking funding for its disarmament programs.

This is the answer provided to Inner City Press by the UN's Spokesman's Office:

From: UN Spokesperson unspokesperson-donotreply [at]
Subject: Answers to your questions
To: Inner City Press
Date: Wed, Dec 29, 2010 at 7:42 PM

SUDAN Please provide the UN system's response..

Our colleagues at UNDP provided the following: “The UN’s DDR programme in South Sudan is facing challenges. The UN’s team in Sudan was concerned that the total number of former combatants, and women associated with the armed forces, that have been reintegrated has been low. That is why we commissioned an independent review and why an internal audit is currently on going. UNDP management expects that the review will enable us to improve the focus of the programme, assess the objective conditions for its implementation and take a critical look at the project and local capacities on the ground. It will also help us in terms of the redesign of the programme and only then will we seek future funding.

We take audits and evaluations very seriously so as to improve our performance on the ground. The issues you highlight in your questions are being critically examined. Once the review has been thoroughly studied and the audit completed, it is vital that corrective measures be taken rapidly and in consultation with all parties involved.

In Southern Sudan, registration, disarmament not shown

The overall political context under which this programme operates is the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). As you know, some of the planning assumptions in the CPA have not yet materialized on the ground, increasing the complexities and challenges of implementing the programme.

More broadly, this programme is operating in a state that is recovering from a long civil war. That has a very significant impact on the results of reintegration --whether it is the abject poverty in many rural areas, the lack of opportunities or the almost non-existent infrastructure.

That being said we owe it to the people of South Sudan and our donors to make this programme as successful as possible despite all of the difficulties. We are always looking for ways to improve it and make the intra-UN cooperation more effective.”

While the investigation and suspension of requests for more funding is all to rare in the UN system in response to unveiled irregularities, it comes at a very bad time. Some call it inexcusable. Watch this site.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Maurice Strong advising United Nations in China on Carbon Offset Trading

Buying carbon offsets for China ?

No problem - UNDP China Office is hiring the best - Maurice Strong, so he can provide qualitative advice on how to offset China's pollution with "UN's Carbon Certificates".

Thursday, December 16, 2010

UNDP is seating on $317 Million unspent Dollars destined to Iraqis

UNDP's Multi-Donor Trust Fund for Iraq

These funds are seating in UNDP Bank accounts earning 2-3% APR, while Iraqis die every day.

Friday, December 10, 2010


Current challenges and measures to address them

2. For the 2006-2007 biennium the Board of Auditors had issued a modified audit opinion, in which, among other concerns, there were three matters of emphasis, namely, the unreconciled inter-fund account mainly with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), deferred revenue and non-expendable assets. The financial situation of the organization has improved significantly over the course of the last three biennia. This has occurred despite the fact that in the last five years, in addition to a number of significant write-offs, UNOPS made exceptionally high bad-debt provisions, covering sizeable losses from prior periods, and made full accrual for all end-of-service liabilities, including after-service health insurance. As at December 2009, UNOPS reserves were fully replenished at $42.7 million, representing an addition of some $38.4 million since December 2005.

Issues to watch and risks to mitigate

In paragraph 45, UNOPS agreed with the Board’s reiterated prior recommendation to review its accounting policies regarding revenue recognition, as part of its preparation for IPSAS implementation.

1. UNOPS has established an IPSAS project board to drive the organization-wide

transition from UNSAS to IPSAS by January 2012. UNOPS is presently reviewing

and drafting its revenue recognition policy for project revenue. The policy will be

based on the percentage completion method.

Department responsible: Finance

Status: In progress

Priority: High

Target date: December 2010

In paragraph 48, UNOPS agreed with the Board’s recommendation to establish procedures to review the reasonableness of the interest income received from the UNDP Treasury.

2. UNOPS has conceptualized a methodology to review the interest received

from the UNDP Treasury for reasonableness on a quarterly basis.

Department responsible: Finance

Status: In progress

Priority: High

Target date: December 2010

In paragraph 51, UNOPS agreed with the Board’s recommendation to regularly monitor administrative budgets on a line-by-line basis to ensure that budgets are not exceeded.

3. UNOPS follows a rigorous half-yearly budget review process of administrative

expenditures throughout its country offices, regional offices and headquarters.

Department responsible: Finance

Status: In progress

Priority: Medium

Target date: December 2010

In paragraph 57, UNOPS agreed with the Board’s recommendation to address instances of obligations raised that are not supported with valid and appropriate obligating documents.

4. UNOPS retired the imprest modality in April 2010, and further occurrences of

the instances noted by the Board have been prevented. UNOPS monitors purchase

orders on its financial dashboard, and random purchase orders are selected for

review at headquarters. In addition, quarterly certification of obligating documents

is requested from regional directors.

Department responsible: Finance

Status: Completed

Priority: High

Target date: Fully implemented

In paragraph 64, UNOPS agreed with the Board’s recommendation to implement controls and reports to accurately differentiate between project receivable and payable balances and project balances that represent over-expenditure.

5. UNOPS has implemented a quarterly project quality assurance review process

for all projects. Any project over-expenditure is highlighted for action through the

quality assurance process. Furthermore, reports will be prepared for the next audit to

clearly differentiate project receivable and project payable balances.

Department responsible: Finance

Status: In progress

Priority: High

Target date: December 2010 & April 2011

In paragraph 65, UNOPS agreed with the Board’s further recommendation to improve its system controls to prevent and detect any classification errors in financial reporting in a timely manner.

6. UNOPS will implement monitoring and review controls to detect

misclassifications in a timely manner and prior to financial reporting.

Department responsible: Finance

Status: In Progress

Priority: High

Target date: December 2010

In paragraph 69, UNOPS agreed with the Board’s recommendation to account for the funds received in advance from donors as a liability upon receipt of the funds and not as a credit entry within the accounts receivable accounts.

7. UNOPS will implement an annual review process to identify credit balances in

accounts receivable and to reclassify these as accounts payable.

Department responsible: Finance

Status: In Progress

Priority: Medium

In paragraph 72, UNOPS agreed with the Board’s recommendation to (a) follow-up and clear the credit balances in the accounts receivable, and (b) reclassify credit balances in accounts receivable and account for them as payable.

8. UNOPS will implement an annual review process to identify credit balances in

accounts receivable and to reclassify these as accounts payable.

Department responsible: Finance

Status: In Progress

Priority: Medium

Target date: December 2010

In paragraph 83, UNOPS agreed with the Board’s recommendation to resolve the disputed inter-fund differences in its accounts with UNDP.

9. Resolution of the historic UNOPS-UNDP inter-fund differences is sought and

is currently under discussion at the Executive Director level. These negotiations are

expected to be finalized by the end of 2010.

Department responsible: Finance

Status: In progress

Priority: High

Target date: December 2010

In paragraph 86, UNOPS agreed with the Board’s recommendation to (a) follow-up the rejected project expenditures and make appropriate accounting entries, (b) improve the validation of information captured on its system to ensure that the incidents of rejections are minimized, and (c) consider alternate arrangements with UNDP to further improve the acceptance rate.

10. UNOPS continues to submit project expenditures to UNDP on a quarterly

basis. In late 2009, UNOPS developed a project expenditure validation system to

detect possible rejections and correction of data prior to submission to UNDP.

Overall, the validation process has reduced the rate of rejections to below 1 per cent

for the 2009 year. In addition, UNOPS is also in the process of implementing new

controls to prevent incorrect posting of project expenditures to the chart of accounts.

Department responsible : Finance

Status : In Progress

Priority : High

Target date : December 2010

In paragraph 91, UNOPS agreed with the Board’s recommendation to (a) continue to follow-up on the unreconciled inter-fund differences in its accounts, and (b) engage with the relevant United Nations agencies in order to resolve the old inter-fund differences.

11. As part of the UNOPS project closure phase 2 initiative, meetings will be set

up with the relevant UN agencies to negotiate a resolution of the old inter-fund


Department responsible: Finance

Status: In Progress

Priority: High

Target date: March 2011

In paragraph 111, UNOPS agreed with the Board’s recommendation to consider a revision of its policy for the valuation of the annual leave liability in its implementation of International Public Sector Accounting Standards.

12. UNOPS selection of policies for the valuation of the annual leave liability is

based on decisions made for the entire United Nations system. At the United

Nations IPSAS task force meeting, which was held in late August through early

September 2010, further guidance on the accounting and disclosure of all end-ofservice-

liabilities in compliance with IPSAS was requested.

Department responsible: Finance

Status: In progress

Priority: High

Target date: December 2010

In paragraph 116, UNOPS agreed with the Board’s recommendation to take appropriate measures to ensure the validity, accuracy and completeness of the data used in the computation of all post-retirement and end-of-service liabilities in future financial periods by ensuring that the information pertains to the correct reporting period.

13. UNOPS selection of policies for the valuation of all end-of-service liabilities is

based on decisions made for the entire United Nations system. An expected outcome

of the aforementioned UN IPSAS task force meeting has been further guidance on

the accounting and disclosure of all end-of-service-liabilities in compliance with


Department responsible: Finance

Status: In progress

Priority: Medium

Target date: December 2010

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Helen Clark orders Frederick S. Tipson to attack Republicans and Heritage Foundation


30 September 2010
A response to the Heritage Foundation

The Real UN Development System:
A Response to the Heritage Foundation

The United Nations needs all the constructive criticism it can get. As the Washington representative of the UN Development Programme, I can attest that those who work for UN agencies are more focused than anyone else on identifying our shortcomings and working for continuous improvement. So we welcome informed, fair criticism that highlights significant issues—especially when it includes realistic proposals for improving our performance.

The Heritage Foundation has produced constructive critiques of this kind over the years. Brett Schaeffer’s ConUNdrum volume in 2009 contained a number of strong chapters that address key areas of the UN system where performance falls short. But the chapter by former U.S. Ambassador to ECOSOC, Terry Miller, on “The United Nations and Development” is of a different sort. Miller is an experienced former official who was once responsible for overseeing U.S. contributions to UN agencies. He is concerned about the proliferation of agencies and the inconsistencies of donors, and he seeks more accountability and transparency from all actors. His views warrant consideration. But his frustrations with perceived deficiencies in the “UN development system” in general, and UNDP in particular, do not add up to a cogent critique. His chapter is a rambling, dogmatic indictment of all aspects of development assistance, yet he offers only an odd assortment of half-baked ideas to fix the problems. Unfortunately, his chapter was given new life last week during the UN Millennium Summit as a Heritage Special Report (SR-86). Heritage added a further broadside at UN development assistance with a “WebMemo” (#3020) by James Roberts subtitled “Foreign Aid v. Economic Freedom.” Sifting through this barrage of criticism from Heritage, I would like to address three of their major points: reporting results, promoting capitalism, and reforming the system.

Over-Promising and Under-Delivering Results. Miller starts his chapter by mocking the annual reports of UNDP as “filled with beautiful pictures of happy and prosperous people…touting the UN agency’s positive role in their lives.” He takes UNDP to task for a lack of rigorous analysis to explain the linkage between agency programs and the “developmental results” that would justify these smiling faces. He contrasts the “rationalists” (including himself) with the “emotionalists” (UN agencies).

Leaving aside his cynical tone, Miller makes a fair point in challenging development agencies to better demonstrate the impact of their programs, not just to sum up intentions and expenditures. Indeed, as he indicates, measuring results and determining “what works” is the perennial challenge of all development agencies—particularly in terms of the size, significance and sustainability of results. Donors constantly press for cost/benefit justifications for programs so that they can best judge the relative value of their contributions—among types of programs, across sectors of an economy, or even among countries and regions—the “opportunity costs” of one choice or another, as Miller puts it. Unfortunately, Miller appears either stuck in the past or is just plain uninformed. Over the past few years, UNDP has placed strong emphasis on improving the methods and discipline we apply in assessing and documenting the impacts of our efforts. UNDP Country Offices report annual results at the “outcome” level and link inputs, outputs, outcomes and strategic goals, which are then integrated by headquarters into a global report. Comprehensive information about our programs and funding is also available on a country-by-country basis on the Web. Since Miller served in government, the organization has also strengthened its capabilities for independent audits and program evaluations, in close consultation with the U.S. State Department and other major donors regarding both functions. Each of these steps has been noted favorably by these officials and by other independent analysts.

However, the demand for precision in gauging impacts can also drive agencies toward false choices between what can be measured and what actually contributes to human and institutional development in an actual location over time. Improving the conditions of life for a brief period is not the same outcome as assisting in the development of capacities and skills in people and organizations that result in sustainable capabilities and lasting change. Conveying the latter impacts is often better accomplished with illustrative accounts of individual achievements or summaries that capture the nature of progress of this kind. The building of political stability, administrative effectiveness or competitive efficiency is notoriously difficult to measure in a reliable manner, even though these capabilities can be the most important and lasting contributions to a country’s development. Miller himself acknowledges that: “development effects, positive or negative, are difficult to isolate in complex systems in which many inputs and factors combine to produce a result.” Precisely. Which is why experience and judgment based on local understanding and long-term presence are so valuable in organizations such as UNDP or USAID. Resisting the temptation to over-promise change and over-hype impact to impress donors and local officials is a necessary attribute of development professionals.

Ironically, the pitfalls of excessive claims about development impacts are best illustrated by the some of the recent critics of development assistance, who exaggerate the negative consequences of “foreign aid.” A case in point is the Heritage “WebMemo” cited above. James Roberts argues that development assistance (“foreign aid”) promotes corruption, does not foster growth, and does little to create positive change, whether economic competition or democratic governance. He takes the twelve African nations with the largest share of GDP deriving from foreign assistance and correlates that assistance with low levels of economic freedom and high levels of corruption--concluding that aid perpetuates rather than improves both conditions. In so doing, he asserts a direct causal relationship between these evils and the levels of outside assistance that is every bit as exaggerated and misleading as any of the positive claims he and Miller ascribe to aid agencies. Gross correlations such as these ignore the structural and cultural features that result in corrupt behaviors and undeveloped economies, and which outside assistance (technical as well as financial) is often seeking to change or overcome, not reinforce or reward. Such factors as weak governance, gross economic inequalities, criminal syndicates, and external diplomatic agendas have far more to do with encouraging corruption than official development assistance—particularly in the modest amounts and targeted focus of UNDP’s programs. To be sure, history is full of examples where funds ostensibly given for “development” of a country were provided in the wrong ways to the wrong people—indeed, during the Cold War, aid was intended as much to win loyalty as to promote development—but this is not a valid criticism of multilateral assistance in 2010.

And it is also a misleading conclusion to draw about all the countries on Roberts’ list. Half of them have been plagued by, or are still recovering from, crippling conflicts: Guinea Bissau, Mozambique, Mauretania, Burundi, Rwanda, and Sierra Leone. Some have strong governments, others very weak or fragile ones. Some have economies distorted by oil revenues or impacted by climate changes which make balanced growth far more difficult; others are so poor and politically stressed that both insiders and outsiders are more preoccupied with the prevention of civil violence than the nurturing of entrepreneurs. Even so, if growth is his test of success, the recent growth rates of most of these countries look remarkably good (between 3% and 11% over the last few years), despite global economic conditions. Yet the reasons for these successes vary significantly, from strong centralized management (Rwanda), to reasonable democratic stability (Mozambique) to large and growing oil revenues (Guinea Bissau). Or they simply reflect a very low GDP at the start of the measured time frame or a high level of outside assistance in the short-term. The important point is that it is necessary to understand the particular history and features that account for the differences among them—differences that also indicate the best opportunities for progress as well. Misinformed diagnoses from 60,000 feet (or 3,000 miles away) are largely useless or even counter-productive.

Of course development agencies need improved methods for conveying the impact of their work. Miller is apparently not persuaded by the value of pictures or human stories in doing so. But to suggest, as he does, that this is all UNDP’s reports consist of, or that it is not possible to find out where its funds go or what kinds of impacts they have, is simply not fair. Perhaps the best observation is one made recently by the head of USAID under President George W. Bush, Andrew Natsios, who argues that development efforts are plagued by demands for false precision and short-term impacts. As he puts it: “those development programs that are most precisely and easily measured are the least transformational, and those programs that are most transformational are the least measurable.”

“Socialist Leanings (or socialist/Marxist fantasies).” Miller repeatedly suggests that UN agencies have an institutional bias against “capitalism” and a “sixty-year fascination with socialism” that impedes economic growth and stifles entrepreneurs. He says that UNDP and other UN agencies have a “state-centric” philosophy and believe that “the state has a primary role in promoting or directing development.” The United Nations, he argues, “eschews the proven development strategies of classic liberal economics for aid-focused plans that almost certainly do more harm than good because they emphasize and enhance the role of government and central planning.” He then goes on to advocate the importance of private property and the rule of law as essential underpinnings of economic growth.

Apparently as a State Department official in 2002, Miller had at least one bad experience trying to lecture a large diplomatic gathering on the virtues of capitalism: “I spoke of the need for developing countries to embrace capitalism wholeheartedly,” only to find that “the room erupted in a clamor at my mere use of the word.” Or perhaps later, as Ambassador to ECOSOC, he had to spend too many hours in large UN conference rooms listening to diplomats with no involvement in development criticize developed countries for their pre-occupation with private property and capital investment. Again Miller is misinformed or stuck in the past. Across the UN system there is now a clear appreciation that the business community has to be an essential partner in development. Miller should spend more time talking to UNDP Country Directors or Resident Representatives of the UN about their efforts to foster the enabling environments that make private sector development flourish. And with the exception of the small, but strategically-leveraged UN Capital Development Fund, Miller seems unaware of the significant efforts made by UNDP to foster foreign investment and private sector development. This emphasis is best captured in the reports on two widely-acclaimed initiatives: “Growing Sustainable Business” (focused on large corporate initiatives) and “Growing Inclusive Markets” (focused on local private sector development). What these reports record is a multiplicity of initiatives at the country level to promote private sector activity that generates jobs and growth. As for property and legal rights, he might consult the initiatives captured in the report on “Legal Empowerment of the Poor,” produced by a panel co-chaired by Hernando de Soto, the advocate for property rights and the rule of law whom Miller greatly admires.

Even more importantly, Miller greatly oversimplifies the issues relating to economic freedom and “capitalism,” and consequently misconstrues the vital relationship between effective governance and private sector development. Capitalism is not simply an economic choice that officials or citizens adopt like a breakfast cereal. It is a political-economic system which depends for its flourishing on the protection and regulation of governments, and it takes effective political development to accomplish this. As Miller himself notes, markets need political/legal infrastructure: property rights, contract enforcement, courts to resolve disputes—all government-based institutions that most developing countries need more of, not less. How does Miller suppose that such “capitalism” can be fostered and protected, if not by government institutions? If programs for political development are too “state-centric” for him, then so be it. But countries will not have capitalism without effective governments.

To be sure, many kinds of government intervention--running large businesses, setting prices, picking winners and losers, awarding licenses to cronies or bribe-payers--is bad governance, and it is important to recognize the difference and the various types of capitalism that result from these different behaviors. That is the point of a recent study by William Baumol and his colleagues titled Good Capitalism, Bad Capitalism, which posits four different types of capitalist political-economic systems: State-guided, Big Firm, Oligarchic, and Entrepreneurial—the latter being the most productive and innovative. Unfortunately, many countries (both developing and developed) have one of the other kinds—and seem to prefer them--so to transition economies toward the more open and entrepreneurial varieties is a political challenge—not just an economic or philosophical choice--of the first order.

When capitalism functions effectively—markets are efficient and transparent, investment flows to those who can apply it most productively, growth is even and well-distributed—it is a marvel of human ingenuity. But this achievement takes a balance of entrepreneurs, enterprises, legal institutions, regulatory overseers, and effective law-makers. When that balance is out of whack, capitalism can produce bubbles, swings in investment, insufficient tax revenues, fraud and graft that results in horrendous dislocation and real human suffering. If Miller thought “capitalism” in the abstract was a hard sell in large international gatherings in 2002, just imagine the response he would get following the recent global financial crisis and the imbalances and hardship it has caused.

“A U.N. development system that functions like a giant bazaar.” Finally, Miller is dead set against efforts to improve the effectiveness of multilateral agencies and the UN system as a whole. He suggests that the multilateral development system needs more competition, not more consolidation and coherence, because that would only make it more appealing to donors and perpetuate the shortcomings and dysfunctions he ascribes to the agencies involved.

Here again, Miller is way off the mark. What the world needs now is a lot more collaboration and specialization, not less. The pattern of development assistance in many countries is a confusing patchwork of bilateral aid agencies, IGOs, NGOs, IFIs, Foundations, and Corporate philanthropies who often resist coordination, even by the host governments themselves (who, when all is said and done, provide the lion’s share of money and effort on their own behalf.) Donors and host governments have repeatedly sought to address these issues through a set of agreements on “aid effectiveness” which move collaboration in the right direction. But more initiatives of this kind are called for. The UN system is actually one of the better performing actors in this regard, working through a system of Resident Representatives and Country Teams to promote in more-and-more countries a “Delivering as One” approach by multilateral agencies. Yet this is a long way from the kind of centralized, lock-step control that Miller seems to fear—a prospect that is so far from reality it is pointless to worry over.

I conclude where I started. UN agencies and development programs need strong oversight and informed criticism. The Heritage Foundation has sometimes played this role and should continue to try to do so. But its recent papers on the UN development system, timed for the Millennium Summit, fall well short of that standard.

Frederick S. Tipson
Director, Washington Liaison Office
U.N. Development Programme

Thursday, December 2, 2010

New FAO Deputy Director-General appointed

WEBWIRE – Thursday, December 02, 2010

Ann Tutwiler will assume office in January 2011

Rome - FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf today announced the appointment of Ann Tutwiler, a citizen of the United States, as one of FAO’s two Deputy Directors-General. Ann Tutwiler will be the first female to hold this position.

Ms Tutwiler will be Deputy Director-General for Knowledge. She comes to FAO from the United States Department of Agriculture, where she served since January 2010 as Coordinator of Global Food Security in the Office of the Secretary of Agriculture. She is expected to assume her duties at FAO in January 2011.

Ann Tutwiler previously served as Senior Advisor for the Africa Bureau of the US Agency for International Development and prior to that, from 2006 to 2009, was the Managing Director for Agricultural Markets at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

She holds degrees in Agribusiness from Purdue University and Harvard Business School, a Masters from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and a Bachelor of Arts from Davidson College.

Ms Tutwiler replaces James G. Butler who held the position since January 2008

United Nations Requests Additional Millions for Haiti Peacekeeping

By George Russell

The United Nations, which spent more than $732 million on peacekeeping efforts in earthquake-battered Haiti during its last budgetary year, wants another $864.1 million from donors to cover the cost of the peacekeeping stabilization force on the island through the end of June, 2011.

The U.S. portion of that tab would be roughly 27 percent of the total -- about $234.8 million.

One of the stated missions of the stabilization project appears to be making sure that the U.N. takes an active role in ensuring that any aid will not cause a new Haitian economy to have large disparities of wealth among the population.

Just how stable Haiti will become as a result is unclear. Currently, the island is simmering with unrest over a cholera epidemic that has left more than 1,400 dead, and which many Haitians accuse U.N. peacekeepers from Nepal of causing (the U.N. denies it). Explosive protests have erupted in more than a dozen cities and towns as a result.

Additional protests are popping up over the handling of U.N. –supervised elections that took place over the past weekend, with 12 of 18 presidential candidates originally complaining of massive fraud. Since then, two of the main objectors have recanted; preliminary official results will be declared on December 7, with a further run-off election likely.

Meantime, about 1.3 million Haitians remain homeless, and the harsh work of reconstruction is barely underway. As the U.N. itself admits in the budget proposal for the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti, known by the French acronym MINUSTAH, “the challenges presented by the medium term reconstruction and normalization programs are immense.”

And how MINUSTAH handles them may become a significant issue, since its budget declares that one challenge is to coordinate aid “to ensure that it does not exacerbate the unequal distribution of wealth and opportunities that have long fueled instability in the country.”

Nor will the challenges go away soon. In the next year, officials expect that they will be able to remove less than half the homeless to more permanent quarters, and project that they will be able to clear up only about a third of the debris left by the devastating temblor.

Only now, however — 11 months after the disastrous quake — is the mammoth U.N. peacekeeping effort, which involves about 15,800 personnel, including 13,300 military and police, ramping up to full strength, with anticipated expenses to match. The latest peacekeeping tab is more than 18 percent higher than the post-earthquake peacekeeping budget that the U.N. passed last April, for the year that ended this past June 31, and about 50 per cent higher than the U.N. peacekeeping effort cost pre-quake (the U.N. has been in Haiti since 2004).

As with almost all U.N. budgets, the latest $864.1 million number is preliminary ($865.3 million was initially proposed), and a General Assembly watchdog committee that oversees U.N. finances has suggested slicing $10 million from the tab. The U.N. peacekeepers say they will be back with another set of revised figures next February.

Most of the hefty increase in costs since the last peacekeeping budget is the result of the arrival of the entire peacekeeping force, authorized to climb by more than a third in numbers in the wake of the January disaster.

But the tally also includes nearly 400 new and often very highly paid “temporary” civilian positions in the U.N. peacekeeping bureaucracy, a “surge” that is supposed to begin to subside as the Haitian government “need for direct support diminishes and reconstruction efforts wind up,” the peacekeeping budget proposal states.

As a result, the bill for “general temporary assistance” in the Haiti peacekeeping budget is suddenly spiking from about $4.7 million in 2009-2010 to more than $31.6 million in the latest estimate, a hike of $26.9 million.

The budget also notes, however, that the cost of regular, non-temporary U.N. civilian staff has dipped as a result of the “temporary” surge, by about $17.6 million, to $83.8 million. But in almost every case noted in the 110-page budget document, wherever regular staff have been replaced by “temporary” U.N. civilian officials, the newcomers are higher ranked, and consequently earn weightier salaries.

The overall result is a considerably more top-heavy civilian and military component among the peacekeepers, which the budgeters argue is needed to face an array of formidable challenges, including “maintaining stability,” building “capacity to maintain the operations of state institutions,” and — remarkably for an emergency force — coordinating aid “to ensure that it does not exacerbate the unequal distribution of wealth and opportunities that have long fueled instability in the country.”

In other words, the peacekeepers are operating not only as forces for law and order and recovery, but also as social and political engineers working alongside, and sometimes on behalf of, the decimated government of Haitian president Rene Preval, and his successor, whoever that may be, in a vast and open-ended project of nation-building and social equalization.

As the budget document puts it: “MINUSTAH is a critical actor in the consolidation of social peace, stability and the rule of law.”

Having said that, however, the budget document lays out much of that critical role for each segment of the MINUSTAH effort in nebulous terms.


For its role in aiding “democratic development and consolidation of State authority,” for example, the MINUSTAH budget declares its “expected accomplishment” to be “all-inclusive political dialogue and national reconciliation. As one indicator that it is successful, it suggests that Haiti would have “less than 65 civil unrest incidents triggered by political issues in 2010-11, compared to 78 in 2009-10 and 229 in 2008-09.”

By that standard, the mission might already be dangerously close to being a flop, as a result of the cholera demonstrations and election protests of the past few weeks.

The means the peacekeepers intend to use to meet their objectives are equally foggy. They include “four meetings per month with the President and the Prime Minister to assess progress on the government’s dialogue with political parties and civil groups”; “establishment and leadership of a mechanism to coordinate international electoral assistance”; and “public information campaigns in support of political dialogue, national reconciliation and the promotion and understanding of the mandate of MINUSTAH.”

Public information tools are supposed to include co-production of a soap-opera to be broadcast in refugee camps and elsewhere “to deliver key messages,” as well as “production and dissemination of a wide range of promotional materials, media relations and strong media engagement,” marking, among other things, “United Nations Days.” (In December, there are 11 of these celebrations, including International Volunteer Day for Economic and Social Development, Human Rights Day, and International Mountain Day.)

For the “expected accomplishment” of a “secure and stable environment in Haiti,” the indicators of achievement include an increase of more than 13,000 in joint U.N.-Haitian police patrols in refugee camps over the previous year, and an “increase in the number of gang leaders arrested by police to 26 in 2010-11,” vs. 10 in 2009-10.

Daily patrols and mentoring are intended to increase the abilities of Haitian police, but there are also 20 budgeted seminars and extensive media buys for “vulnerable groups in violence-affected areas, to promote the culture of peace and raise awareness of sexual and gender-based violence.”

On a more concrete anti-crime front, the peacekeepers intend to rebuild all four Haitian prisons devastated in the quake — whose occupants largely disappeared into the general population — and help Haiti’s parliament adopt new penal and criminal procedure codes.

The U.N.’s proliferating organization chart for Haiti also includes a bulking up of supervisors for transport, logistics, communications and procurement — not to mention social services, including improved medical care and anti-stress counseling, for the peacekeepers themselves. Large numbers of the peacekeepers also suffered through the horrors of the quake — 96 peacekeepers were among the dead — and, as the budget states, they “continue to suffer and deal with the traumatic effects of their experience.”


Not to mention the hard work of coordinating the humanitarian and recovery efforts themselves, including the creation of “quick reaction” military and engineering forces to help the government clear debris, drill wells, and clear roads. The U.N. will also administer a vast array of contracts and contractors who will be hired using some of the $5 billion in relief aid that has already been pledged to Haiti. But much aid has been slow to arrive. According to the U.N.’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), only $34 million of some $906 million requested this year for Haiti in an emergency appeal has been delivered.

None of the additional U.N. peacekeeping help comes cheap. The salary ranges of the new, often “temporary” U.N. workers being layered into the “large and complex” mission that MINUTAH has become are not laid out in the budget document. But salaries for lower level U.N. professionals (Grade P-2) range from $61,919 annually to $81,568, depending on years of experience, while much higher ranked Directors (Grade D-2) make between $149,903 and $166,475.

Those numbers, however, greatly understate the benefits and pay of U.N. professionals. For starters, all their salaries are tax-free. They are additionally augmented with cost of living allowances (around 45 percent (CK) in the case of Haiti), hazard pay (around $17,000 for Grade D-2 in Haiti), transfer and housing allowances and other perks that add greatly to the “temporary” bill.


On the other hand, quite a few of the new hires are not located in Haiti at all, but in the neighboring Dominican Republic, to “reduce the exposure of United Nations personnel and property to potential disasters, such as earthquakes and hurricanes, as well as criminality and riots,” the budget document declares.

Among other things, the peacekeepers have located the vast bulk of their air supply efforts at Santo Domingo’s international airport, rather than Haiti’s international airfield in the capital of Port au Prince — where about 200 U.N. personnel are also located in a Santo Domingo Liaison and Support Center.

However safe they may be as a result, the U.N. peacekeepers are thereby undoubtedly providing a considerable economic boom to the Dominican Republic rather than Haiti — even though the U.N. budgeters argue that along with safety concerns, the civilian presence is also cheaper as a result, as the Santo Domingo staff do not qualify for the hefty U.N. hazard pay allowances that go with the Haiti assignment.

With or without hazard pay, the budget document declares that the expansion of MINUSTAH itself is one of the main reasons behind the “exponential” increase in the “complexity of the operating environment” in which its own services must be delivered. That workload, the budget declares, “has become overwhelming.”

One result: “a comprehensive review of staffing requirements is currently under way.”

In other words, this more expensive MINUSTAH budget for Haiti’s “critical actor” could well be followed by an even more expensive one.

George Russell is executive editor of Fox News.