"....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
On Sept. 28, 2001, with the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan imminent, Jeremy Hobbs, the executive director of Oxfam Community Aid Abroad, issued an urgent call for donations to the group's Afghan Refugee Crisis Appeal. "Up to 5 million innocent people face starvation and death in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iran," he insisted. "We must act now to prevent what could possibly be the worst humanitarian catastrophe since World War II."
Really? Worse than Biafra in 1967, worse than the Cambodian refugee crisis, worse than the Ethiopian famine of 1984-1985, and worse even than Somalia in 1991? How could a senior official at one of the most experienced and well-respected private relief agencies in the world suggest with such confidence that the crisis in Afghanistan was likely to outstrip these tragedies?
To be fair, Hobbs left himself a grammatical out. "Up to" 5 million people might die, he said; the crisis "could possibly" be the worst humanitarian disaster since World War II. But this was the moral equivalent of the fine print in a contract you get from a bank with a Visa card. Oxfam was not just advancing a possibility; it was issuing a warning about an event that might very well occur if an emergency response was not mounted immediately -- and it was staking its credibility on this assessment.
And it's not just Oxfam that's given to this kind of exaggeration. The world's emergency relief organizations, from other major NGOs like Care International and World Vision to the U.N.'s specialized agencies like the World Food Program and the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), are always warning the public about the never-more-dire plight of war refugees, famine victims, and the latest unfortunate souls imperiled by nature's wrath. They should count themselves lucky that we have such short memories. If people actually remembered just how often their claims have proved to be overblown, contributions would almost certainly fall off dramatically. A quick search for the "world's worst humanitarian crisis" brings up a trove of competing claims: Darfur, Congo, Pakistan, Somalia. And the list goes on. Relief agencies are constantly insisting that what is about to take place in Afghanistan or Burma, Haiti or Rwanda, is nothing short of apocalyptic, only for it to turn out that these predictions of disaster are wildly exaggerated, when not simply unfounded.
Sadly, over the course of the past few decades, exaggeration seems to have become the rule in the world of humanitarian relief. The Indian Ocean tsunami of December 2004, which is generally believed to have killed almost a quarter of a million people in 14 countries, is a stark example. In the immediate aftermath, NGOs and U.N. agencies were predicting that without massive aid, the death toll would double because of hunger, lack of clean water, and the spread of infectious disease. Their appeals were extraordinarily successful, raising more than $14 billion from governments, corporations, and a remarkably large number of private donors. And yet, there was little basis for such anxiety: The general rule in natural disasters such as tsunamis and earthquakes is that most fatalities occur in the first 24 hours. The mismatch between the vast sums of money raised globally for tsunami relief and the real needs on the ground was so extreme that Doctors Without Borders soon began returning contributions, while Oxfam diverted funds to other crises. But this did not stop the U.N. from taking credit -- on what basis, no one could quite say -- for having prevented a second wave of deaths.
The culture of shameless embellishment never seems to dissipate for long. Here is Elisabeth Byrs, the spokeswoman for the U.N.'s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, speaking in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake that devastated Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on Jan. 12, 2010: "This is a historic disaster," she said. "We have never been confronted with such a disaster in the U.N. memory. It is like no other." Let's be clear: This is not the compassionate rhetoric of solidarity, but advertising hype. It's bigger, sadder, worse! The fact that those who dispense such misinformation mean well does not lessen the distortion.
In war zones, the inflation of anxieties that is the handmaiden of humanitarian work has become almost as extreme. In the two years after the 1994 Rwandan genocide -- in which more than a million Rwandan Hutu refugees huddled in camps -- it was common to hear UNHCR officials insisting that forcing the refugees to return to Rwanda would lead to tens of thousands dead on the march home or killed by the forces of the Tutsi Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF). In 1996, though, the RPF did shut down the camps, and there were virtually no casualties among those who returned home. There were indeed terrible massacres in the forests of eastern Congo, but the victims were those who refused to return and tried to flee west.
The charitable interpretation of all this is that relief groups are just indulging in hyperbole, which theOxford English Dictionary defines as "deliberate exaggeration, not meant to be taken literally." But this is hardly likely, precisely because most of the people who partake in this apocalypse-mongering know better. Clearly, the relief folks have a motive here. If they do not exaggerate, private donations and government and U.N. grants to their organizations will dry up.
And the tragic thing is that they're probably right. Doctors Without Borders puts out a list every year of the 10 most forgotten crises, largely measured by the lack of airtime and column inches devoted to these humanitarian emergencies in the international media. All relief agencies know that, where disasters are concerned, not only the media but the public as a whole practices a species of serial monogamy, focusing on one crisis to the exclusion of all others until what is sometimes called "compassion fatigue" sets in. Then, attention shifts to the next emergency.
These days, only the most extreme, most apocalyptic situations are likely to move donors in the rich world -- that is, the donors who count the most (some 90 percent of all the funding for humanitarian work still comes from the OECD countries). With donor fatigue an ever-present possibility, admitting that they might not actually know how many people have been killed or made homeless -- or acknowledging that original estimates may have been overstated -- is thought to undermine the cause of rescuing people. That's why a recent report prepared for the U.S. Agency for International Development by Haiti expert Timothy Schwartz, suggesting that the official death toll in the 2010 earthquake of 316,000 overstated matters by roughly 500 percent, caused such consternation both in Port-au-Prince and in Washington -- as if accurate figures somehow provided a license not to care.
At a time when foreign aid is even more unpopular than usual in Washington, these anxieties are understandable. But hyperbole is not just a morally questionable strategy; it's practically unsustainable. By continually upping the rhetorical ante, relief agencies, whatever their intentions, are sowing the seeds of future cynicism, raising the bar of compassion to the point where any disaster in which the death toll cannot be counted in the hundreds of thousands, that cannot be described as the worst since World War II or as being of biblical proportions, is almost certainly condemned to seem not all that bad by comparison.
It is probably accurate, though, that telling the truth in all its complexity will make getting the attention and mobilizing the concern of people in the rich world that much more difficult. Whatever activists may sometimes prefer to imagine, we are human beings, not solidarity machines. But we are not indifference machines either, and presented with the facts as they are, instead of dark nightmares, we might just do the right thing.
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
This is what pro-poor means at United Nations
Click on the above image for the story.
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)
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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!!
UNDP's Free Speech Concept
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."