Tuesday, November 29, 2011

UNDP demands from media to correct articles on Helen Clark's Salaries and disclosure - but fails to provide proof to substantiate the correction

UNDP WATCH vis-à-vis Helen Clark

1 - 0 (again)

22 November 2011
Spokesperson's Noon Briefing

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Question: Yeah, this is, I guess, a follow-up on some questions you have received about transparency. I wrote an article a couple of weeks ago on UNDP [United Nations Development Programme]. The focus was on its Human Development Report of 2011, but I also dealt with some transparency issues, including the issue of financial disclosure of some of the top officers’ salaries, et cetera, relying on a watchdog source, UNDP Watch. I referenced at least what they had reported to be Helen Clark’s salary and certain living grants, if you will. The reason I mention this is because I got a call that evening from the Communications Director of UNDP, saying that those figures were inaccurate. And I offered to put a correction in if he would provide me with the correct figures, which he said he was going to do and always try to do, and that never happened. So, I guess I am asking you on this question, I mean, if we get a denial of at least one source, which is why I call the whistleblower type of source and compensation, at least voluntarily, Helen Clark and other officials could disclose if they wanted to, there is a process for it, shouldn’t there be some sort of a follow-up? I mean, if there is going to be a denial and a request for correction, to provide the data that I could use to correct it?

Spokesperson: I can’t speak for my colleagues at UNDP. I am sure if they have promised something, then they will deliver. But, just as a general point, the salary scales and so on for UN staff are publicly available on the Internet, right there in all kinds of detail. So, I am not quite sure why you need a whistleblower for that. Yes?

Question: A follow-up to that?

Spokesperson: Let me just come to…

Correspondent: Let him follow up.

Spokesperson: Fine, fine. Okay, sure.

Question: Just directly on this UNDP question, again, it goes back to this public financial disclosure webpage that Mr. [Robert] Orr had filed and I wrote another article on that, but I still remain curious why Helen Clark’s name doesn’t appear on the list of high UN officials. And then I thought maybe the answer is that UNDP doesn’t file with the Secretariat, but has its own system. But then, I see Rebecca Grynspan, who is a UNDP official, with her filing on the Secretary-General’s public financial-disclosure page. I am asking, since the Secretary-General maintains this page and has made various representations about it, why isn’t this second or third highest official in the UN at least listed, even if she chooses not to disclose?

Spokesperson: I’d have to check; I don’t know the answer to that, Matthew. But, as you pointed out, there are many officials who are listed there.

Question: There seemed to be 23 that weren’t, and now Mr. Orr is listed, so now we are down to 22. But, it does seem, I mean, it seems, at least in this case, she is a pretty high officials and my colleague was just asking about her.

Spokesperson: Well, that’s fine, that’s fine. I’ll see what I can find out. Yes, Benny?

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