"....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 14, 2012
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees blasted for poor financial handling
EXCLUSIVE: The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, or UNHCR, two years ago was sitting on a stockpile of $437 million in unspent cash, even as a U.N. auditing agency warned that its sloppy handling of funds imperiled future contributions from U.N. member nations.
The report, issued last year but only introduced for member-state review in the U.N. General Assembly, cites UNHCR for sloppy bookkeeping, poor financial oversight, managerial disarray, and a lack of tools to judge how well it was doing its job of helping tens of millions of the world's displaced people.
The U.N.'s independent Board of Auditors used remarkably straight-forward language to lambaste the refugee agency, whose largest donor, the United States, contributed $712 million to UNHCR in 2010, according to the State Department. The auditors noted that the relief agency, which is financed largely by voluntary contributions, spent about $1.9 billion in 2010; its budget two years earlier was about $1.1 billion.
The auditors pointed out that there were “strong indicators of significant shortcomings in financial management" at the agency, headed since 2005 by Antonio Guterres, a former Socialist prime minister of Portugal. "This is a major risk for UNHCR," the auditors warned, "given the increasing pressures on donors to justify why they provide public funds to international aid organizations."
Moreover, the inspectors did not seem optimistic that the situation would change soon, even though UNHCR's management now says that it is working hard on a wide variety of fronts to change the disturbing situation.
The Board of Auditors report, written last year but only recently published, amounted to the first major external assessment of UNHCR's behavior after its spending began to balloon dramatically in 2008 in line with a new strategy known as the Global Needs Assessment, a novel way to encourage donors to come up with more cash.
Rather than looking at its donor pledges and then determining its budget, UNHCR is now using the Global Needs Assessment to determine the amount that it feels it needs to spend, then building a budget to accommodate that perspective -- though, in the end, it still must manage with the amount it takes in.
The new approach has given more of a social welfare tilt to UNHCR relief efforts, even though it is still thought of primarily as a front-line relief group that doles out emergency food and shelter to populations displaced across national borders by war, famine and drought.
For this year and next, when UNHCR hopes to spend about $3.3 billion a year under its Global Needs, a State Department spokesperson told Fox News, U.S. support "will depend on current crises to which UNHCR responds."
For UNHCR's external auditors, however, the issue is not so much the agency's needs as its financial and management capabilities -- and these it found dolefully lacking. Among other things, the auditors' report notes:
--UNHCR could not balance its many checkbooks. No fewer than 99 of its bank and investment accounts, holding more than $375 million, 'lacked up-to-date reconciliations, a key financial control.' The auditors had warned about the same problem a year earlier, and not much was done about it. (The backlog had been cut to three active accounts before the auditors' report was published.)
--the agency wasn't even prepared for its own audit, reflecting "significant deficiencies in the systems in place to prepare its financial statements, and in the quality of the supervision and ownership of these processes, from the most senior executive level downward and across the entire organization."
--UNHCR "remains unable to gather and analyses basic management information on its operations," or "to get a full grip on the performance of its implementing partners or the delivery of major initiatives." Translation: it doesn't know what it is actually doing.
--UNHCR's own share of what it takes in from donors is high. Despite roughly 22 percent of its $1.9 billion in actual spending for 2010 that went to "administrative overhead and staff benefits," the report notes. At the time of the audit, UNHCR had 6,300 regular staff working in some 380 offices located in 125 countries.
-- despite those overheads, roughly one-third of UNHCR's spending ($667 million) went to "implementing partners," meaning non-government organizations and others who carried out relief operations. Who they all were, and how well they functioned, was not at all clear. The process of selecting those partners, the auditors noted, "lacks rigor and transparency, increasing the risk of fraud, corruption, inefficiency and poor partner performance."
--More than half of the implementing partners had worked for UNHCR for more than five years, and the auditors found "little evidence of any kind of competitive selection process," cost comparison or matching of capabilities with requirements. The Board of Auditors said it was "particularly concerned at the lack of transparency in partner selection processes and the increased risk of fraud and corruption to which this exposes UNHCR."
--however badly the partners -- or for that matter, UNHCR staffers -- performed in the field, however, the Board of Auditors did not think highly of the agency's ability to judge it. "Performance from its country network does not enable management to make effective judgments as to the cost-effectiveness of projects and activities or to hold local managers accountable for performance," the report says.
If anything, the Board of Auditors report underplays the seriousness of UNHCR's lack of field intelligence on its own operations, many of which stem from a multimillion-dollar fiasco involving installation of a new, systemwide software system, known as Focus. The software was supposed to integrate financial and human resources information, in order to propel UNHCR toward better "results-based management."
Asked how the U.S. viewed the Board of Auditors report, a State Department spokesman declared that "we follow the institutional and operational issues closely." The spokesman also pointed to statements made by the U.S. at a meeting of UNHCR's executive committee last October, where a U.S. diplomat declared that "several of the findings of the Board concern us," without going into detail. At another "ex-com" session in Geneva, U.S. Ambassador David Robinson underlined that "the United States remains a committed partner with UNHCR and the beneficiaries it serves."
How does UNHCR itself intend to deal with the management swamp outlined in the Board of Auditors report?
Not to worry, according to the agency's management. In a report nearly as long as the auditors' investigation, UNHCR last September outlined a lengthy list of "measures taken and proposed" to improve things. Some of them, however, seemed vague, or less than wholesale.
On the alarming bank account reconciliation process, for example, the agency reported that it had already done a great deal, and that “bank accounts held at Headquarters are fully reconciled and are routinely reconciled on a monthly basis.” But this excludes accounts in the field, where the auditors are particularly critical of oversight lapses.
In addressing what the auditors call "deficiencies in country office financial management and reporting capacity," UNHCR says it will "review relevant audit and inspection reports, consult with Headquarters and Bureaux and continue to analyse data ... to focus on those country offices in need of greater strengthening of financial management practices. Based on this review and analysis, UNHCR will develop workplans to address the identified gaps." It hopes to have the process completed by the end of this year.
When it comes to adopting a "risk-management" approach to its partners in relief operations, as the auditors recommended, UNHCR says it first must adopt a "Differentiated Risk-Based Framework" and then apply it appropriately. The agency projects, somewhat murkily, that the "overall development application of the Framework will be completed by 2014."
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)
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!!
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."