Friday, June 29, 2012

Ban ki-mon answer a question from InnerCityPress on Rio+20 (claims was a success)

Inner City Press: On the Rio Plus 20 conference, I heard what you said, as I’m sure you know that NGOs like Oxfam said it was a hoax, Greenpeace called it an epic failure and said that the corporations ran wild in Rio and that the US and others blocked efforts to stop mining of the sea and to impose human rights obligations on corporations. I just wonder – you were there and obviously put a lot of effort into it. What’s your response to that critique? What human rights obligations do you think the corporations have? 
S-G Ban Ki-moon: I am aware of those concerns and criticisms about the outcome document. I had, on two occasions, very extensive meetings with members of civil society and, at one point, I met with nine major group representatives. These discussions were very extensive and very constructive. I listened very carefully to their views and their concerns and I explained the position of the United Nations, as well as Member States. And I have fully explained the contents of the outcome document. I explained to them that when I was a young student, I was taught by my teachers to ‘put your head above the cloud, but have your two feet firmly grounded on the soil, on the ground.’ If you don’t do that, however ambitious the ideas you may have, you will fall and you will tumble. We have to be very practical, very realistic. These are the outcomes, result of 193 Member States’ many, many months’ long process of negotiations, taking into account all the limitations, all the constraints and all the resources, and how much we can do. I think it is very fair that this outcome document is very balanced, concrete and result-oriented. 
As I said many times in the past, this is not the end, this is just the beginning. We have many important processes to follow. First of all, we have to agree on Sustainable Development Goals. Members States have made a very clear timeline and also they asked me, as Secretary-General, to provide full support, including inputs and technical and logistical support to this process. I am going to establish a High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons to present the visions and recommendations for the post-MDG 2015 visions. And there are many nations, they have established their high-level political fora to follow up on all of these sustainable development recommendations, replacing the Commission on Sustainable Development. And they have agreed to strengthen the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) with universal membership, with steady and strengthened resources provided. And there are many, many other good recommendations with clear timelines and very concise issues. However, I made it quite clear that I will continue to listen to their views. We will work together with civil society. And, in the course of the coming negotiations and processes, we will fully reflect their concerns and views. Thank you very much.

The Economist: "Whistleblowers in the UN - United notions"


Victory for James Wasserstrom, the UN’s leading whistleblower

IN THEORY the United Nations cherishes and protects whistleblowers. In practice, a clubby atmosphere prevails in which dissent counts as disloyalty. Now the UN’s highest tribunal has vindicated a victim of official harrassment.

James Wasserstrom (pictured), was posted to Kosovo to fight corruption. In 2007 he started raising concerns about what he saw as misconduct involving links between UN officials and a local utility company. His worries were ignored. After he complained to the UN’s oversight office, he says, his boss cut his staff, in effect abolishing his job, and had him investigated for misconduct. That culminated in his detention, the search of his house and car, and other indignities.

He appealed to the UN’s Ethics Office. After a year-long investigation it ruled that Mr Wasserstrom’s maltreatment was perhaps excessive, but did not count as retaliation against a whistleblower.

On June 21st, after a long and costly legal battle that unearthed documents backing Mr Wasserstrom’s case, the UN’s new Dispute Tribunal overturned that. Without ruling on the alleged corruption, Judge Goolam Meeran, in a blistering judgment, said “any reasonable reviewer” would have spotted the clear conflicts in the UN’s evidence and demanded, at the least, more investigation of the complainant’s treatment. Now an anti-corruption officer at America’s embassy in Kabul, he stands to gain $1m in damages, plus costs. The UN must now negotiate on that, and other remedies.

Mr Wasserstrom says his main aim is to speed reform of the UN. Since the scandal around the oil-for-food scheme (which allowed insiders to profit from bypassing the sanctions regime applied to Saddam Hussein’s Iraq), progress has stalled, he says. He is particularly critical of top officials, including the secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon, for “deliberately undermining what they claim is support for whistleblowers” for footdragging and for misleading the General Assembly in these respects. “They clearly never expected that I would force them into court,” he said. The UN said it would not comment on the case while talks on remedies were continuing.


Joe Torsela of USUN claims victory over UNDP - says: "audits will be made available online" - Could this be true ? ?

Thursday, June 28, 2012

S/2012/412 - The U.N. Eritrea Report that Ban Ki-moon doesn't want anyone to read (@InnercityPress Exclusive)

  S/2012/412- Eritrea
The Report was banned by United Nations
$318,000 was the cost of the report

The Guardian: UN tribunal finds ethics office failed to protect whistleblower

UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon  
Ban Ki-moon, the United Nations secretary general, has unsuccessfully sought to curb the UN’s dispute tribunal’s jurisdiction. Photograph: Sandro Campardos/Keystone
UN accused of culture of impunity after diplomat fired and detained by UN police after raising suspicions of corruption


A landmark case brought by a former United Nations employee against the UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, has cast light on what activists describe as a pervasive culture of impunity in an organisation where whistleblowers are given minimal protection from reprisals.
James Wasserstrom, a veteran American diplomat, was sacked and then detained by UN police, who ransacked his flat, searched his car and put his picture on a wanted poster after he raised suspicions in 2007 about corruption in the senior ranks of the UN mission in Kosovo (Unmik).
The UN's dispute tribunal has ruled that the organisation's ethics office failed to protect Wasserstrom against such reprisals from his bosses, and that the UN's mechanisms for dealing with whistleblowers were "fundamentally flawed", to the extent the organisation had failed to protect the basic rights of its own employees.
The case was directed against Ban as being directly responsible for the actions of the ethics office.
Of the 297 cases where whistleblowers complained of retaliation for trying to expose wrongdoing inside the UN, the ethics office fully sided with the complainant just once in six years, according to the Government Accountability Project (GAP), a watchdog organisation in Washington.
"Like any internal office in an institution, it is always subjected to huge pressures from above," said Bea Edwards, GAP's executive director. "It is very difficult for an official employed by the institution to be impartial."
The dispute tribunal, which was created in 2009 in an effort to improve the UN's system of internal justice, has challenged the power of the secretariat on several occasions, forcing it to hand over evidence in Wasserstrom's case, and a higher court has rejected the UN's attempt to appeal.
Ban has sought to curb the tribunal's jurisdiction but has so far been unsuccessful.
The tribunal wants another hearing on the Wasserstrom case in October to decide how the UN should compensate him for his treatment. The American diplomat, now an anti-corruption official in the US embassy in Kabul, said he would also be asking for the UN to pay his legal costs, because its reluctance to co-operate with its own ethics office by handing over evidence had stretched the case out over several years.
"In an ideal world this would force the UN to revisit its ethics office and investigate how it interprets its own rules on whistleblowing, but the UN is far from an ideal world. Pressure has to be put on it for it to change," he said.
"I was told at some point in the whole process that the UN didn't want a 'culture of snitches'. What has grown up instead is a culture completely insulated from reality. It's a culture of impunity."
In response to the judgment, Ban's spokesman, Martin Nesirky, commented by email yesterday: "The UN Dispute Tribunal issued a judgment on liability in the case of Mr Wasserstrom, but has not yet ruled on compensation and remedies. In that sense, the matter is still open. The United Nations Secretariat is studying the judgment and, in keeping with its policy on ongoing cases, is not in a position to provide any comment now."
In 2006, Wasserstrom was working for Unmik, advising on the management of its public utilities, when he raised objections to the energy minister's takeover of the electricity corporation in contravention of international community guidelines. His concerns were shrugged off by his superiors. Months later, Wasserstrom came across evidence that two senior officials might have received bribes for awarding a contract to build a coal-fired power plant and mine.
He passed on his suspicions to the UN's Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS), the anti-corruption watchdog in New York, which began what was supposed to be a confidential inquiry. However, Wasserstrom believes his participation in the inquiry was leaked to his superiors in Unmik. As a consequence he was sacked and his office, the public utilities watchdog, was abolished.
Wasserstrom was quickly hired as a consultant by the Kosovo government to advise on running the telecommunications ministry and Pristina airport, but says that infuriated the Unmik bosses who had fired him.
On the grounds that the new job represented a conflict of interest, Wasserstrom was detained by UN police on the Kosovo border on his way to his house in Greece in May 2007, driven in custody to the capital, where UN policemen searched his apartment and car without a warrant.
The UN police put up a poster depicting Wasserstrom at the gates of Unmik headquarters and even encircled his office with crime tape, which stayed in place for several months. The conflict of interest case was eventually dropped. "It was a gigantic witch-hunt that went on several months," Wasserstrom said. "I knew there was nothing wrong with anything I had done. But they didn't even do the most basic fact-finding in their rush to find me guilty."
The OIOS investigation of Wassserstrom's suspicions about kickbacks was never published.
The UN has made several attempts at self-policing over the years, none of which proved very effective. In January 2006, after the Iraq oil-for-food scandal, the then secretary general, Kofi Annan, brought in a whistleblower protection policy, giving the ethics office the job of ensuring employees were not victimised for reporting wrongdoing.
However, its jurisdiction was undermined dramatically after Ban became secretary general in 2007. He allowed the management at the various funds and agencies under the UN umbrella to opt out of the ethics office after being subject to challenges by whistleblowers, and several of these bodies formed their own ethics offices under their own control.
The main ethics office in New York, meanwhile, found itself overwhelmed by a mass of petty issues, such as non-reimbursement of travel expenses, and a shortage of personnel, who were thinly dispersed around the world. The shortages dissuaded "walk-in service seekers", the office said in its 2010 report.
The report also pointed out that the internal justice procedures allowed the OIOS to stonewall investigations.
"The lacuna in the policy on protection against retaliation allows the investigation division of OIOS to decline to investigate a prima facie case of retaliation referred to it by the ethics office. As a result, staff may be sceptical about the ability of the ethics office to provide meaningful protection," the report noted drily.
The ethics office found there was a prima facie case of retaliation against Wasserstrom and handed the issue to the OIOS. In a report in July 2008, the investigators said Wasserstrom's treatment "appeared to be excessive" but found no evidence it was deliberately retaliatory. As a result, the ethics office dropped the case.
In its ruling last week, the UN dispute tribunal was scathing about the OIOS and the ethics office's performance. In particular, the judge Goolam Meeran upbraided the UN, "the principal agency promoting the observance of human rights norms and practices and respect for the rule of law", for having "condoned such humiliating and degrading treatment of a member of its own staff".
"I think this ruling could lead to the reopening of the claims of the other more than 200 whistleblowers who had their retaliation cases rejected, because there is a very good chance that these were turned down on the same specious grounds," Wasserstrom said. "They could be swamped by people coming forward."
The UN dispute tribunal has rejected an attempt by Ban last year to limit its jurisdiction, but Edwards predicted the secretary general could well try again.
"There are all sorts of ways the secretary general can cripple the dispute tribunal. It can be starved of budget and staff or overwhelmed with cases," she said. Meanwhile, she said the more than five years it has taken to resolve Wasserstrom's complaint could act as its own deterrent against whistleblowing within the UN.
She said: "In that time people have lost jobs, their reputations. Many lose their families. They have been destroyed."

Speaking up: other UN whistleblowers

Artjon Shkurtaj
An Albanian employee of the UN Development Programme in North Korea who found counterfeit US dollars in the office safe in Pyongyang in 2004, and was fired in 2007, a few months after reporting the find to the US mission at UN headquarters. The UN dispute tribunal ruled that his rights had been violated in 2010.
Cynthia Brzak
An American employee of the UN High Commission for Refugees who accused the high commissioner at the time, the former Dutch minister Ruud Lubbers, of sexual harassment in May 2004. Lubbers denied the charge. UN internal investigators delivered a report to the then secretary general, Kofi Annan, but it was not published. Lubbers resigned in 2005 after the report was leaked, showing the investigation upheld Brzak's complaint. The UN continued to insist the case had not been proven, and Brzak has attempted, so far without success, to seek redress in US courts.
Kathryn Bolkovac
An American working on contract in the UN police in Bosnia who was fired by her contractor, DynCorp, after reporting the involvement of other UN police in sex trafficking. DynCorp claimed Bolkovac had been dismissed for falsifying timesheets. Her case was upheld in a British court in 2002, and dramatised in the film, The Whistleblower, starring Rachel Weisz.
• This article was amended on June 28 to clarify the last paragraph regarding the film starring Rachel Weisz

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

UNDP "leased" a UNAMA Jet to fly Rebeca Grynspan from Dubai-to-Kabul-to-Dubai

@InnercityPress (Exclusive) reports on Grynspan use of a UN Jet - is this illegal?

UNAMA Jet Used by Rebeca Grynspan

UN Travel Rules say:

4.2 For official travel by air, the standard of accommodation shall be economy class, except as provided in (a)-(d) below: 

(a) For the Deputy Secretary-General and, where applicable, his or her eligible family members, first class shall be provided for travel on official business, on appointment or separation, on home leave and family visit, irrespective of the duration of the particular flight; 

(b) In order to perform their functions, for staff members in the security detail of the Secretary-General and Deputy Secretary-General, first class shall be provided for required travel; 

(c) For Under-Secretaries-General, Assistant Secretaries-General and, where applicable, their eligible family members, the class immediately below first class shall be provided for travel on official business, on appointment, reassignment or separation, on home leave and family visit, irrespective of the duration of the particular flight. However, Under-Secretaries-General and Assistant Secretaries- General designated to represent the Secretary-General on ceremonial occasions or to undertake missions in the exercise of the Secretary-General’s good offices under the Charter of the United Nations or resolutions of the General Assembly or the Security Council may, on the approval of the Secretary-General, be provided with first-class travel accommodation, irrespective of the duration of the flight involved;

Thus flying first class (which includes use of UN vehicles/jets) seem to be within the rules of the United Nations. 

Obama's administration silent - while corruption @UNDP Afghanistan goes unpunished

An InnerCityPress Exclusive

UNDP CORRUPTION: In Afghanistan Auditors reveal that UNDP management denied them access to finance related documents of LOTFA (@InnercityPress Exclusive)

In Afghanistan, UNDP Auditors Get No Documents, Scam Promotions

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive, 5th in a series

UNITED NATIONS, June 26 -- For the UN system's Law and Order Trust Fund for Afghanistan, auditors "were not provided general ledgers and supporting documentation in respect of expenses... at Jalalabad and Kandahar offices," documents obtained by Inner City Press show.

As noted in the first installment of this series LOTFA purports to be about training and "building capacity" of Afghan police. But it is essentially a money transfer and payroll service, with a sideline as a travel agency.

But even its payroll service is mismanaged and not overseen. In sample "Observation # 5" the auditors say that

"During the course of our audit we were not provided general ledgers and supporting documentation in respect of expenses pertaining to first quarter (Jan-March 2011) at Jalalabad and Kandahar offices. We were given the understanding by concerned management that the said record was sealed by Ministry of Finance after the Internal audit verification conducted by Government Internal audit department, hence it could not be unsealed without the prior approval of concerned Minister and President Office. Moreover, we were not provided with the internal audit reports of these two offices."

At the June 26 UN noon briefing, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Martin Nesirky read out a statement in response to Inner City Press' June 25 questions:

"I was asked yesterday about the views of the UN Mission in Afghanistan about a UNDP [United Nations Development Programme] project there. As I’ve already said, this is primarily a question for UNDP, but Special Representative Jan Kubiš is closely following developments and has already raised his points and concerns with the UNDP leadership in New York, as well as in Kabul."

But UNDP has STILL not sent any substantive response, now after 90 hours.

As well as resubmitting the first round of questions late on June 22, Inner City Press requested comment on this and two other audits, and asked UNDP to state:

1) WHY Manoj Basnyat is no longer the country director -- did this have ANYTHING to do with the LOTFA irregularities?
2) the date on which each of Basnyet, Sandeep Kumar and Ubadallah Sahibzada became aware of the irregularities and of the attached audits. Thanks, on deadline.

Twenty hours later, rather than answer a single question or comment on any of the audits, UNDP's Abdel-Rahman Ghandour responded that the first round of questions had ended up in UNDP's spam folder. But obviously the questions above hadn't. And still there have been no answers, now ninety hours in. (We are still seeking, however, a copy of Sandeep Kumar's book "On the Edge.") 

Meanwhile, the following has come in over the transom:

Hi Matthew, Just to let you know about Manoj Basnyat. He was shifted out of Afg end of March on a routine basis, because he had completed his term there. He is currently in NY at UNDP HQ...

Only now Manoj Basnyat's name is coming up... if you do a search with his name and Bangladesh Country Director, you will see that Basnyat was kicked out from Bangladesh as Country Director for UNDP after just one year there!... due to pressure from staff and the Govt. of Bangladesh. He was a D1 then. Of course, at UNDP, corrupt of inefficient morons are never kicked out. Instead they are promoted. He was promoted to post of CD in Afghanistan and got his D2 just last year!.... Corruption and inefficiency are often thought of as crowns of glory at the UN and at UNDP. So, thanks to these problems, Manoj will probably be promoted and made a Resident Rep / Coordinator very soon...

His boss in Afghanistan, Michael Keating is even worse and has a terrible reputation as well. Michael got his post only because of the pull from Tony Blair himself, because for the past 2 years, Michael worked in Blair's Africa Commission based in Geneva. And that is how it goes on at UN and UNDP...

That is how it is going. Watch this site.

Monday, June 25, 2012

United Nations promote Chinese SME's in Austria

During his speech on the forum, Director General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) Kandeh K. Yumkella said that China is not only a huge market for enterprises over the world, but also increasingly an important breeding ground for scientific and technological innovation. 

In this sense, during the future development of the global economy, the world needs China, and China needs the world, too, he said. 

The UNIDO is willing to provide the Chinese enterprises with necessary assistance in the process of globalization, especially in their investment in developing countries and regions including Africa, he said. 

Click here for more on this at CRI ENGLISH.COM

InnercityPress/Matthew R Lee under attack from UNDP for disseminating internal docs revealing corruption in $1.6 Billion Prog in Afghanistan

There is a disturbing new wrinkle in the troubling effort to oust Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press from the United Nations Correspondents Association.Voice of America, whose reporter Margaret Basheer was one of the original journalists lodging the complaint about Lee to UNCA, has intensified the confrontation, officially requesting that Stephane Dujarric, head of the U.N.’s News &. Media Division, review Lee’s press accreditation.
Worse, this taxpayer-supported operation is urging the U.N. to rescind Lee’s accreditation. The U.S. mission should intervene to block this press-chilling maneuver.
The effort to drop Lee from UNCA’s membership is disappointing, but that membership is not a prerequisite for being a credentialed member of the U.N. press corps. U.N. press credentials are granted by the UN Media Accreditation and Liaison Unit (MALU).  By asking that Lee’s U.N. press credentials be reviewed, VOA is seeking to deny him entirely the ability to access the U.N. as a member of the media. Since Inner City Press focuses almost exclusively on the U.N., it is no exaggeration to say that this would cripple Lee’s ability to do his job.
Ostensibly, VOA is making the request because it considers Lee “disruptive and unprofessional.” Furthermore, the letter states, “his behavior is impeding the freedom VOA’s correspondent and others need in order to report what they see and know from the United Nations.” VOA does not accuse Lee of physically threatening anyone, but of sending numerous “borderline harassing” e-mails that make reporters “uncomfortable.” Apparently, all the hard-bitten reporters are off covering other beats. 
Richard Grenell, who served as the United States Spokesman at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations for eight years, sees different motivations behind the complaint: fear of competition and a desire to protect the U.N. from Lee’s inquiries.
The UN press corps functions as the 194th member of the United Nations. There are some amazingly dedicated and tough reporters at the UN, but they are overshadowed by the majority who have their own priorities when covering the UN. These types protect the UN system and those that support it.
Matt Lee from InnerCityPress wrote constantly about issues that nobody else covered.  He forced me to work harder and keep up with arcane issues or new angles. He isn’t playing the UN reporters’ game and so they will use their institutional power to oust him. His small but constant operation is taking on the diplomatic hierarchy, and those that fear being exposed as non-journalists are going to fight hard against him. I hope the leadership of Bloomberg News, Reuters and the taxpayer funded Voice of America take notice of their reporters’ actions at the UN to muscle out a tenacious and aggressive reporter who keeps scooping them.
On the U.N.’s World Press Freedom Day this past May, Secretary Hillary Clintonstated, “When a free media is under attack anywhere, all human rights are under attack everywhere.” It is very hard to square that firm support for freedom of the press with a U.S.-government-funded broadcaster like VOA seeking to oust an American journalist from the U.N. because he makes a reporter uncomfortable and doesn’t act as they would like him to act.
Unlike journalists in many other countries, Lee’s life isn’t under threat. But his livelihood is. The U.S. Mission should remind the U.N. that Article 19 of theUniversal Declaration of Human Rights defends freedom of expression and the media.  It is just as relevant in the corridors of Turtle Bay as it is elsewhere.  

UNDP Corruption: European Union expresses concern that UNDP HQs and Afghanistan might be shredding documents


still has full access in his ATLAS 
UNDP Project databases including procurement authorities


Corruption @undpafghan : Helen Clark continues to produce Youtube movies to advertise a failed project

UNDP/LOTFA Police Film Festival 2012 - Videos

US Committee for UNDP awarded Manoj Basnyat 2011 Award for exceptional work (while corruption was looming)

Click here for this on US.UNDP.ORG 

Julia V. Taft Award Presented to UNDP's Afghanistan Office

WASHINGTON, June 21, 2011—The United States Committee for the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) today presented its annual Julia V. Taft Award to UNDP’s Afghanistan-based office for its exceptional work in helping the country to reconcile and rebuild after decades of conflict.

“UNDP’s Country Office in Afghanistan delivers the largest UNDP programme anywhere in the world,” UNDP Administrator Helen Clark told a reception at the Canadian Embassy in Washington, D.C.

“In doing so, staff face two key challenges. The first is the low, although slowly improving, capacity of national and local institutions that need to be able to implement programmes effectively and deliver essential services.”

But the second challenge, security conditions on the ground, often prevents UNDP from “being where it would like to be in the country to support capacity-building and programme delivery,” she said, citing four suicide attacks against UN operations in Afghanistan since 2009.

Kenneth Wollack, President of the National Democratic Institute and Chair of the Steering Group of the US Committee for UNDP, presented the 2011 award to Manoj Basnyat, UNDP Resident Representative (ad interim) and Country Director in Afghanistan.

“This is an honor that we share with our partners in the government and the international community,” Basnyat said. “This is a partnership that brings hope and optimism to the Afghan people. UNDP is working with the government and international donors to build up their future.”
UNDP’s programme in Afghanistan was approved with a budget of US$1.1 billion for 2010-2013, based on the Afghan government’s priorities.

In her speech to an audience of some 200 guests, Helen Clark cited a range of UNDP work, including training and support for the Afghan Independent Election Commission to organize free and fair elections and helping Afghanistan maintain its national police system.

The Administrator also referred to UNDP’s support to the work of provincial, district, and municipal governments aimed at ensuring their transition to full responsibility for delivering services.

Through small grants, UNDP also provides a bridge for former combatants between their first 90 days at home and the start of longer-term reintegration programmes.

The Julia V. Taft Award is presented annually by the US Committee for UNDP to a UNDP Country Office that has demonstrated the impact of teamwork to build a more democratic, prosperous, peaceful and secure world in a particularly challenging location.

The award was established in 2009 in memory of Julia Taft, an active member of the U.S. Committee before her untimely death from cancer in 2008. It was presented last year to UNDP in Haiti after the devastating January 2010 earthquake.

Rural Energy Scandal: In #Afghanistan @UNDP gave millions to Rajendra K Pachauri's "The Energy and Resources Institute" (TERI) 4 Rural Energy consulting - conflict of interest

Promoting South-South Cooperation to Bring Energy to Afghanistan’s Rural Areas

A microhydropower plant provides electricity to this business owner in Panjshir province. The majority of people in Afghanistan have no access to electricity at all.  Photo by MRRD/Heidi Carruba.A microhydropower plant provides electricity to this business owner in Panjshir province. The majority of people in Afghanistan have no access to electricity at all. Photo by MRRD/Heidi Carruba.
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) recently facilitated a landmark agreement between The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) of India and Afghanistan’s Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development (MRRD) to develop capacity, assist in programme design, and provide other institutional support to the country’s efforts to provide nationwide electricity to Afghanistan’s rural population.

July 2011 - Nearly 80% of the population in Afghanistan lives in rural areas, with poor road and infrastructure connections to schools, hospitals, and markets. The majority of them have little or no access to electricity. Only 15% of the country is connected to electricity grid, which leaves most of Afghanistan living in darkness.

“Any development has to be driven by the provision of energy,” says Dr. Rajendra K Pachauri, the Director-General of India’s The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI). He should know; India has seen rapid development in recent years and, according to data from the International Energy Agency (IEA) , more than 80 million people in India have gained access to electricity in the past 5 years.

Now, Dr. Pachauri and TERI will bring their regional expertise to help build Afghanistan’s rural energy initiatives. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) recently facilitated a landmark agreement between TERI and Afghanistan’s Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development (MRRD) to develop capacity, assist in programme design, and provide other institutional support to the country’s efforts to provide nationwide electricity to Afghanistan’s rural population.

“Much focus [on energy] has been put on this particular field in the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development in its long-term strategy,” says H.E. Jarullah Mansoori, Minister of MRRD. “I am very thankful to Dr. Pachauri for his contribution to raise the capacity of our programme and enhance the use of renewable energy resources in rural areas.”

MRRD has already made progress in addressing the country’s enormous electricity gap. It recently established a rural energy component as part of UNDP’s National Area-Based Development Programme (NABDP), which has brought electricity to over 10,000 homes in rural Afghanistan. To help build this programme and develop MRRD’s capacity, UNDP tapped into its regional and global network of experts to find a partner that could provide the right assistance.

With TERI’s expertise and support from UNDP, MRRD will expand and strengthen this program to create a new national priority energy program, with a focus on sustainable, renewable energy sources.

“Whatever we do has to be sustainable,” says Dr. Pachauri. As the Chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), he and former United States Vice-President Al Gore won the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for their work on environmental issues. Dr. Pachauri, therefore, brings unparalleled insight into this area. “It is a matter of great pride for us to partner with [MRRD] in this important initiative.”
UNDP brings regional expertise to help tackle Afghanistan’s rural energy problems. From left to right: Manoj Basnyat, UNDP Afghanistan Country Director; Zahid Hamdard, Deputy Programme Manager, National Area-Based Development Programme; H.E. Jarullah Mansoori, Minister of Rural Rehabilitation and Recovery; Dr. Rajendra K Pachauri, Nobel Prize Winner and Director-General of The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) of India.UNDP brings regional expertise to help tackle Afghanistan’s rural energy problems. From left to right: Manoj Basnyat, UNDP Afghanistan Country Director; Zahid Hamdard, Deputy Programme Manager, National Area-Based Development Programme; H.E. Jarullah Mansoori, Minister of Rural Rehabilitation and Recovery; Dr. Rajendra K Pachauri, Nobel Prize Winner and Director-General of The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) of India.