Sunday, 18 August 2013

Here's how you get a job at the UN – video


Top-heavy U.N.: Bureaucrats ’r us

When Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon speaks of reform and better efficiencies at the United Nations, it's a tad difficult to take him seriously because he's increased the number of top Turtle Bay executives by 35 percent.
Between June 2006 — six months before Mr. Ban's start date — and March 2013, about 50 U.N. bureaucrats, with the rank of assistant secretary-general (ASG) and higher, have been added to the payroll, notes U.N. watchdog Brett D. Schaefer of The Heritage Foundation. At $172,301 per ASG and $189,599 per undersecretary-general (USG), the cost quickly adds up.
By comparison, the U.S. government is downright frugal: “On average, the U.N. has one USG equivalent for every 759 employees while the U.S. executive branch on average has one cabinet official for every 91,391 employees,” writes Mr. Schaefer, based on data from the U.S. Office of Management and Budget.
This bloat suggests an unprecedented level of politicization and patronage. All of which explains why the excessively top-heavy U.N. is not known for its expediency in responding to world crises — or anything else.
Far more's the pity that the U.S. gets stuck paying the largest share of the U.N.'s tab among member nations.
The U.N.'s executive excess is outrageous. And contrary to the insistence of the Obama administration, the U.S. cannot realistically reform that which stubbornly resists change.

UN supresses report on MDG failuers but author releases it anyway

STUDY: United Nation's Millennium Development Goals Did Not Accelerate Progress

The research, done by a U.N. statistician, was published independently after the U.N. declined to release it



Charity boss 'earning more than £100,000'

Charity boss 'earning more than £100,000' a year says six-figure salaries 'aren't an issue for donors'
Astonishing outburst came as pressure grows on charity bosses
Figures show at least 30 enjoy salaries of more than £100,000 a year
Many organisation are taxpayer funded through government, EU and UN
Head of Charity Commission accused right-wingers of hating charities

New Report Holds U.N. Responsible for Haitian Cholera Epidemic

The United Nations inadvertently caused a deadly cholera epidemic in Haiti, and has legal and moral obligations to remedy this harm, according to new report released by researchers at Yale Law School and the Yale School of Public Health.

The UN’s Millennium Development Flop

... The deeper problem here is that the MDGs, for all their lofty aims, amount in many ways to simply a UN-repackaged version of central planning. While we can all agree that it is profoundly desirable to end poverty, the real avenue to that goal is not a set of bureaucratically defined targets, but decent government, protecting a framework of law that leaves individuals free to choose for themselves the tradeoffs with which they try to improve their lives. At a UN where the majority of the 193 member states are not free market democracies, that’s a goal much harder to promote than a set of slickly packaged MDGs. But if the aim is to make a difference, that’s what needs galvanizing. Something the U.S. ambassador could usefully contribute would be to call attention to Friedman’s study, and ask the assembled worthies, in public, why on earth the UN would have the arrogance to consider such damning findings irrelevant.

UN director in Gaza quits for new post

John Ging leaves UNRWA to take senior New York post after years as champion of Gazans' rights

GA sets up new UN Sustainable Development Forum

On July 9, the United Nations General Assembly established a new High-level Forum to focus on sustainable development. The new body replaces the UN Commission on Sustainable Development in order to catalyze efforts on global development issues.

Italian firm to provide surveillance drone for UN in Congo

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The United Nations said on Thursday it has procured an unarmed surveillance drone from Italian defense electronics firm Selex ES, a unit of Finmeccanica, that will be deployed in the Democratic Republic of Congo in the coming weeks.

Panel: UN reliance on private security firms grows

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — An expert panel called Thursday for more transparency surrounding the deepening reliance of the United Nations on private security companies for services from armed guards to police training.
The Working Group on the Use of Mercenaries, an independent panel mandated by the U.N. Human Rights Council, held a series of meetings and debates this week as part of its ongoing investigation into a practice that is drawing increasing scrutiny. The five-member group plans to present a report next year.

IMO - Salaries at the world body are out of control, writes a former staffer

April 26, 2012
By Katrin Park - Katrin Eun-Myo Park
The United Nations greatly overpays its staffers, argues the authors.At the UN in New York, I once had a boss who, whenever she had to take a personal trip back to Africa, found a conference to attend. The UN then paid for her business class flights between New York and Dakar, for instance, and gave her a travel allowance. She kept the mileage.
One Saturday, she called me on her way to the airport. She said I needed to find her another flight because she was running late. When I called her back with new flight details — 40 minutes and a thousand dollars later — she told me she managed to check in and hung up.
Knowing the pompous squandering of public resources that go on inside the UN, I cannot entirely refute the cynical comment that the UN takes money from poor people in rich countries and gives it to rich people in poor countries.
What I can say is that there are insiders dedicated to promoting the universal values of the United Nations. I can also say that the UN should do housecleaning of its own, as it urges others to up the ante in their fight against corruption.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Sustainable Development: The Global Challenge of Resource-Efficient Growth

... The 13th edition of TERI’s annual Delhi Sustainable Development Summit (DSDS) revolves around the theme, The Global Challenge of Resource-Efficient Growth and Development, arguably one of the most crucial issues facing world economies at present.  The Summit—which will be held from January 31 to February 2, 2013 in Indian capital New Delhi--seeks to facilitate discussions to strengthen and further the resolutions adopted in The Future We Want...
Drew Linzer: The stats man who predicted Obama's win – VIDEO
Pundits insisted the presidential race was a toss-up, but "polling aggregators" - who analyse polls to make predictions - were being criticised for favouring President Obama. Not any more.

American Contributions to the UN: Small Outlay. Big Results

The House Foreign Affairs Committee are trying to cut American financial contributions to the United Nations. Republicans who are championing this measure say it is a way to help balance the books. In reality, American dues payments to the United Nations amount to a tiny fraction of the overall budget. But even for that small investment, the United States gets a lot back in return.

U.K.-Funded U.N. Document Supports Online Surveillance — Just Like the Brits Want

SurveillanceGovernment officials don't generally need much encouragement to snoop on people, and they're not especially shy about the practice, either — just look at the Obama administration's continuing argument that legal challenges to domestic spying shouldn't be permitted because they'd expose "state secrets." But a little cover for preferred policies is always helpful, so that politicians can point to "expert" recommendations to justify what they were going to do anyway. That's where a recent report from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime comes in, since it urges politicos hither and yon to impose closer scrutiny and tighter regulations on the Internet.

Vienna meeting to launch implementation of UN Action Plan on the Safety of Journalists - 22 and 23 November, 2012

In the first nine months of 2012 UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova condemned 95 killings of journalists, media workers and bloggers, a dramatic increase compared to previous years. The 2nd UN Inter-Agency Meeting on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity will be held in Vienna (Austria) on 22 and 23 November as part of international efforts to stem this violence, which undermines the basic human right of freedom of expression in many parts of the world and restricts citizens’ ability to get the full range of independent information to which they are entitled.
For accreditation, contact:

An open letter to Obama from the world's poorest countries - VIDEO

As president you have helped those who cause climate change more than those affected most by it. Helping the world's poorest adapt is now a matter of urgency, and it can be your great legacy

Appoint Bill Clinton Peace Envoy

by Bernard Avishai
Bernard Avishai is Adjunct Professor of Business at the Hebrew University, and Visiting Professor of Government at Dartmouth College.
President Obama's next move in the Middle East is so obvious I almost hesitate to suggest it: before the Israeli election season completely unfolds, ask, cajole, or beg Bill Clinton to take on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
Clinton understands the details and the players. He naturally symbolizes the achievements of the Abbas-Olmert negotiations, which picked up where the Clinton parameters left off. He is extremely popular in Israel and (through Ehud Barak) very close to the Israeli defense community. He is insanely popular among American Jews.

UN encourages staff to show solidarity with victims of Hurricane Sandy - AUDIO


Mending Misperceptions about the United Nations

... When it comes to UN-related misperceptions, these three examples represent the tip of the iceberg. Other UN detractors have suggested the upcoming meeting of International Telecommunications Union members in December represents an insidious attempt by the UN to control the Internet—a prospect rendered impossible not only by the role and function of that institution, but also by the fact that delegations attending the meeting have little taste for such a scheme...

UN Envoy Susan Rice Is Top Candidate to Succeed Clinton

Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, is emerging as the favored candidate to succeed Hillary Clinton as secretary of state, even with the political controversy over her remarks about the fatal Sept. 11 attack on the American diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya.
Six current or former White House officials, who all spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations, said Rice remains close to President Barack Obama and shares many of his views on foreign policy. They emphasized that the president hasn’t made a final decision, and Clinton may remain in her post for some months into Obama’s second term.

United Nations Foundation President Timothy E. Wirth Congratulates President Obama

Continued bipartisan support for United States-United Nations relationship remains critical to U.S. interests.
United Nations Foundation President Timothy E. Wirth today issued the following statement on the results of the United States presidential election:
“Congratulations to President Obama on his victory last night. The United Nations Foundation looks forward to working with the Obama Administration to maintain strong U.S. engagement and leadership at the United Nations — a policy priority favored by the majority of Americans across the political spectrum.

Secretary-General Ban congratulates US President Barack Obama on re-election

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warmly congratulates President Barack Obama on his re-election as President of the United States, a spokesperson for the world body's head said overnight.
“The Secretary-General looks forward to continuing to work with President Obama and his administration in the spirit of the enduring partnership between the United States and the United Nations,” Mr. Ban's spokesperson added in a statement.

Friday, 19 October 2012

UN announces Jeffrey Sachs' leadership of new Sustainability Initiative (PDF)

"Government, Geography, and Growth: The True Drivers of Economic Development," Foreign Affairs, September/October 2012. 

How to Advance the Rule of Law (Hint: Outside the UN)

At the United Nations, support for the rule of law has the aura of mom’s apple pie: Everybody loves it. Unfortunately, consensus ends there. UN member states can’t agree on how to define it, much less how to advance it globally. It’s unsurprising, then, that last week’s “High-Level UN Meeting on the Rule of Law” (perhaps you missed it?) was a bust. The meeting’s final declaration was a festival of empty blather, even by UN standards. And that is a wasted opportunity. For as my friend and colleague Mark Lagon points out in a just released policy innovation memorandum from the Council on Foreign Relations, improving the rule of law worldwide may be the critical step in improving prospects for human dignity and prosperity in the twenty-first century.  The lesson of the last week is that this effort can’t be left to the United Nations.

United Nations wants more power

The president of the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday called upon nations to grant the UN more authority over global affairs.
“In reviewing the many statements that have been made, I have been struck by how much common ground exists on a wide range of issues," said Assembly President Vuk Jeremic of Serbia. "Obviously, significant differences of opinion remain to be overcome. Nevertheless, I believe there is room for optimism.”

Iran sets up secret team to infiltrate UN nuclear watchdog, say officials

… Mr Afarideh, reported to have close links with Iran 's ministry of intelligence, is in regular contact with a team of Iranian nuclear engineers seconded to work at the IAEA's Vienna headquarters…

Greenwash, Sustainable Development and Saving the Planet: Reasons to be both hugely disappointed and very excited

... Do you think that UNIDO has an important role as a bridge between the UN, governments and the business sector?
The UN is increasingly ignored or written off by many observers, including in the private sector, either because it isn’t responding to the key challenges ahead, or is seen as excessively slow and bureaucratic. While the UN needs to remain sensitive to these critiques, I think it still has a huge and not fully exploited role to play. There is no other global institution with the legitimacy, wealth of expertise and experience of the UN system. This gives it a unique moral and political leadership role. The UN Secretary-General’s Sustainable Energy for All Initiative (which is chaired by UNIDO Director-General, Kandeh Yumkella) and UNIDO’s Green Industry Platform, which was recently launched at the Rio+20 Conference, are pioneering a new level of global issue focus and partnership with industry. Initiatives such as these are essential to drive the transition to a new model of sustainable development and economic growth, which draws on the combined strengths of the public, private and civil society sectors. I am personally a big supporter of UNIDO’s Green Industry Platform, which I think represents a historic opportunity to bring together United Nations bodies with the business community to profile and promote best practices and inspire policy and technology innovations to advance Green Industry. This is our best hope of delivering, not only the continued development and economic growth needed for poverty alleviation and job creation, but also of preserving and restoring the ecosystems on which our collective future depends...

Is Afghanistan too dangerous for the U.N. Security Council?

... At the request of Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations -- who also favored postponing the trip -- attendance at today's meeting was restricted to the top Security Council ambassadors.
One council diplomat said that the official reason for the trip's cancellation is that no dates had ever been set and the consensus was that it would be better to postpone until the new year. But the "obvious reason," the official said, "is that you don't want to go to these dangerous places when there are threats."

US warns European governments against supporting Palestinians at UN

Private memo threatens 'significant negative consequences' if Palestinian Authority succeeds in obtaining enhanced status

Palestinian U.N. status likely to be debated in November

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The United Nations is likely to hold a debate on whether to upgrade the Palestinians' U.N. status to a sovereign country in mid-November - after the U.S. election, the president of the 193-member U.N. General Assembly said on Wednesday.
Having failed last year to win recognition of full statehood at the United Nations, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said last week he would seek a less-ambitious status upgrade at the world body to make it a "non-member state" like the Vatican.