Thursday, 26 March 2009

SCANDAL: - Claudio Aponte returns to CEPA 2009 as University Observer

OIOS investigated DESA and found that Mr. Claudio Aponte was hired from Guido Bertucci and TCMS illegally against all established rules and regulations. Moreover, MR. Aponte had not produced nor filed any end-of-mission reports for his alleged work, despite hundreds of thousands of dollars paid to him on fees and expensive transatlantic travel costs.

As we already provided proof of the miss-representation of Claudio Aponte of both DESA and Mexico Government, the miss-management in DPADM seem to have no limits. 

Haiyan Qian, who owns her job to Guido Bertucci, is now paying Claudio Aponte's travel and DSA to allow him to attend CEPA 2009 (click here for list of observers) - but this time as Observer of the Autonomous University of Mexico......UAUUUUUUUUUUUUU

But wasn't last year that Mr. Aponte represented Mexico Government at CEPA, and the year before(08)....and the year before(07)?? 

So please Ms QIAN -

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

CAIMED - Millions of dollars sinked into the sea of Naples on fake project/activities

the name is Center for Administrative Innovation in the Euro-Mediterranean Region, location is Naples or Napoli the "garbage" and "gomorra" capital of Italy.

It's aim was noble to create: 

An open space for the exchange of information and knowledge on innovation in public administration in the Euro-Mediterranean Region. Jointly managed by UNDESA (United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs) and Formez (Training and Study Centre), Caimed is an On-Line Regional Centre of the United Nations Global Network on Public Administration (UNPAN)
but so far except a couple of failed regional meetings and round tables, the multi-million Euro project ended without any tangible results.

Instead the only substantive result was to spend 87% of its budgets into fake Project Officers , Support Administrative Staff and Consultants - whom actually never worked a single day at the Naples Center. The Chief Technical Advisor of the Project instead of being located in Naples/Italy as per the agreed MoU with Italian Government ended up seating next door to Guido Bertucci in New York, thousands of miles away and managed to visit the project only twice during its 5 years life span. 

Most importantly in a latest review has become clear that Bertucci, De-Tomassi and Oveissi awarded the MoU to Formez (the Italian Counterpart NGO) without any international bid nor competitive process. 

Millions of dollars were let go without any final evaluation nor a final-exit report. Hundreds of thousand of dollars spent in Project Assets were "disposed" without any care resulting in almost a quarter of million dollars in "write-off". 


(Including a totally illegal and non-existent Catherine Gazzoli,

Sunday, 22 March 2009

Gherardo Casini auto-nominate himself DESA Representative in Rome/Italy

These days Mr. Gharado Casini is presenting himself in Rome/Italy as the Head of DESA's Office in Rome.

We would like to ask Mr. Sha Zukang the following questions:
- Since when UN- DESA has a representation Office in Rome?
- Based on which bilateral agreement or letter of Intent does this office function in Rome?
- Who gave Mr. Casini the right to nominate this Office as DESA's Representation Office in Rome ?
- Did DESA inform the Secretariat Department of Management on this outpost in Rome and how come the DM has no clue of the existence of this office?
- We would like to ask OIOS if they have ever been able to audit and investigate the operations this UN-Secretariat outpost?
After many journalists asked the Secretariat and DM last week about DESA's Representation in Rome, a DM official (who doesn't want to be quoted for fear of retaliation) responded that as per DM/Secretariat - DESA has no representation in Rome and in no other country in the world for that matter. DESA has only listed one(1) Professional Project Staff in Rome under Parliamentary Project who is a Project Staff and as such has no rights to represent nor speak on behalf of DESA or United Nations unless previously instructed in writing from USG-DESA or Secretariat.

But Mr. Casini, seem so much confident about his title that he has also been able to put up a website called UN-DESA Office in Italy. After inspecting the website of Mr. Casini, we want to ask the following questions to Sha Zukang and Ban Ki-Moon:

- How come a UN official website like ( is NOT hosted inside the UN servers;
- How come a UN official website like UNDESA-ITALY does NOT follow UN's Information Property rules and regulatory formats put in place at HQs and elsewhere?;
Here is a link to the website of DESA's Representative in Rome - Mr. Gherardo Casini:

Thursday, 19 March 2009

UN Audit report slams internal Procurement and Contract Management practices

by Contract Lifecycle Management

un-logo20copyA recent internal audit report written by the United Nations Joint Inspection Unit, and reported by Fox News,  provides damning evidence of the deep inefficiencies and unnecessary costs incurred by the various agencies and organisations of the United Nations.

The report is highly critical of the lack of control over internal procurement and contract management procedures, particularly when purchasing the services from external consultants and service providers.

The report’s key findings are listed below:

  • Non-specialist line-of-business staff frequently undertake the management of procurement processes and contract drafting because Procurement staff often do not have the specialist skills or knowledge in certain technical or specialist areas
  • Evidence of widespread disregard for enforcing existing contract rules and procedures
  • Procurement of goods and services is in many cases uncontrolled due to a ‘lack of capacity and expertise’ in Procurement functions
  • No formal provision of management information or reports to key managers, which has led to significant duplication of effort and cost in the procurement of products and services
  • Staff do not have ready access to a repository of contracts, templates or clauses.  The report notes that ‘providing an automated contract management system would increase the quality of the procurement process’
  • Certain UN organisations and agencies hire external consultants to provide procurement functions with the necessary knowledge, gathered from elsewhere in the organisation, to carry out the procurement of a product or service

Ouch!  So that is where our contributions to the UN are going.

Of course, even the UN themselves recognise that their procurement and contract management woes could be solved in part by deploying technology to address some of these issues.  The UN Joint Inspection Unit report notes that:

‘the integration of an electronic Contract Management system would significantly improve contract management by facilitiating the tracking of contracts and also provide transparency of contract information organisation-wide’ and that ‘UN organisations should establish systematic information flows for contracts, procurement documents and reports and develop systems to share them. This will:

  • Improve effectiveness of contracting
  • enhance efficiency
  • improve controls and compliance’.

Although the UN’s situation is rather extreme and most organisations do not publicly make available the conclusions of internal process reviews, they are by no means alone.  Both public and private sector organisations are often beset by similar contract management issues.

Organisations looking to improve their contract management processes should look for the following five key attributes in a Contract Lifecycle Management solution:

  1. Contract authoring tools to enable the efficient and rapid creation of contracts - involving both legal or procurement specialists as well as domain experts in the business
  2. Electronic workflow tools to facilitate internal contract reviews and approvals
  3. Secure document repository to save and archive contracts and associated documentation
  4. Electronic workspaces to collaborate more effectively with contracted third parties
  5. Management reports and alerts to allow managers to proactively manage contracted commitments and obligations

Remember though, that technology solutions are not a panacea.  Unless an organisation and its internal stakeholders are properly prepared for the implementation of a complex process-automation solution, like a Contract Management system, then the liklihood of the technology being adopted by end-users, and the organisation extracting the expected benefits from the system will be lessened.

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

UN's Broken Promises (a movie By Ron Silver and David N. Bossie)

WHEN the United Nations Charter was signed in 1945, it promised to "save succeeding generations from the scourge of war."

Sixty-four years later, the United Nations is at a crossroads. Never have the organization's ideals and institutions been under greater strain and scrutiny.

What follows is an abridged version of the arguments made in our new documentary film, "Broken Promises, The United Nations at 60." It is a call for the United Nations to live up to the goals and objectives of its charter.

Monday, 16 March 2009

Senior Review Group (SRG) contested three times the selection of Haiyan Qian as replacement of Bertucci

The post of Director of DPADM remained vacant for 8 months after its advertisement in June 2008. Following the statutory procedures, on 3 October 2008 DESA submitted to the Secretary-General a detailed comparative evaluation of the six previously short-listed candidates, together with recommendation for appointment of the most qualified and  experienced candidate (Haiyan Qian - Chinese Nationality).

The United Nations staff recruitment process is currently governed by administrative instruction ST/AI/2006/3, “Staff selection system”, promulgated on 15 November 2006, which applies mutatis mutandis to DESA and establishes without ambiguity in its provision 2.3 that selection decisions are made by the head of department/office when the central review body, the Senior Review Group in accordance with provision 3.1, is satisfied that the evaluation criteria have been properly applied and that the applicable procedures were followed. It elaborates by adding that if a list of qualified candidates has been approved, the head of department/office may select any one of those candidates for the advertised vacancy, subject to the provisions contained in section 9.2.

The above is reiterated in provision 9.1, which further clarifies: the selection shall be made by the official having authority to make the decision on behalf of the Secretary-General when the central review body finds that the evaluation criteria were improperly applied and/or that the applicable procedures were not followed, in accordance with the provisions of section 5.6 of ST/SGB/2002/6.

The submission was first considered by the Senior Review Group in early October 2008, who posed lots of technical questions and observations and requested additional clarifications from DESA's management for at least three times (in a period of 4 months). 

Sources familiar to SRG say that the Group contested DESA's decision to go with Haiyan QIan's candidacy and demanded that DESA re-advertise the position. SRG questioned the methodology and pre-approved evaluation criteria used by DESA and as per the sources contested the substantive comparative evaluation done by DESA on the applicants. 

But Sha Zukang was not satisfied with the recommendations from SRG and therefore went to Ban Ki Moon and demanded that he overule the decision of SRG and appoint Haiyan Qian as Director(D2). Meanwhile because of the lengthy process, many female candidates had already droped out, leaving in the race only two reputable public administration experts and Haiyan Qian. 

After submitting its recommendation for appointment, SRG informally learned that the Secretary-General, through an internal memorandum (ST/SGB/2009/2) produced in early morning of 1st January 2009 (when everyone was home in holidays), had modified provisions 2.3 and 9.1 mentioned above for the selection process for posts at the D-2 level by requesting that at least three candidates be proposed, including at least one female candidate. Sources familiar with SRG question not only the fairness of trying to apply a new procedure for selecting DPADM Director without previously consulting it and after the SRG response had been made, but also the legality of changing a procedure on a fundamental question without at least informing the General Assembly and the staff.

On the basis of the above-mentioned internal memorandum (ST/SGB/2009/2), throughout the process it was clear that the Sha Zukang and Ban Ki Moon were attempting to impose a female candidate for the post. 

The SRG, one of the main functions of which is to give assurances to the Member States that their mandates are translated into action by the secretariats, carefully considered this aspect. Preference should be given to female candidates in cases of equal qualifications and experience, which was not the case on this occasion. Moreover, paragraph 3 of annex 2 of ST/AI/2006/3 states that explanation should be provided only when the recommended candidate is a male candidate where an equally qualified female candidate exists and the gender target of the department has not been met. The female candidate ranked fifth in the comparative evaluation in the overall unanimous opinion of the SRG, and therefore an attempt to give priority to her candidature over other, more qualified candidates would be not only a violation of the United Nations policies and procedures governing gender balance, but discrimination against the other candidates.

Moreover, in an unprecedented departure from the provisions of ST/AI/2006/3 and in violation of established procedures, Sha Zukang decided to re-interview the six short-listed candidates so as to propose a different list of candidates to the Secretary-General, without any justification other than its ’ impressions about the candidates’ performance during the interview with respect to “their vision and fresh ideas”. 

Members of SRG are convinced that Sha Zukang is not more knowledgeable about DESA’s needs than the SRG itself, nor better qualified or more competent to determine which candidate could best assist DPADM in carrying out their responsibilities. Many at SRG strongly object to the illegal action of Sha Zukang and deeply regrets that the Secretary-General, as the Chief Administrative Officer of the United Nations, and thus in charge of promoting accountability as a key element for good management, has not yet taken any action to remedy this uncomfortable situation that negatively affects the operations and functioning of the only Public Administration Division of the UN.

Friday, 13 March 2009

Did you attend yesterday's - Town Hall ?

Thank you Mr. Sha for your great Vision and the future you planning for all of us in DESA.
We really appreciated the details, planning and most importantly extensive changes we have achieved under your leadership in past year.
You are a great Leader !!!

Thursday, 12 March 2009

UN chief seeks to smooth over 'deadbeat' comment

By JOHN HEILPRIN – 3 hours ago

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — After drawing a rebuke from the White House, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon tried Thursday to smooth over his characterization of the U.S. as a "deadbeat" for its late payments to the world body.

"My point was simply that the United Nations needs the fullest support of its members, and never more so than in these very demanding times," Ban told reporters at U.N. headquarters

The White House objected to Ban's use of the word "deadbeat" to describe the U.S. during a private meeting Wednesday with lawmakers at the Capitol, a day after he met with President Barack Obama in the Oval Office.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Ban's "word choice was unfortunate," given that the U.S. is the largest contributor to the United Nations.

The United States pays 22 percent of the organization's nearly $5 billion operating budget but is perennially late paying its dues.

Asked whether Ban should retract his comment, Gibbs said some recognition by Ban of the U.S. role would be appropriate.

"I think given the contribution that the American taxpayer makes, I do think it would be appropriate to acknowledge that role," Gibbs told reporters at his daily briefing.

Ban visited the White House at Obama's invitation Tuesday, then made the rounds Wednesday on Capitol Hill seeking to improve relations between the United Nations and the U.S.

On Thursday, Ban called his choice of words a "misunderstanding."

"I noted how generous the United States has been in supporting the U.N., both in terms of assessed and voluntary contributions. At the same time, I noted that the United States is also the largest debtor, owing more than $1 billion in arrears, soon to reach $1.6 billion," he said.

The U.S. is behind on its payments partly because its budget runs on a different calendar than the U.N.'s, but also because Congress and previous U.S. administrations have withheld funding to try to push through U.N. reforms or because of other ideological disputes.

Obama has pledged to fix that.

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the senior Republican on the House Foreign Relations Committee, said she took "great umbrage" at Ban's use of the word "deadbeat."

Mark Kornblau, a spokesman for the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, said that "those are not the words we would have chosen to encourage Congress to address this problem."

Ban drew muted support from his meetings in Congress, where members privately described him as dedicated, thoughtful and serious but generating little excitement. Some of the House and Senate leaders who met with Ban agreed with his assessment of the United States' late payments.

"Clearly they have an interest in the United States meeting its responsibility. In terms of peacekeeping, we're about $670 million behind, and I think the argument is well-stated," said Rep. Bill Delahunt, a Democrat on the House Foreign Relations Committee.

Ban also met with Democratic Rep. Ed Markey, who heads a House global warming panel, and Sen. John Kerry, the Senate Foreign Relations chairman.

"Around the world, the United Nations is underfunded and overtasked," Kerry said, standing beside Ban and Republican Sen. Richard Lugar.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

UN's Procurement Business is Managerial Disaster, Report Reveals

By George Russell


EXCLUSIVE: The United Nations' $10 billion procurement business-the buying of goods and services for its operations worldwide-is a managerial disaster, in which its own procedures are not followed, documentation is often missing and the total amount spent on consultants is unknown, according to a damning report now being quietly circulated at the world body.

Moreover, the U.N.'s top managers have apparently been failing to meet requests from the U.N. General Assembly to fix the situation since at least 2001.

The conclusions appear in a sharply-worded, 40-page note to the U.N.'s top managers that was delivered in early December. The note, obtained by FOX News, appears to confirm a dismal portrait of the U.N.'s major money-spending activities that the organization has often vehemently denied.

The inspectors who prepared the latest management report work for a specialized, Geneva-based watchdog of the world organization known as the Joint Inspection Unit (JIU). The JIU's job is to assess and improve the efficiency and coordination of the U.N. worldwide through its inspection and recommendation process.

Its prescriptions for improving management, however, only have the force of recommendations --and in this case, the inspectors note, they made some of the same suggestions as far back as 1999, with little apparent effect.

The new document bears the numbing title of "Corporate Consultancies in United Nations System Organizations," and for its first 13 pages is mainly a highly-critical examination of U.N. usage of consultants for such things as information management, management restructuring and internal analysis.

Click here to read the report.

When it comes to hiring consultants, the inspectors also find the U.N. as a whole badly wanting -- starting with the fact that, as the report notes, "in the United Nations system, there is no definition of corporate consultancy," and the organization apparently doesn't even know how much money it is spending on the service.

Only 15 of the U.N.'s roughly 35 funds, programs and agencies, plus the U.N. Secretariat, provided any statistics at all for the JIU inspectors-most of the rest, the report says, didn't know how to get the information from their own records.

Even so, the total came to a whopping $318 million, with the U.N. headquarters, the United Nations Development Program, and the Rome-based Food and Agriculture Program spending 89% of the total.

The numbers do not include such high-spending U.N. agencies as the World Health Organization and the World Food Program, nor such exotic but important outliers as the World Intellectual Property Organization. (The total may, or may not, include $5 million worth of consultancy contracts that the U.N. Secretariat discovered it had failed to include on the initial list, as the report relates.)

But when it turns to the actual bidding, oversight and evaluation process for hiring consultants, the report says, the problems discussed "are related to the procurement policy, procedure and practices of the organization" as a whole.

And there, U.N. spending is of a different order of magnitude entirely. In 2007, the last year when statistics are available, the U.N. spent just over $10 billion on procurement-or double what it spent five years earlier. Of that $5 billion increase, some $3.2 billion, or 64%, came from an increase in purchasing of services-like corporate consultancy.

Click here to view the procurement chart.

As the inspection report reveals, there is really no telling for certain what that money was spent on, what the U.N. got for its outlay, or whether unscrupulous, incompetent or criminal vendors have been weeded out of the system. In the careful prose of the inspectors: "The lack of monitoring and reporting mechanisms and absence of analytical statistics post a significant risk for accountability, efficiency, transparency and integrity in the procurement process."

With understatement, the report declares, "Overall, there is great scope for improvement."

Indeed, the report is studded with references to systematic management failings and lack of vital paperwork, and interspersed with 22 recommendations for making things better that sometimes sounds shockingly rudimentary for an organization as huge and ostensibly sophisticated as the U.N.

One of them is an admonition that the heads of the U.N.'s sprawling federation of agencies, funds and programs, plus the U.N. Secretariat, "should ensure that adequate policies and guidelines exist for effective contract management." Among other things, the inspectors note, the "quality and scope" of existing procedures is "uneven, insufficient and fragmented."

Another recommendation is that the U.N. organizations "establish a vendor performance database to be utilized in the procurement process"-in other words, keep a systematic record of how well the companies that sell goods and services to the U.N. are actually performing. The absence of such a database, the inspectors point out, "practically renders evaluations useless."

The same lack of organized record-keeping, the inspectors note, can result in embarrassing waste, duplication, and sometimes expensive stupidity. In a number of interviews with U.N. bureaucrats, the inspectors noted, they were told that "without it being noticed, one consultancy report was sold to two different units of the same organization."

In other cases, similar jobs would be ordered up the U.N. departments with only a few years of interval between requisitions. One reason: "staff did not have the ability to search for and retrieve previous documents."

One of the most striking findings in the report is the high level of U.N. goods and services that are sold without competitive bidding, supposedly a bedrock procedure in U.N. rules and regulations. According to those rules, waivers of the competitive process are supposedly only allowed "in exceptional circumstances," the report states.

But in examining consultancy procurements, the inspectors declare, the 11 organizations that provided documentation for tenders worth more than $30,000 managed to suspend competition requirements 60% of the time. At U.N. headquarters, the ratio rose to 73.9%, and at the U.N.'s other main regional headquarters in Geneva and Nairobi, the percentage where competition was suspended rose to 80% and nearly 86% respectively.

Moreover, in attempting to obtain broader statistics, the inspectors ran into a wall. As they drily put it: "The United Nations system organizations do not have adequate reporting and monitoring mechanisms for the solicitation methods used in procurement, in particular for waivers of competition. Statistics and more detailed information in this area can only be retrieved by going through case files manually."

The flagship United Nations Development Program (UNDP), which spent nearly $3.2 billion of the procurement total in 2007, is apparently one of the few agencies where competitive suspensions are added up-and there, 689 or 850 waiver requests, or 81% were approved. The report does not provide their value.

Justification for the suspension of competitive bidding across the U.N. system was "poor and not properly documented," the inspectors noted-and that was the kindest thing they had to say. "Some of the files reviewed gave the impression that the justification for waivers was not taken seriously," they also concluded.

On consultancy contracts, bureaucrats often told the inspectors in interviews that competitive bidding was too time-consuming, vendor evaluations were an addition to the normal staff work load, some consultants were known to them already and it was a risk to take on new ones. "Since those reasons could not actually be used as the sole formal reason for waiver," the inspectors noted, "justification remained weak in the files."

The reasons offered by officials for failing to hold competitive bids create another problem: "they are not in line with the principles of competition, fairness and transparency," the report says. "Moreover, many of these concerns would be solved with better work and procurement planning, which was generally lacking."

Apparently, even negotiating a deal with a single non-competitive bidder was also too much work in many cases that the inspectors reviewed. Where there was no competitive bidding, the report notes, a review of a number of case files showed there was also no "research or negotiation" before settling on a contract. "Only in a few cases were there some previous consultancy rates to justify the price."

Moreover, contracts with favored contractors tended to expand after the bidding was over, which meant the lucky companies were getting more work automatically. "This situation reflects a lack of planning, and poses risks for the transparency, fairness and integrity of the process," the inspectors noted. "Nor did the case files reflect a clear justification of pricing in these cases."

The inspectors also noted that in some cases, procurement was done "retroactively"-in other words, the work was done before the need for it was even announced.

The sloppiness and lack of record-keeping, the inspectors said, meant that in some cases, the company that was supposedly bidding for the job actually dominated the contract process. And when it came to follow-through, bad contractors actually had an even bigger advantage, since little, if any, organized attention was paid to the quality of their work, an area that the inspectors discussed under the heading of "contract management."

It was another task that the U.N.'s procurement officials apparently failed to do well. As the report put it: "The review of case files within the same United Nations organization and among different organizations showed an inconsistent, uneven and relatively poor quality of implementation." Most of the files the inspectors examined in a sampling lacked such "essential" documents as progress reports, interim and final evaluations, or even verifications that the projects had been completed.

The same lack of record-keeping applied to handing out money. "In some cases," the report says, "payments were made on the basis of invoices; in some other cases, there were emails, or forms, or nothing."

Among other things, the harsh judgments in the inspection report confirmed a large number of findings that FOX News has made in investigative reports over the past several years-which in many cases, U.N. organizations went to great lengths to deny.

Last April, for example, FOX News revealed that the United Nations Development Program had overridden its rules on competitive bidding for more than half of $1.5 billion in goods and services it had paid for over the previous three years-a ratio that ranged from 50% to 66%. UNDP rebutted that true exceptions to competitive bidding happened just 20% of the time, and only then, in the words of the UNDP spokesman "for reasons outside of UNDP's control."

Click here to read FOX News' report from April.

A FOX News report last May revealed that UNDP's own auditors found the organization overwhelmed by its case load, its staff untrained, and lacking in expertise to evaluate hundreds of millions of dollars worth of its most expensive purchases-or even to cross-check with the U.N.'s own terrorist listings to see if terrorist front companies were on their supplier lists.

Click here to read FOX News' report from May.

As far back as 2006, U.N. investigators charged that nearly one-third of $1 billion in major U.N. procurement contracts that they examined involved waste, corruption or other irregularities, wrapped in what they called "systematic abuse," "a pattern of corrupt practices," and "a culture of impunity."

Click here to read FOX News' previous procurement report.

A similar sense of the U.N.'s imperviousness to demands for reform of its slipshod, wasteful and unjustified buying practices, even by the nations paying its bills, is another theme in the latest inspection report.

On multiple occasions, the inspectors refer to a 2001 resolution of the General Assembly calling on the organization to change its procurement ways. As the report puts it in one reference: "Despite the resolution, there has been no implementation of this recommendation."

In other questionable procurement cases, the report notes that U.N. bureaucrats simply did not consult with "oversight bodies" composed of U.N. member states, even where that approval, as the report delicately puts it, "might be needed."

In fairness, the report also notes that several U.N. organizations, led by the Secretariat, are now putting in place computerized systems, often called "enterprise resource management" systems, that could eventually solve some of their procurement problems.

But the irony is that much of the $318-plus million that U.N. organizations are currently spending on consultancies-the organizations, that is, that even know what they are spending-is going for exactly the same kind of procurement that the inspectors start out criticizing in their report. Indeed, "consultancies" involving the profound overhaul of U.N. management and financial software, makes up nearly 40% of that total

How much of the total is justified, the inspectors make clear, is questionable. Among other things, the inspectors note, the organizations are dependent on outside consultants for information management "at very expensive rates," and none had done any cost-benefit analysis to consider alternatives.

"A review of case files did not provide much evidence that any systematic research or inquiries were made to justify the need for consultancies," they add.

U.N. organizations "do not track and consolidate the reasons for resorting to consultancy," and "do not have monitoring, tracking and follow-up mechanisms" for judging the work. (This is another area where the U.N. apparently ignored General Assembly instructions in 2001 to do better, the report declares.)

Indeed, the spectacular disasters that can result from the U.N. system's inattention to such basics have been dramatically demonstrated in just the past few months.

On January 12, FOX News reported that the World Bank, the U.N.'s most important anti-poverty institution, had failed to tell the rest of the world organization that it had banned one such consultant-Satyam Computer Services Ltd-nearly a year earlier after a corruption probe. That act of neglect led other U.N. agencies to do at least $6 million in new business with Satyam last July, plus whatever else they may have already had on their books.

Click here to read FOX News' January's report.

Satyam has been deeply involved in the customizing and installation of financial and management software at, among other places, U.N. headquarters, the U.N. Development Program, and at the World Health Organization, where it is involved in creation of a $55.5 million global business management system that is far behind schedule.

Click here to read FOX News' report on Satyam.

Satyam imploded last December in a $1 billion fraud case that earned the company the nickname of India's Enron.

A spokesman for the U.N. Secretariat told FOX News on Friday, March 6, that the one "direct" contract it had with Satyam "is to be terminated." And, "in light of the developments with Satyam," the U.N. has also asked that a little-known U.N. agency called the International Computer Centre, which has served as an intermediary in hiring Satyam indirectly, "replace its contract with Satyam as soon as possible."

Whether the JIU's inspectors would approve of the methods that the U.N. will use to evaluate and choose Satyam's successor is, of course, not yet known.

George Russell is executive editor of FOX News

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Americans Disapprove of U.N. in Record Numbers

Friday, March 06, 2009

The United Nations has never done a worse job in its 60-year history.

That's what Americans think, according to a Gallup poll that shows a meager 26 percent approval rating for the world body — which U.S. taxpayers gave nearly $3 billion to support last year.

Gallup's test of American attitudes toward the U.N. has become an annual February tradition in recent years, something like a curmudgeonly groundhog who always sees his shadow. The poll of roughly 1,000 U.S. adults had a margin of error of +/– 3 percent.

Since the run-up to the Iraq War, when the U.S. faced stiff opposition to the coalition invasion, the U.N.'s popularity in its host nation has steadily dropped. Sixty-five percent of Americans think the sprawling bureaucracy has done a "poor job" in confronting problems it has to face.

The world body has never polled very high in the 56 years of the Gallup poll, topping out at 58 percent approval in 2002. But the current drop is hardly unique; during the Reagan administration, the poll bottomed out at 28 percent, which stood as a record for over two decades.

The U.N.'s numbers took a similar nosedive in the mid-1990s amid the conclusion of the Bosnia War (which it tried unsuccessfully to stop) and the Rwandan genocide, in which it did not intercede.

Even the U.S. Congress, whose approval rating was barely the legal age of consent back in 2008, has rocketed ahead of the U.N. A FOX News/Opinion Dynamics Poll from March 3-4 shows that 41 percent of Americans have given Congress the thumbs up, even in the middle of an economic meltdown.

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Roberto Villarreal

Head of Division
Regional Competitiveness and Governance
Public Governance and Territorial
Development Directorate, OECD

Roberto Villarreal is Head of the Division for Regional Competitiveness and Governance at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). In the Federal Government of Mexico he has been Undersecretary for Urban Development, in the Ministry of Social Development; Head of Unit for Social and Regional Policies, in the Executive Office of the President; Head of Unit for Federal Investment and Privatizations, in the Ministry of Finance; Chief of Staff to the Secretary of Industry and Trade; Director General for Industrial Technology Development in the Ministry of Industry and Trade; and Director of the Patent and Trademark Office of Mexico. He holds a Ph. D. in Economics from the Massachussetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and a University Degree in Industrial and Systems Engineering from the Instituto Tecnol√≥gico de Monterrey (ITESM). Along his professional career he has been directly involved with public policy making in numerous fields: energy and regulation; industry and technology; intellectual property and trade negotiations; privatization, infrastructure, public investment and public-private partnerships; poverty alleviation; employment, entrepreneurship and informal economy; regional development and urban development. He has tought numerous courses at undergraduate and graduate levels in public and private universities in Mexico, has authored numerous publications and has participated as speaker in numerous international conferences.

Sunday, 1 March 2009

Branding UN-DESA ....Can we succeed?

20 months on the job and we still have to see or hear details of Sha Zukang's reform (and his team).

Staff feel frustrated about our daily work, and with the myriad of UN organizations, International Multilateral and Bilateral Institutions and major NGOs, surviving in this shrinking resources environment has become a real issue, and likewise the "main-street" - pretty soon the UN and its agencies will be feeling the financial crisis effect.

While financial crisis might shrink the resources, it also bringing new global and national coalitions, which are calling for UN to bring together governments, civil society and private sector around particular issues of concern and looking for innovative ways to address them.

In this environment we all ask ourselves, about the need to BRANDING DESA, to re-focus our organization in selected areas where we could competitively showcase our strength and gain leadership.

In the last days we see that UNDP is becoming expert in micro-finance and finance taking over World Bank, while the World Bank and IMF are talking about poverty eradication and capacity building of Civil Society and Social Restructuring at country level - taking over UNDP. Same can be said about UNOPS, UNCDF, UNEP, UNFCCC, etc. Each and everyone is trying to consolidate their "territories".

In an absent of a real leadership in DESA we question ourselves on.....- "and DESA is becoming what..???"

What will a new BRAND do for us/DESA?
  • Clarify role - by differentiating us from other UN Dev-agencies in this new post-financial-crisis context;
  • Formalize DESA's character and affirm our values;
  • Facilitate further progress;

First our leaders has to understand what BRADING means.



Can DESA do all this ? Well I personally believe that YES WE CAN ! Despite few "rotten tomatos", we have the skills needed for all this. We just missing leadership and guts to start all it. Failure to undertake the above will result in DESA's loss and all of us will suffer as result.

Talk with your peers and supervisors, start a discussion on BRANDING and how to go about it? What can we do and what should we give up.