Friday, 29 May 2009
Tuesday, 26 May 2009
Thursday, 21 May 2009
Faced with such level of scrutiny, OIOS simultaneously initiated an ad-hoc review of DESA's Administrative, Project and Human Resource Operations. (all have received so far the HR questionnaire).
Sources say that during the past weekend Catherine Pelluso has ordered to Furio De Tomassi, Jose Manuel Sucre to remove and clean up all related documentation to Bertucci's participation in Seoul, and have it look like it wasn't DESA.
Too bad though, the copies of originals from Marie Oveissi's Office about the above event are already with OIOS and external investigations.
The whole affair was to launch Bertucci's newly created Institute so he could get enough endorsement and coverage, thus to further apply for additional resources/funds from various donors.
Meanwhile Claudio Aponte affair has reached the highest attention at Mexican Mission to the UN, where investigators have requested official confirmation of status of Claudio Aponte in past 8 years when he presented/seated as Mexico representative to the UN-DESA-DPADM Committee of Experts in Public Administration. It seem that Mr. Aponte not only did not represent the Mexican Government, but he also was not registered in Mexico as UN-DESA representative (as he presented himself in last 8 years).
Friday, 15 May 2009
Thursday, 14 May 2009
Ban Ki Moon was extremely unease when asked by journalists on Bertucci's attendance at a DESA event in Seoul. He recalled that while is not his "call who attends or not such events and what capacities", as far as Bertucci goes - "he has retired as last year when I referred him to disciplinary board".
Wednesday, 13 May 2009
Anyway, Guido retired in disgrace on July 31, 2008. An internal investigation by the U.N. found that he committed gross negligence in handling a $2.8 million trust fund donated by the Greek government. The case was given to the U.N. disciplinary committtee by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon two days before his retirement, which was too late to do anything the would affect his retirement or pension. Now you know where some of your taxpayer dollars are going.
So what is Guido doing now? Well, he is back with the U.N. as an invited top-level expert at a high-profile conference on "Building Our Humanitarian Planet." Guido's role at the conference is the chairman of workshops sessions on "Empowering Civil Society: The Role of Public Administration."
Tuesday, 12 May 2009
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
By George Russell
On July 31, 2008, Guido Bertucci, the top official in a U.N. department charged with promoting good governance around the world, retired in disgrace.
An internal U.N. investigation found that he committed "gross negligence" in handling a $2.8 million trust fund donated by the Greek government, and suggested that Bertucci might be held "personally accountable and financially liable" for the misspent funds, many of which went for purposes unrelated to the intended project.
Secretary General Ban Ki-moon handed the Bertucci case over to a U.N. disciplinary committee just two days before Bertucci's retirement — too late to do anything that wouldaffect his retirement or his pension.
Confronted by FOX News at the time, Bertucci maintained he had done nothing wrong.
Now, it seems, the U.N. apparently doesn't think so either. Bertucci has been welcomed back by the world organization as an invited top-level expert at a high-profile conference in Seoul, South Korea, on "Building Our Humanitarian Planet."
The conference was jointly sponsored by the U.N. Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA), which includes the branch of the U.N. bureaucracy where Bertucci used to preside, and whose head was Bertucci's boss.
The conference, dubbed World Civic Forum 2009, was co-sponsored by South Korea's Kyung Hee University. It was intended as the international kickoff of a new drive by UNDESA to build support among universities and other civil institutions for the United Nations' Millennium Development Goals, which aim to cut world poverty and increase efforts at halting climate change.
Among those attending the opening ceremonies was Han Seung-soo, Prime Minister of South Korea — meaning that the conference was a very high level occurrence on U.N. Secretary General Ban's home turf. (Before taking over at the U.N., Ban served as South Korea's foreign minister.)
Bertucci's role in "Building Our Humanitarian Planet" was widely advertised in the conference program as the chairman of two workshop sessions on "Empowering Civil Society: The Role of Public Administration."
The program did not mention Bertucci's new credential as a public administration expert: he is executive director of Governance Solutions International, described on one networking website as a New York-based firm involved in "non-profit organization management."
In one of the conference sessions, which a FOX News camera crew attended, Bertucci made a presentation touting locally administered forestry preservation projects in developing countries to prevent climate change.
Sitting nearby during that session was Roberto Villareal, a senior official of the Division of Public Administration and Development Management (DPADM), the office Bertucci used to head during the lengthy investigation of the Greek trust fund scandal.
Among those also attending the conference was Sha Zukang, the U.N.'s undersecretary general for UNDESA, who was formerly Bertucci's boss. On this occasion, he represented UNDESA as the conference's major global sponsor.
Sha is acutely aware of the charges against Bertucci: the report containing them lingered on his desk for weeks after an 18-month investigation by the U.N.'s watchdog Office of Internal Oversight Services, without any action on Sha's part, before being taken up by Secretary General Ban during the last days of Bertucci's official career.
Indeed, another recommendation of the report was that Sha's department repay $34,000 in wrongly awarded contracts to consultants wrongly assigned by Bertucci — just a small fraction of the funds allegedly misspent in the scandal. There is no evidence that DESA ever acted on the recommendation.
Neither U.N. Secretary General Ban's office nor the office of DESA Undersecretary General Sha responded to a lengthy list of questions from FOX News about Bertucci's presence at the conference.
Among the questions: who invited him, the role of DESA and DPADM in selecting him as an expert, and whether his role in the Greek scandal was discussed before he was invited.
Bertucci's sudden renaissance at an important conference sponsored by his former boss is only the latest mystery surrounding the last years of Bertucci's career, which included several years of stymied, delayed and sidelined investigations into the Greek project scandal, preceded by even more years of unavailing Greek government complaints about DPADM's handling of its money.
Perhaps the biggest mystery of all is the U.N. tolerance for Bertucci's failings — or at least, a deep unwillingness to act on them — even after Secretary General Ban took office on Jan. 1, 2007, after promising to hold U.N. civil servants to "the highest standards of professionalism and integrity."
By that time, Bertucci's involvement in a project known as the United Nations Thessaloniki Center (UNTC) for Public Service Professionalism had been a matter of public controversy for at least three years. Funded with Greek money, it was intended to strengthen public administration in various Balkan countries, and help to reduce corruption.
But by 2003, the Greeks were already demanding an investigation of the way the first $1.1 million of their money had been spent. Their complaints deepened during 2004 and 2005, as the Athens government insisted that it could see nothing being accomplished. U.N. auditors looked into the matter in May 2006, and discovered "indicators of irregularities," — but nothing happened.
Finally, in April, 2007, FOX News revealed that U.N. watchdogs had been appealing to Sha's predecessor as head of DESA to quit rejecting the auditors' recommendations that the U.N. assign responsibility for the situation. That official retired that year and, in effect, tossed the whole problem on to Sha.
Sha began delaying matters himself, as the investigative report on Bertucci continued to sit on his desk.
In fact, even Secretary General Ban's eventual referral of Bertucci for disciplinary action could be considered part of the stalling game. The U.N. customarily never pursues actions against employees who have left the organization, and their retirement pensions are considered sacrosanct, no matter what they have done.
Ban's tardy referral of Bertucci's case meant that he could continue to pay lip service to the notion of enforcing high ethical standards, without having to do anything significant about it, at least in Bertucci's case.
All of which raises the intriguing question: what is so special about Guido Bertucci that his tarnished presence continues to be welcome, even at the highest levels of the U.N., and even on the Secretary General's home turf?
It is a question those high level officials are so far not answering.
George Russell is executive editor of FOX News.
Thursday, 7 May 2009
Wednesday, 6 May 2009
Choue In-won, on a big screen, makes a speech during the 7th global forum on reinventing governments, organized by the United Nations at its headquarters in Vienna, Austria in June 2007. During the forum, titled “Building Trust in Government” Choue proposed establishment of the World Civic Forum to the world organization. / Courtesy of Kyung Hee University
2,000 Scholars Attending Kyung Hee University Conference This Week
By Kang Shin-who
United Nations officials, Nobel Prize laureates, scholars and world university students will get together in Seoul for an international forum on various global issues for four days from Tuesday through Friday.
About 2,000 scholars and specialists from international organizations, corporations, education and research institutes will participate in the ``World Civic Forum (WCF) 2009,'' organized by Kyung Hee University and the U.N. Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA).
Under the theme of ``Building Our Humanitarian Planet,'' it will take place at COEX Mall, southern Seoul, and cover three key issues ― ``Civic Values for Global Justice,'' ``Civic Engagement in Public and Global Governance'' and ``Civic Action for the Global Agenda Including Climate Change.''
WCF, dealing with core values of human beings such as peace, human security, economic prosperity and social justice, is to seek communication between the international organization and world universities in celebration of the 60th anniversary of Kyung Hee. It has prepared for the forum for about six years.
For the first-ever global forum, Kyung Hee has worked with the UNDESA since the signing of a memorandum of understanding for academic exchanges and cooperation in September 2006. In June 2007, Kyung Hee President Choue In-won proposed that the United Nations and higher education institutes establish the WCF at the world organization's headquarters in Vienna, Austria. With the proposal, the WCF Preparatory Conference took place in Seoul in 2007.
The WCF International Board will continue to hold the forum biannually around the world. ``The WCF 2009 calls for the attention of the global society to the ever-glaring aporia facing humanity in the 21st century,'' Choue said in his welcoming message. ``It is our hope that the university community and international society will join in the spirit of global consensus and agreement and together search for a better future for humanity and planet Earth. We also hope to find a better approach to the difficulties with which real life is so dauntingly imbued.''
Choue's counterpart, Sha Zukang, undersecretary-general of the UNDESA, said that universities are genuine partners in the global and national efforts to achieve the shared development goals.
``Institutions of higher learning have a critical role in forming our future leaders, in advocating mutual understanding, and in promoting a dialogue among stakeholders towards a global culture of peace through innovative partnerships,'' said Zukang. ``On this occasion, policy-makers, senior government officials, leading global thinkers, nongovernmental organizations, private sector representatives, public training and academic institutions, media, and other key actors will join forces to create a new platform for the engagement of civil society in addressing global challenges, thereby contributing to a more peaceful and prosperous future for all.''
World Renowned Figures Together in Seoul
The forum also features the attendance of a number of world famous policy makers, university professors, civic activists, businessmen and journalists from 12 institutional partners, including the World Alliance for Citizen Participation, the Conference of NGOs in Consultative Relationship with the United Nations (CoNGO), U.N. Global Compact/Principles for Responsible Management Education and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.
They will discuss various global issues, such as climate change, environmental protection and sustainable energy shortage; poverty and foreign aid; higher education for humane purposes and social responsibility; political development and political stability; human rights issues and human security; and crisis management, including post-conflict and disaster. The purpose of the themes is to promote civic values and civic action through international partnerships.
During the opening ceremony starting from 10 a.m. until midday, Kyung Hee President Choue and UNDESA Undersecretary-General Zukang will deliver speeches. After then, Prime Minister Han Seung-soo, UNESCO Assistant Director-General Hans d'Orville and Hong Seok-hyun, chairman of JoongAng Daily, will deliver keynote addresses, followed by a cultural performance.
During the ``Roundtable on the Future of Universities,'' from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., Kiyofumi Kawaguchi, president of Ritsumeikan University, Zhou Qifeng, president of Peking University, and Liberato C. Bautista, president of the CoNGO will make speeches. Under the session tilted ``the vision and global responsibility of universities of the future,'' three main issues such as ``Global Crisis and Responses from Universities,'' ``Vision and Philosophy of Universities of the Future'' and ``Global Responsibility and Practices of Universities of the Future'' will be covered.
Its plenary session, from 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., will invite five speakers: Kim Yersu, rector of the Global Academy for Future Civilizations at Kyung Hee University; Sesh Velamoor, deputy director of the Foundation for the Future; Paul Kennedy, a Yale University professor; Donald C. Johanson, an Arizona State University professor; and Howard Bloom, a visiting professor at New York University.
The session features presentations and discussion by globally renowned thinkers and practitioners, and deals with civic values, engagement and action.
They will be followed by thematic and UNDESA sessions. Institutional partner sessions will be held during the following days, inviting specialists and experts on various global issues from around the world.
After the final session on the last day of the forum, the closing ceremony will take place. Kim Eui-young, secretary-general of the WCF Organizing Committee, will give a closing report according to the main theme and goals of the forum.