Thursday, 27 January 2011
Wednesday, 26 January 2011
Tuesday, 25 January 2011
While UK/EU and US citizens are told to live within their means and with cuts or frozen income - UN is raising salaries and perks
UN Secretary General Ban ki-Moon is once again the target of harsh criticism – this time in the book “Mr. Chance.” The book was presented at a seminar in Stockholm, Sweden last week. Based on a report by the former United Nations Under- Secretary-General for the Office of Internal Oversight Services, the OIOS, Inga-Britt Ahlenius, the book refers to Ban ki-Moon as Mr. Chance.
[Inga-Britt Ahlenius, Former Under-Secretary-General, OIOS]:
"As I wrote in my report, "Mr Secretary-General, it seems like you have not really assumed the role as Chief Administrative Officer but you see yourself as a head of state who walks the red carpets and who gives speeches others have written."
Inga Britt Ahlenius was considered to be in the top three in the UN hierarchy.She quit the OIOS in July. In her end report she criticizes Ban Ki-Moon for causing the UN to fall apart. Ahlenius co-authored “Mr Chance” with Journalist Niklas Ekdal.
[Niklas Ekdal, Journalist & Co-Author, Mr. Chance]:
“At least in Sweden people are very eager on how we can make the United Nations work in a better way. So far so good, but obviously the secretary general himself and the staff are probably not very happy about this because it is sharp criticism and that that was already phrased that Inga-Britt Ahlenius left to the secretary general in 2010 so this is like a broadening of that story or deepening of that criticism that she put directly to the secretary general.”
Ban Ki-Moon will end his first term at the end of this year but he hasn’t yet announced if he will run for re-election.
[Inga-Britt Ahlenius, Former Under-Secretary-General, OIOS]: "If my report, which is read and known by all in the secretariat ... becomes widely known, I think it would be pretty embarrassing if he was re-elected. Because that would show that the superpowers could not care less whether the U.N. is a relevant organization or not."
Ban Ki-Moon said on the criticism at last week’s press conference was based on “unfounded allegations.”
NTD News, Stockholm, Sweden
UN defends Ban Ki-moon against rights 'cowardice' claim
HRW said Mr Ban placed "undue faith" in his persuasion skills
The UN has defended its Secretary General Ban Ki-moon over accusations that he has failed to speak out over human rights issues.
Mr Ban has been singled out for harsh criticism by Human Rights Watch in its annual report.
The group said he had been "notably reluctant to put pressure on abusive governments".
Mr Ban's office denied this, saying he used both quiet diplomacy and public pressure to promote human rights.
But HRW says it wants its annual report to draw attention to "the failure of the expected champions of human rights" to defend those rights and stand up to abusive governments.
While there is "nothing inherently wrong with dialogue and cooperation to promote human rights", the group says, there was a danger that it could become "a charade designed more to appease critics of complacency than to secure change".
"Whether out of calculation or cowardice, many [UN Security] Council members promote dialogue and cooperation as a universal prescription without regard to whether a government has the political will to curtail its abusive behavior."
The BBC's Barbara Plett at the UN says Mr Ban's style has been more discreet than that of his predecessor Kofi Annan. He has often often opted to work behind the scenes to pressure governments on human rights issues.
Farhan HaqSpokesman for Ban Ki-moon
The record shows he has achieved results through both quiet diplomacy and public pressure”
But HRW says Mr Ban's "disinclination to speak out about serious human rights violators means he is often choosing to fight with one hand tied behind his back".
It says that while Mr Ban has made strong comments on human rights when visiting, for example, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, he has failed to do so with Chinese officials.'Infatuated'
HRW also says Mr Ban appeared to have "placed undue faith in his professed ability to convince by private persuasion", citing his discussions with leaders including Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, Burma's military leader Than Shwe and Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
Mr Ban's spokesman Farhan Haq defended the secretary general's record, saying he did speak publicly about human rights when he visited some of those countries named by HRW.
"In each case he makes a strategic decision on the most effective to way to secure respect for HR [human rights] and accountability," said Mr Haq.
"The record shows he has achieved results through both quiet diplomacy and public pressure."
Mr Haq cited the freeing of a jailed gay couple in Malawi as one example where quiet diplomacy had proved successful.
The EU also comes under fire in the report - HRW says it has "become particularly infatuated with the idea of dialogue and cooperation" and criticises foreign policy chief Baroness Ashton, "for repeatedly expressing a preference for 'quiet diplomacy' regardless of the circumstances".
Meanwhile US President Barack Obama is accused of lacking his "famed eloquence" when defending human rights in bilateral contexts with China, India and Indonesia, and of failing to ensure other areas of US government "convey strong human rights messages consistently".
Friday, 21 January 2011
STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - The former head of the internal oversight office of the United Nations, who quit last year accusing Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon of poor leadership, said on Thursday his re-election would be an embarrassment.
Ban's first five-year term expires at the end of the year. He has not so far formally announced that he will stand for a second term, but is widely expected to do so.
Inga-Britt Ahlenius of Sweden, who led the U.N. Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) until last July, repeated criticism from her end-of-assignment report that the world body was "falling apart" and "drifting into irrelevance" under Ban. The confidential report was leaked to media at the time.
"If my report, which is read and known by all in the secretariat ... becomes widely known, I think it would be pretty embarrassing if he was re-elected. Because that would show that the superpowers could not care less whether the U.N. is a relevant organisation or not," Ahlenius said.
Presenting a book co-written with a journalist on what she called the "decay" of the United Nations, she said mismanagement of the U.N. secretariat affected the organisation's ability to carry out its tasks.
Diplomats give the South Korean U.N. chief a good chance of re-election since he has avoided big conflicts with key powers the United States and China, as well as other permanent members of the Security Council. The council makes a recommendation which is then voted on by the 192-nation General Assembly.
But Ahlenius said that while Washington appeared comfortable with Ban, some member states were critical of him. She hoped her report, and book if translated into English, would make other countries "see that the U.N. can't survive with a person that can't lead the organisation."
She also said the secretary-general should serve one term only, although she suggested that could be extended to six or seven years from the current five.
"The secretary-general should absolutely, in my opinion, have one time-limited mandate," she said. "That would prevent the person concerned being too flexible towards the superpowers and spending too much time on his re-election," she said.
During her time as head of the OIOS, which carries out internal disciplinary inquiries, Ahlenius feuded with Ban over her powers of appointment.
She said he had undermined her unit by preventing her from appointing a former U.S. attorney as head of the OIOS investigations unit. Ban said he was simply following U.N. procedures.
Thursday, 20 January 2011
Briefing on “The humanitarian situation in Haiti”, by the Deputy Director of the Coordination and Response Division, Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), and the Director of the Office of Emergency Programmes, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) (co-organized by OCHA and UNICEF)
Friday, 21 January 2011, at 1.30 p.m., in the conference room of the Office of the Under-Secretary-General, OCHA (380 Madison Avenue (between 46th and 47th Streets)).
[The briefing is open to members of permanent missions and observers missions. For further information, please contact Ms. Corazon dela Pena, OCHA (e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org; tel. 1 (917) 357-2998).]
The United Nations Forum on Forests will hold its ninth session from Monday, 24 January, to Friday, 4 February 2011, at United Nations Headquarters. The session will open on Monday, 24 January, at 10 a.m. in Conference Room 2 (NLB). The annotated provisional agenda is contained in document E/CN.18/2011/1.
The session will include a high-level ministerial segment, which will be held on Wednesday, 2, and Thursday, 3 February 2011.
There will be two parallel high-level round tables (1 and 2) in the afternoon of Wednesday, 2 February, and two parallel high-level round tables (3 and 4) in the morning of Thursday, 3 February 2011, each discussing a specific topic, as follows:
Round table 1: Forests for people;
Round table 2: Finance for forest-dependent communities;
Round table 3: Forests-plus: A cross-sectoral and cross-institutional approach; and
Round table 4: Forests and Rio+20.
The round tables are open to the participation of all Member States and observers. Delegations are kindly requested to indicate, as soon as possible, their preference for the participation of their head of delegation in one of the above-mentioned round tables by e-mail or fax to the Secretary of Forum, Ms. Vivian Pliner (e-mail email@example.com; tel. 1 (212) 963-5724; room IN-628B). Priority for making statements will be given to the heads of delegation in the order of inscription. Each round table accommodates forty statements. The time-limit for each statement is three minutes for individual Member States and five minutes for delegations speaking on behalf of a group of States. For further detailed information on the forthcoming session, please visit the following Web site:
Registration for Member States and observers to obtain photo identification badges will be open at the United Nations Pass Office (room U-100, 801 United Nations Plaza (corner of First Avenue and 46th Street)), as follows:
Sunday, 23 January: from 12 noon to 6 p.m.; and
Monday, 24 January, and weekdays thereafter: from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Registration for non-governmental organizations, international and regional entities without observer status, and major groups accredited to the Economic and Social Council will be open at the United Nations Forum on Forests registration desk in the United Nations Visitors’ Lobby, as follows:
Monday, 24 January: from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 2.30 to 5 p.m.;
Tuesday, 25 January, to Tuesday, 1 February (excluding the weekend): from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.;
Wednesday, 2 February, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 2.30 to 5 p.m.; and
Thursday, 3, and Friday, 4 February, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Delegations wishing to attend the session and be included in the list of participants are requested to communicate, as soon as possible, the composition of their delegations to the Secretary of the Forum, Ms. Vivian Pliner (e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org; room IN-628B), with copy to Ms. Barbara Tavora-Jainchill (e-mail email@example.com; room DC1-1258).