Thursday, 27 January 2011

Davos: Global Governance in a Changing World

The Huffington Post click here to view this on The Huffington Post

Kenneth Roth

Kenneth Roth

Posted: January 27, 2011 03:06 AM

Davos, Switzerland -- This year's World Economic Forum meeting in Davos is focusing on the challenges of global governance. Are international institutions capable of addressing today's problems in light of recent shifts in global power? What will these institutions look like when emerging powers such as Brazil, India and South Africa have a seat at the table?

Recent elections to the United Nations Security Council give us a glimpse of the future. For the next year, Brazil, India and South Africa will all sit on the 15-member council, and all three aspire to become permanent members. How will they conduct themselves? Of particular interest to me, will they join efforts to defend human rights? There is reason for both hope and apprehension.

All three are genuine democracies with constitutions that guarantee basic rights. That would suggest sympathy toward others facing deprivation of their rights. Unfortunately, when it comes to their foreign policies, the three governments are often skeptical or even hostile to enforcing human rights. At first blush this is surprising, because even though these governments are sometimes criticized for their human rights records, all three benefited in the past from the attention of the international human rights movement--to fight apartheid in South Africa, military dictatorship in Brazil, and colonialism in India.

When it comes to the Security Council, one reason sometimes cited for these governments' wariness toward enforcing human rights is the unrepresentative nature of the council. Reflecting power relations when the UN was founded after World War II, permanent seats and veto power are held by Britain, China, France, Russia, and the United States. Other governments understandably want these privileges reallocated to better reflect the modern order. Until then, they advocate a narrow view of the council's powers in favor of more representative bodies of the UN, such as the General Assembly or the Human Rights Council.

But preventing and stopping mass atrocities has become a core task of the Security Council--widely recognized as essential to fulfill its traditional role of addressing threats to international peace and security. And in any event, Brazil, India and South Africa have not consistently supported human rights enforcement even in the General Assembly and Human Rights Council.

So why are these emerging powers not doing more to defend human rights abroad? The foreign policies of all three governments still sometimes seem informed by a vision of the world that sees human rights as an "imperialist" endeavor, even when the beneficiaries are ordinary people in the global South. That view stems from the Cold War, when many proponents of human rights were Western governments, and their often-selective support called into question their intent. Many members of the non-aligned movement in that era tended to identify with Southern leaders, no matter how repressive, instead of their victims.

Selectivity, and its corollary of exceptionalism, remain problems today, but the global political environment has changed substantially, with human rights organizations proliferating throughout the global South. Yet, Brazil, India and South Africa still often act in their foreign policies as if rights were a strictly Western concern, accepting atrocities elsewhere that they would never tolerate at home.

That tendency is aggravated by the leadership role played within today's non-aligned movement by certain repressive governments such as Algeria, Egypt and Sri Lanka, all which have a strong interest in undermining human rights enforcement. Moreover, solicitation of support by Brazil, India and South Africa for their quest for permanent Security Council seats, even from the abusive governments that make up a large chunk of the votes needed, only reinforces this wariness toward enforcing human rights.

The challenge now is to shed light on how these three governments develop their foreign policies. Domestic audiences in these countries often pay little attention to foreign policy concerns. But when foreign policies have been subjected to public scrutiny, they have tended to move in a more pro-human rights direction, given the difficulty of justifying significant discrepancies between values espoused at home and abroad.

For example, under heightened scrutiny, Brazil went from abstaining on a critical resolution about North Korea to supporting it, South Africa overcame initial reluctance to defend gay rights and softened its opposition to international justice, and India played a more constructive role on Iran. Human Rights Watch is encouraging more such scrutiny in all three countries.

The world is changing rapidly, and emerging powers deserve a seat at the table of institutions of global governance. But with that new global role should come responsibility to global norms, including human rights.

SCANDAL: - Iran at the helm of G77

click here for this story

Soltanieh elected chairman of G-77
Tehran Times Political Desk

TEHRAN - Iran’s ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, has been elected to chair the Group of 77 for one year.

The decision was made during a meeting in Vienna on Wednesday.

The Group of 77 (G-77) was established on June 15, 1964 by seventy-seven developing countries signatories of the Joint Declaration of the Seventy-Seven Countries, issued at the end of the first session of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in Geneva. Beginning with the first Ministerial Meeting of the Group of 77 in Algiers in October 1967, which adopted the Charter of Algiers, a permanent institutional structure gradually developed which led to the creation of chapters of the Group of 77 with liaison offices in Geneva (UNCTAD), Nairobi (UNEP), Paris (UNESCO), Rome (FAO/IFAD), Vienna (UNIDO), and the Group of 24 (G-24) in Washington, D.C. (IMF and World Bank). Although the members of the G-77 have increased to 130 countries, the original name was retained because of its historic significance.

The Algerian ambassador to the IAEA is the outgoing chairman of the G-77

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

UNDESA related hearings at UN Appeals Tribunal set

List of Cases to be considered by the Appeals Tribunal
Session in New York from 28 February to 11 March 2011


2010-109: Secretary-General of the United Nations against Bertucci
2010-116: Secretary-General of the United Nations against Bertucci
2010-117: Secretary-General of the United Nations against Bertucci

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


Huge salary and perks increases for UN staffers at the begining of 2011. This is the response of Ban Ki Moon and United Nations to current economic crisis. The world tax payers and mostly the US tax payers (who pay 25% of UN's budget) have now to accept (live with) another raise in UN salaries and perks.

The world's house of "humanitarian professionals" those that sworn to protect the poor and eradicate poverty thru out the world, those that call their job a "vocational call" or "higher purpose call", are asking more money and perks to "serve the poor". Their salaries are now 2-3 times higher than those of parliamentarians in US House of Representatives or even EU Parliament.

If you don't believe and want to have a look at current 2011 salary scale CLICK HERE. Ah don't forget that what you see you have to add another 60% in order to come to NET salaries for New York area. By NET we mean - non taxable income.

Unbelievable but true - U.N. pays bonuses and perks for people to be good Humanitarians!

No one in private sector or even banking sector in the US or any Western Economies can afford paying these salaries in these austerity times - but Ban Ki Moon and U.N. can.

Because is your money!


Fake Nationalities scandal at UN-DESA

a new scandal is being investigated from OIOS this week and at the center of it is again Sha Zukang's Department of Economic and Social Affairs. According to sources within the Office of Human Resources there are flagrant cases of abuse of power from DESA's HR and Technical Cooperation Unit who have allowed staffers and consultant to lie about their nationalities, thus avoiding tax in their respective countries, without proper proof.

Meanwhile, certain individuals whom in recent years worked in DESA under long-term SSAs have been avoiding taxes in their countries with claims that they are "UN staffers" while their position in the UN was only a consultant ("long-term consultant"). Despite the fact that an SSA is consider an "independent contractor" and thus is entitled to pay all income taxes in their countries. Sources say at least 700 cases are under review.

Also in the eyes of the investigators are certain staffers who lied about their current nationality in order to avoid loosing their job and have used their "second" nationality(s) as a cover up.

All these is happening at the UN's flagship department which is currently advising world leaders and countries in matters such are transparency and accountability.


Sweden: New Book Criticize UN Secretary-General

click here to view this on New Tang Dynasty TelevisionNDT Television

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

HRW: "Bank Ki moon is a coward ...doesn't deserve a second term" !


UN defends Ban Ki-moon against rights 'cowardice' claim

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in Abu Dhabi (17 Jan 2011)

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.

Start Quote

The record shows he has achieved results through both quiet diplomacy and public pressure”

Farhan HaqSpokesman for Ban Ki-moon

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.


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

Ex-UN official opposes re-election of UN's Ban


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.

UN's Ban to Combat U.S. Republican Critics as Funding Questioned

click here to view this on Bloomberg

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he will try to blunt a threat by Republican leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives to withhold financial support for the world body by meeting with them to defend his record.

Republican Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida, new head of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, last July called the UN a “stew of corruption, mismanagement and negligence.”

Ros-Lehtinen is holding a hearing featuring UN critics on Jan. 25. She plans legislation to increase congressional scrutiny and to make the U.S. financial commitment voluntary, rather than an annual amount stipulated by a formula based on national economic output.

“I am sure I will be able to talk with Republicans in Congress and try to explain my priorities,” Ban said in an interview yesterday at Bloomberg’s headquarters in New York. “I think their priorities and my priorities are the same. The only complaint they may have is the lack of much faster progress than they might have expected.”

Ban, 66, is seeking to make the case for his efforts to improve UN management and provide protection of civilians in conflict-ridden countries as he enters the final year of his five-year term in office. He declined to declare that he is seeking a second term.

UN Image

The former South Korean foreign minister said he is struggling to overcome what he called a “fixed, framed image” of the UN as ineffective and mismanaged over the course of its six decades of existence.

“I am also sometimes frustrated by a lack of progress, but if you look at my four years as secretary-general, we have made quite significant progress in terms of transparent work, accountability, more efficiency and mobility,” Ban said. “It was me who for the first time in UN history had all senior advisers disclose their financial assets.”

Ros-Lehtinen was elevated to chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee following the election of a Republican majority in the House last November. Ban has had good relations with President Barack Obama’s Democratic administration, which moved in June 2009 to erase all U.S. debts to the UN for the first time since 1999.

“I’ve met with Secretary Ban in the past and I look forward to meeting with him again to discuss what I believe is a critical need to bring sweeping reform to the UN,” Ros-Lehtinen said in an e-mailed statement yesterday. “Not nearly enough has been done to address the across-the-board lack of transparency, accountability, and resistance to reform that is seen throughout the sprawling UN apparatus.”

Ban said he has met Ros-Lehtinen many times, knows her “very well” and will travel toWashington soon to meet with congressional leaders of both parties.

Punishing the UN

Asked about the threat to withhold U.S. funding, Ban said that “rather than try to punish by cutting the budget, continuing with robust and proper financial support will be better for the long-term interests of the U.S.”

The U.S. last year contributed $517 million to the UN’s operating budget of $2.17 billion and $2.68 billion of the $9.67 billion peacekeeping budget, the most of any nation.

Republican control of the House will “create difficulty for the UN in a way that Ban has been spared,” Jeff Laurenti, a UN analyst at the New York-based Century Foundation research group, said in an interview.

Republican President George W. Bush “became a little more reliant on the UN as he was bogged down in Iraq, Obama got the arrears paid off and Ban has had two years of a free ride,” Laurenti said. “Now there is the question of whether Ban is capable of defending the UN in the U.S. public debate when its enemies have power to wield against it.”

UN Reform Act

The first significant push for improvements in UN management came during the administration of President Bill Clinton, who signed the Helms-Biden United Nations Reform Act of 1999. It tied U.S. payments to specified steps to improve management. Republican Representative Henry Hyde of Illinois, a former Foreign Affairs chairman, tried unsuccessfully in 2006 to pass legislation tying payments to UN management changes.

U.S. debts, erased in 1999, began to build up again through late payments and underfunding during the Bush administration.

“Ban is continuing modest incremental steps on transparency and accountability, but nothing substantial,” Mark Lagon, a former aide to Republican Senator Jesse Helms of North Carolinaand now an adjunct senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, said in an interview. “There is sincere concern on the part of Congress and the consistent position that voluntary funding works with agencies such as the World Food Program.”

UN Accomplishments

Ban and senior advisers who attended the interview cited such UN accomplishments as efforts to save lives in Myanmar following the 2008 cyclone there, success in Sudan in deploying a joint UN and African Union peacekeeping mission in the nation’s Darfur region, and assisting with the recent peaceful referendum on Southern Sudan’s independence. Ban also noted work helping Haiti recover from natural disasters and Iraq from the civil war that followed the 2003 U.S. invasion.

“There should be some fair appreciation and understanding of what the UN is doing and has been doing,” Ban said. “The UN is an organization of 192 member states. The U.S. makes the largest financial contribution, but there are many other member states who have different views who have made the work of the UN sometimes very slow.”

Human Rights Council

Referring to Ros-Lehtinen’s criticism of the UN’s Geneva- based Human Rights Council for allowing the membership of China, Cuba, Saudi Arabia and Libya, all accused of human rights abuses, he said this was an issue of the governments that chose them rather than his responsibility.

“The United States has worked very constructively and productively with this secretary-general,” U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice said this week. “We have been grateful for his leadership on a number of important issues, and we continue to talk about the ways we can work together to strengthen this institution, to make it more efficient, more cost effective, and to improve its performance.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Bill Varner at the United Nations

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Silva in Washington

Thursday, 20 January 2011

The humanitarian situation in Haiti

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; tel. 1 (917) 357-2998).]

United Nations Forum on Forests - Ninth Session

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; 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; room IN-628B), with copy to Ms. Barbara Tavora-Jainchill (e-mail; room DC1-1258).