Thursday, 31 March 2011

Foreign Aid Isn't the Answer

Africa exemplifies how aids spoils economic growth and discourages democratic reform.

The Wall Street Journal

MARCH 31, 2011


Mr. Tupy is a senior fellow at the Legatum Institute in London. []

An indebted British government released its budget last week and, as promised, cut not one penny from its handouts to poor countries. Rather, increasing Western aid to Africa has become a mark of political piety and good citizenship. According to Prime Minister David Cameron, "We do have a moral responsibility, as one of the richest countries in the world, not to give up on [developing nations] just because we are having a difficult time at home."

Remarkably, this notion persists in the face of overwhelming evidence that such "aid" does the world's poor more harm than good. In North Africa foreign economic aid has propped up Arab dictators for decades. In sub-Saharan Africa it has stifled political and economic freedom.

Aid advocates often speak of wealth as if it were a pot of found gold that should be redistributed according to the whims of the elite. In 2006, for example, Irish singer Bob Geldof criticized the government of New Zealand, saying "The pathetic 0.27% that this government gives to the poorest people on the planet . . . is a disgrace." Yet every dollar produced in a market economy comes with a property right attached. The creators of wealth—be they workers in large corporations or small-business owners—have a right to expect good stewardship of tax revenue. Unfortunately that has not been the case.

Lord Peter Bauer, the late British economist, once wrote that foreign aid is "an excellent method for transferring money from poor people in rich countries to rich people in poor countries." Indeed, over the last half-century, hundreds of billions in foreign-aid dollars, pounds and euros have been stolen or wasted. In 2002 then-Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo estimated that African leaders pocketed at least $140 billion between 1960 and 2000. Andrew Mitchell, now Britain's secretary of state for international development, promised in 2009 when he was still an Opposition Member that under Mr. Cameron, "Britain's generosity will be matched by a relentless drive for value for money. . . . We will demand transparency, accountability and real results from all our aid." In truth, no one knows how to achieve such transparency and accountability in countries without free media, fair elections, independent judiciaries, strong civil societies and parliamentary supervision.

And so today Africa is filled with dilapidated airports and empty factories that were built at great expense by donor countries but failed to reduce African poverty. World Bank data shows that Africa received almost 12 times as much aid per person as India between 1975 and 2005. Yet over the same period, India grew at an average annual rate of 3.5%, while Africa shrunk at a rate of 0.16% per year. In fact, at least five aid-recipient countries in Africa were poorer in 2009 than they were in 1960. India shows that economic liberalization and democracy is much more effective at creating prosperity than international charity.

To compound the problem, foreign aid tends to discourage economic and democratic reforms, both directly and indirectly. Since many African governments continue to receive much of their revenue from outside donors, they are often indifferent to the well-being of their countries' private sectors, which in the rest of the world are the engine of growth, jobs and government revenue. In much of Africa, the private sector is an afterthought, and the best jobs can be found in parastatals and state monopolies. So it's unsurprising that Africa remains the least economically free continent in the world.

Foreign aid has thus also undermined democratization in Africa. A vibrant private sector is a source of rising incomes and wealthier citizenry, and a populace that has more to lose from arbitrary rule is more likely—and able—to demand political representation and create an independent civil society.

Aid has also retarded democratic evolution by enabling dictators to repress opposition. Paul Collier of Oxford University estimates that aid financed up to 40% of African governments' military spending between 1960 and 1999. Since most of Africa's conflicts are internal, it is very likely that the continent's leaders used some of that aid-financed weaponry to subdue domestic dissent.

The tide might be turning. In the U.S., the House of Representatives voted this month to cut the aid budget. And last week former British Cabinet Minister Peter Mandelson told a conference in London that "Most of the aid we have sent to Africa over the last five decades has probably, in the main, been wasted as far as growth is concerned." If only politicians could remember that when they're actually in office.

While it may occasionally make a positive difference in individual lives, aid harms economic growth and democratization and, in the long run, makes African societies less, not more, prosperous. By cutting aid, the West could not only save their taxpayers some money, but also benefit the victims of their supposed support: ordinary Africans.

Mr. Tupy is a senior fellow at the Legatum Institute in London.

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Aid agencies must listen to the people they're helping


We spend $10bn a year on humanitarian emergencies, but most projects are run without asking how beneficiaries feel about them
Caradeux Camp haiti
Some camps for those displaced after the Haiti earthquake had suggestion boxes, and people responded with enthusiasm. Photograph: Ramon Espinosa/AP

Lord Ashdown's review of how the UK responds to humanitarian emergencies points to a major shortcoming in today's humanitarian aidsystem: the absence of a systematic effort to assess whether beneficiaries are satisfied with the efforts made on their behalf by UN agencies and NGOs.

Over the past five years, we have seen a marked increase in the focus on accountability in what is now a $10bn a year humanitarian industry. But there is no systematic approach to assessing humanitarian operations through the eyes of recipients. Running aid programmes without understanding how beneficiaries feel about them is to ignore the simplest test of client satisfaction. It is amazing that donors have been willing to make funding decisions without any customer input for as long as they have.

As we see in north Africa and Asia, many push factors continue to drive humanitarian assistance – from natural disasters to global pandemics, climate-induced population displacement, war and food insecurity. These disasters have given rise to a four-fold increase in humanitarian funding since 2000 and a concomitant demand for greater accountability. Yet without the perspective of the beneficiaries, it is hard to find out whether claims about results are borne out by what is being done to help ordinary people caught up in extraordinary events.

In response, a lot of effort has gone into improving the scrutiny of humanitarian operations, and learning lessons for the future. For the most part, though, we still depend on humanitarian agencies to provide the requested data on health, nutrition and other indices of impact. Some donors do undertake their own evaluations of things they have funded – but it's rare that we hear directly from those affected about whether needs are being met, if they were consulted, or whether they are being adequately protected.

Several humanitarian NGOs have signed up to standards of accountability to beneficiaries. This is an important step, but there is a difference between declarations of intent and actual practice on the ground. We must also regularly ask those affected if they are safe, fed and sheltered – and how they feel about their future prospects.

To respond to Lord Ashdown's challenge we need a new effort, one that completes the circle of evaluation by going straight to the beneficiaries. Regular information on citizen's perceptions is available in most high-income and some middle-income states, but only rarely is it gathered from refugee camps and displaced people shelters.

Yet polling surveys and focus groups are cheap, and can be used frequently. The digital revolution extends the range of these tools and makes it possible to measure perceptions very quickly. Mobile phones are already being used to monitor development projects in the Democratic Republic of the Congo – checking if teachers turn up to school, or clinics are stocked with basic supplies. Also in DRC, an experiment launched by Mobile Accord, a mobile applications service provider, with Vodacom Congo and the World Bank, used mobile phones to carry out a nationwide survey of people's perceptions of their security and broader wellbeing. The level of opt-in was impressive, with more than 100,000 people regularly taking part over an eight-week period.

Care International saw the same enthusiasm when it placed suggestion boxes in displaced people's camps in Haiti last year. Soon they were stuffed with messages from people living in the camps, offering lots of smart ideas – as well as hard-to-meet demands.

Eliciting feedback is one thing; responding to it adequately is another. But these examples underline the importance, as well as the feasibility, of checking the performance of humanitarian programmes against the perceptions of those on the receiving end of international aid.

What is missing from the many evaluation reports in the inboxes of humanitarian agencies and donors are independent and systematic assessments based on feedback from beneficiaries themselves. Capturing their views would complement and give context to conventional data-driven assessments. It would ensure that people in need of humanitarian assistance and protection are better served, and that the resources intended to help them are better used.

What is more, it would increase the credibility, and thus attractiveness to potential donors, of those humanitarian agencies that can show they are doing what their beneficiaries need them to do.

• Nicholas van Praag is an adviser to the 2011 World Development Report on conflict and development, due to be published next month

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Ban Ki-moon's no fly-zone

Posted By Colum Lynch @Foreign Policy

Just over a week ago, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki moon chartered a U.N. airplane to take him on a high-level diplomatic trip from Madrid to Paris, where French President Nikolas Sarkozyhosted a summit on Libya, a prelude to an allied air attack on forces loyal to Libyan leaderMoammar Qaddafi, U.N. officials told Turtle Bay.

The U.N. plane had a reputation as a warhorse, having flown multiple humanitarian supply runs in Darfur, Sudan, and in other African trouble spots. But the U.N. aircraft was having a bad day.

The landing gear abruptly dropped down shortly after takeoff, forcing the plane to return to the airport in Madrid. The grounding of the U.N. secretary of general posed a political dilemma for the members of the anti-Qaddafi coalition, which had gone to great lengths to highlight the U.N.'s support for the air war. The Spanish government stepped in and loaned one of their planes to the U.N. chief so he could make the meeting on time.

Upon his arrival in Paris, Ban used the occasion to offer his support to the allied effort, urging the assembled leaders, which included U.S. Secretary of State Hillary R. Clinton, "to continue to act with speed and decision" to prevent Qaddafi's forces from continuing their military advance on the rebel stronghold of Benghazi. He also assured them that "the United Nations system will carry out" its own responsibilities in an effort to forge "a common, effective and timely response" to the crisis in Libya.

Apparently, his travel crew didn't get the message. The following day, a U.N. aircrew flew the same plane, with the landing gear supposedly fixed, back to Paris to fetch Ban and fly him to Cairo. Again, the landing gear dropped after takeoff, forcing Ban and his team to return to Paris. This time, Sarkozy-who had ordered French war-planes to attack Qaddafi's forces-loaned Ban a French government plane so he could get to Cairo.

Dutch government cuts development aid

By John Tyler


The Dutch government has agreed to scale back the number of countries receiving direct bi-lateral development aid. In the future, more than half of the countries currently receiving such aid will have to do without if the cabinet’s plans are approved by parliament.

The new list, which cuts from 33 to 15 the number of countries receiving direct government-to-government aid, is part of a broad rethinking of development cooperation, says Dutch Deputy Development Cooperation Minister Ben Knapen. He wants aid to be more focused on economic growth, and on helping countries become self-sufficient. He also wants to provide aid in sectors where Dutch expertise can do the most good. This includes sexual and reproductive health, food security, water and good governance.

In attempting to make development aid more efficient, Mr Knapen has worked closely with six other European countries to coordinate policy – Germany, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Denmark, Belgium and Spain. He did not work through the usual European Union channels under Development Commissioner Andris Piebalgs, saying that the bureaucracy involved was too cumbersome. Mr Knapen says he feels encouraged by the cooperation among the seven countries now coordinating development aid policy, and said the collaboration would continue. It allows the Dutch government to cut back, without leaving partner countries in the lurch, he says.

“What we want to avoid is that you get donor darlings and donor orphans. There’s always an element of fashion and trends in the countries where people want to send aid, and people want to withdraw aid. And for the countries themselves that’s rather unfair. We try to discuss with partner countries so that we don’t all walk away together from the same countries, and we don’t all stay in the same countries.”

Profit motive
Opposition Labour Party MP Sjoera Dikkers is not surprised at the definitive list that Knapen presented on Friday. “Previous ministers started with the selection process, but I’m not happy with some of the choices that Knapen has made,” she says.

Of the eighteen countries scrapped from the list, Ms Dikkers is especially worried about Burkina Faso and Guatemala. “These countries are no donor darlings. They have serious problems, and you don’t have to be an expert on a certain topic to do a lot of good there.” The new approach to development aid, emphasising economic relations, is evident in Mr Knapen’s decisions, she says. “Knapen doesn’t want to be in Burkina Faso anymore, because Dutch companies can’t make money there.”

Deputy Minister Ben Knapen strongly denies that profit is a motive in Dutch development policy. He says ending the partner relationship with Burkina Faso was a direct result of consultation with the six other European countries – two other countries were set to increase their aid to Burkina Faso, so the Netherlands decided to pull out.

With the new policy, the Netherlands loses its place as the most generous donor country per capita, and risks losing influence in the partner countries being phased out. How concerned is Mr Knapen about the Netherlands losing influence by cutting back on the number of partner-countries?

“I think that as long as you can influence international organisations in a way that fits your interest and our interest is multinational organisations and international law, as long as we can do that there’s no problem making choices on development aid.”

Countries still on the list for Dutch development aid
Benin, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, Burundi, Ghana, Mali, Mozambique, Sudan, The Palestinian Territories, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Yemen and Afghanistan

Countries dropped from the list
Democratic Republic of Congo, Burkina Faso, Egypt, South Africa, Zambia, Senegal, Pakistan, Nicaragua, Mongolia, Georgia, Guatemala, Kosovo and Moldova

The United Nations — Who pays the bills?

The Nevada Appeal

click here for story

March, 26 2011

By Guy W. Farmer

• Guy W. Farmer, of Carson City, is a retired American diplomat.

President Obama and the United Nations Security Council dithered for nearly a month before imposing a no-fly zone to prevent Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi from slaughtering thousands of his fellow countrymen. What took so long?

The U.N.'s failure to take timely, effective action in Libya is just the latest reason why the Obama administration should follow the lead of our British allies by taking a hard look at how the United Nations spends billions (with a “b”) of our tax dollars during a worldwide recession. The Brits are currently reassessing their U.N. contributions to determine whether they're getting their money's worth from the New York-based international bureaucracy.

Frankly, it's difficult to track the money because of the U.N.'s convoluted and misleading accounting system. We know for sure, however, that the United States pays 22 percent of the organization's “regular” budget and 27 percent of peacekeeping costs in addition to millions of dollars worth of “voluntary” contributions to UN-affiliated agencies. Overall, only five nations — the U.S., Japan, Germany, the United Kingdom, and France — finance more than 50 percent of the total U.N. budget.

By contrast, “developing” nations with booming economies like Brazil, China and India pay much less. For example, China, which has become our banker, pays a whopping two percent of the U.N. budget – less than 10 percent of the U.S. contribution. Go figure!

After careful study, Great Britain decided to pull the financial plug on four U.N. agencies by the end of next year, and put three others on notice that they could face the same fate. Meanwhile our U.N. Ambassador, Susan Rice, made an extended cross-country tour designed to drum up public support for the organization, which faces severe congressional budget cuts later this year, as well it should.

A 2010 Heritage Foundation study revealed that U.S. contributions to the U.N. totaled more than $6.34 billion in fiscal 2009 and that the U.N. budget has expanded by an average of 17 percent per year since 2002 as the world economy has contracted. Meanwhile, U.N. bureaucrats live the good life in New York, Paris and Geneva while most of their real work supposedly takes place in the downtrodden Third World. The U.N. bureaucrats I met overseas made more money than I did and worked shorter hours, but they did throw lavish cocktail parties. I'll give them that.

The aforementioned Heritage study asserted that “trust in the capability and willingness of the U.N. to monitor its activities to prevent mismanagement, corruption and waste is at a particularly low ebb” under the direction of U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, a South Korean diplomat. In July 2010 a Swedish internal auditor accused Ban and his associates of undermining efforts to combat corruption in the organization; the auditor was subsequently fired.

So what else do we need to know about how the U.N. spends our hard-earned tax dollars? Congress should follow the British lead and wield the budget axe on our contributions to a bloated and inefficient international bureaucracy.

UK report attacks UN handling of humanitarian crises

By Elizabeth Piper | Reuters

click here for story

LONDON (Reuters) - The United Nations' handling of humanitarian emergencies has been "very disappointing" and its leadership in that area should be overhauled, a British government-commissioned report said on Monday.

"What is needed is a complete overhaul of strategic and operational leadership in the U.N.," said the report by British politician Paddy Ashdown.

Ashdown, a former U.N. representative for Bosnia, carried out a six-month review of Britain's response to humanitarian emergencies at the request of the 10-month-old coalition government.

His report accused the United Nations of rarely having a vision beyond fund-raising and said it needed to set out, at the highest level, the humanitarian challenges ahead and how it planned to deal with them.

The world body also needed to develop a group of capable humanitarian response leaders, the report said.

Hundreds of thousands of people have been killed in a series of major disasters in the last 15 months, including the Japan earthquake and tsunami, the Pakistan floods and the Haiti earthquake.

Ashdown said the scale, frequency and severity of disasters were predicted to grow.

"Credible estimates suggest that due to global warming and increasing population density, the number of people affected by these rapid onset emergencies could double in the next decade," Ashdown said at an event to launch the report.

"We are ... caught in a race between the growing size of the humanitarian challenge and our ability to cope. It is, bluntly, not a race we think we are currently winning," he said.

The British government, the second-largest bilateral humanitarian aid donor after the United States, needed to devise new ways to meet bigger challenges, he said.

Britain spent about 528 million pounds ($846 million) on humanitarian assistance in the 2009/10 fiscal year, channelling just over half of it through U.N. agencies.

Ashdown said the British government should use science, where possible, to try to anticipate and prepare for future disasters caused by hurricanes, droughts and earthquakes.

Britain should help poor countries prepare for disasters, for example by building houses and hospitals that could withstand earthquakes or schools that double as cyclone shelters, the report said.

International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell, who asked Ashdown to carry out the report, said the government would give its response in about six weeks.

(editing by Elizabeth Piper)

UN needs 'complete leadership overhaul', says British study

click here for this story

By Steven Edwards,

Postmedia News

March 28, 2011

UNITED NATIONS — The United Nations is proficient at raising money from governments in times of emergency, but "very disappointing" in its ability to respond to the actual disaster, according to an independent review commissioned by the British government.

"There is rarely a vision beyond fundraising, and rarely an organizing narrative that draws together the disparate capacities," says the 61-page report, released Monday. "What is needed is a complete overhaul of strategic and operational leadership in the UN."

The study highlights shortfalls that are likely to also raise alarm bells among Canadian politicians and others focused on the Ottawa's contributions to UN humanitarian efforts.

It was led by Paddy Ashdown, former leader of Britain's Liberal-Democrats, who also served as UN high representative to Bosnia and Herzegovina.

"Regrettably, the leadership, management and co-ordination of the international community's efforts have not risen even to the challenges we currently face." Ashdown says in the foreword to his Humanitarian Emergency Response Review. "Unless we radically improve the quality of the leadership of the international effort in humanitarian crises, we will not succeed in dealing with what is ahead."

The study drew its conclusions after studying responses to a series of recent humanitarian disasters, including flooding in Pakistan, the earthquake in Haiti, and famine in Niger.

It says governments have come to look at the UN as the "only legitimate authority" in situations where a government of an affected country is unable to mount an effective humanitarian response.

But it adds: "In all but one of the case studies for this review, UN leadership was poor. This was especially true in the larger disasters. It is true at a strategic level and at an operational level. It is true across the international system, and in individual crises."

The report praises the World Food Program — to which Canada is the world's third-biggest contributor after the United States and the European Commission — for "rapidly delivering food to seven million people in flood-hit Pakistan." It also says UNICEF, the children's agency, was efficient in supplying infant food throughout Niger.

But it highlights the UN's "inability to treat and contain" the cholera outbreak in Haiti last year. More widely, it hints at unhealthy competition between the UN agencies by saying they "need to work more collegially."

Britain's 10-month-old Conservative-led coalition government called for the study to review how Britain responds to humanitarian emergencies.

A significant part of the report focused on the UN because the organization and its agencies are among the world's biggest deliverers of emergency help.

Ashdown led a task force of humanitarian experts from inside and outside government who began their study six months after the Haiti earthquake at the beginning of 2010.

"Committee of Experts on Public Administration" - a non existing entity continues to formulate "policy" which is no longer implemented from DPADM

Economic and Social Council

Informal informal consultations

Informal informal consultations, convened by the facilitator (Bahamas), on the report of the ninth session of the Committee of Experts on Public Administration (E/2010/44), will be held on Wednesday, 30 March 2011, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Conference Room 7 (NLB).

Monday, 28 March 2011

Meeting of UN System Chief Executives Board for Coordination (CEB)

This meeting will convene in Nairobi, Kenya, to discuss issues relating to biodiversity, among others. The CEB meets twice a year and brings together the Heads of 27 UN system organizations (15 specialized agencies, 10 UN Funds and Programmes, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the World Trade Organization (WTO)) under the chairmanship of the UN Secretary-General.

dates: 1-2 April 2011

venue: UN Headquarters

location: Nairobi (Nairobi Area), Kenya


Nairobi in spotlight as 27 UN agency heads to meet in city


Posted Saturday, March 26 2011

•High-level forum will discuss issues relating to biodiversity

Starting this Friday, Nairobi will be host to a major United Nations gathering that will bring together the heads of all its specialised agencies.

The meeting of the UN System Chief Executives Board for Coordination (CEB), the highest level mechanism for the coordination of the UN system, is scheduled to discuss issues relating to biodiversity, among others.

The CEB meets twice a year to bring together the heads of 27 UN system organisations – 15 specialised agencies, 10 UN funds and programmes, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the World Trade Organisation (WTO) – under the chairmanship of the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

The CEB is intended to ensure that the UN system delivers as one at global, regional and country levels on the broad range of commitments made by the international community.

Office sites

The meeting will take place at the UN offices (UNON) in Gigiri, a Nairobi suburb. UNON is one of the four major UN office sites where UN agencies have joint presence. Other UN offices are in New York, Geneva and Vienna.

The 140-acre office complex serves as the global headquarters of the United Nations Environment Programme (Unep) and UN-Habitat.

From a diplomatic perspective, the meeting can be seen as a significant –and positive– statement about Kenya as it seeks to refurbish its image that was battered by the 2008 post-election violence.

Economically, the UN presence is a pivotal for Nairobi and Kenya as it is the single largest source of foreign exchange; an excess of Sh32 billion ($400 million) is pumped into the economy annually.

“This figure is fast burgeoning as the UN commits greater resources and workforce to mounting growth arenas in Somalia, Sudan and the greater East African region, an operation looked upon by neighbouring African states as a vantage point towards fiscal advancement and better positioning on the world scene,” noted the monthly Diplomat magazine.

According to the ministry of Foreign Affairs, which normally coordinates such visits on behalf of government, the agency heads will begin arriving on Thursday. The meeting will take place Friday and Saturday.

“It is a big meeting and sends a clear message about Kenya’s relationship with the United Nations,” Foreign Affairs Permanent Secretary Patrick Wamoto told the Sunday Nation.

In the run-up to the meeting, the UN secretary-general appointed Ms Sahle-Work Zewde of Ethiopia as the Director-General of the United Nations Office in Nairobi (UNON).

The appointment of Ms Zewde detaches the leadership and coordination of UNON from Unep and Habitat.

The previous holder of the position, Mr Achim Steiner, combined it with being the head of Unep.

Ms Zewde, therefore, is the first person to hold the new position to specifically head UNON at the under secretary-general level and will report directly to Mr Ban on all political, procedural and security-related matters.

“This is the first time all heads of UN agencies are having one meeting in one location to plan co-ordination so as to deliver services as one United Nations entity. I am pleased also to appoint a woman who will be announced soon to assume a senior position within the United Nations,” Mr Ban said when he met Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka recently in New York before Ms Zewde’s appointment was made public.

Since its establishment in 1996, UNON has served as an administrative hub to create a smoother enabling environment for the programmes and projects of some 30 UN agency country offices.

Last year, the UN upgraded the Nairobi office from Category ‘C’ – a duty station – to category ‘B’ stretching its presence and importance on the global stage. The upgrade is based on the standard of living, better services and security in Nairobi.

Prior to the upgrade and appointment of the new director-general, a diplomatic row erupted when Kenya uncovered an alleged secret plot to relocate Unep from its Nairobi headquarters to a European location.

The row appears to be water under the bridge as CEB holds its meeting in Nairobi.

The board is the prime instrument for supporting and reinforcing the coordinating role of UN inter-governmental bodies on social, economic and related matters.

According to Ambassador S.K. Maina, who heads the International Organisation, Conferences and International Jobs division at the Foreign ministry, a similar meeting was held in Kenya a decade ago.

During the two-day event, Mr Ban and President Kibaki will officially open the new block that will host the global headquarters of Unep and Habitat. The building has the distinction of being one of the first energy neutral offices in Africa.

US, others give nod to Ban for 2nd UN term - envoys

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Ban Ki-moon has received preliminary pledges of support for a second five-year term as U.N. secretary-general from the United States and other key members of the Security Council, U.N. diplomats said.

Ban, a former South Korean foreign minister, has yet to publicly declare his candidacy for the election, which is expected to take place in the coming months. But he has privately made clear he will seek re-election, diplomats said. Ban's first term ends on Dec. 31, 2011.

Officially, U.N. secretaries-general are elected by the 192-nation U.N. General Assembly on the recommendation of the Security Council.

In reality, however, it is the five permanent veto-wielding council members -- Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States -- who decide who gets the top U.N. job.

The decision by the five is then rubber-stamped by the full 15-nation council and the assembly, diplomats said on condition of anonymity.

"Ban's already received preliminary shows of support from (U.S. President Barack) Obama and the leaders of Britain and France," a diplomat told Reuters. "Russia and China won't oppose him. I think it's safe to say that he'll keep his job."

The council is hoping to make a recommendation in May so that the General Assembly can vote on it in June, envoys said.

According to an unofficial agreement among the various geographic clusters of U.N. member states, it is Asia's turn to hold the post of secretary-general for another term. No country has proposed a candidate to run against Ban, diplomats said.


Ban's understated approach and less-than-perfect English set him apart from his more outspoken predecessor Kofi Annan, who ran afoul of the administration of U.S. President George W. Bush for declaring the 2003 invasion of Iraq "illegal."

But diplomats praise Ban for his energetic support for the fight against climate change and push for nuclear disarmament.

Over the last four years, Ban has been accused by human rights groups of putting too much faith in quiet diplomacy. They have also criticized him for not taking China and other countries to task for what they say are rampant rights abuses.

The secretary-general was hit with a barrage of criticism last year when he failed to mention human rights or the jailing of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo during a meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao in China.

Ban never congratulated Liu or called for the dissident's release.

The head of New York-based Human Rights Watch, Kenneth Roth, said in January that Ban has been "notably reluctant to put pressure on abusive governments." Despite his continued silence on China, some envoys say Ban has grown tougher and more self-confident in recent months.

He has openly called for the incumbent leader of Ivory Coast, Laurent Gbagbo, to step down after the results of a U.N.-certified runoff election last year showed he had lost to rival presidential candidate Alassane Ouattara. Gbagbo ordered U.N. peacekeepers out of the country but Ban refused to budge.

In Egypt, Ban called on now ousted President Hosni Mubarak to heed the demands of pro-democracy demonstrators, prompting public rebukes from Russian, Chinese and Egyptian diplomats.

U.N. officials told Reuters in 2008 that Moscow had threatened to block Ban's second term for allegedly siding with the United States, Britain, France and others in supporting Kosovo's secession from Serbia. Diplomats say Moscow got over it and the permanent members of the Security Council now have no serious problems with Ban.

"It's not as if he's lightning in a bottle, but we can live with him," a senior Western diplomat said.

Monday, 21 March 2011

Case No. 2010-116 & Case No. 2010-117: SECRETARY-GENERAL OF THE UNITED NATIONS v. Bertucci

(en formation plénière)

Dans cette affaire, qui est celle de la contestation par M. BERTUCCI de la décision de ne pas le sélectionner pour occuper un poste d’Assistant Secrétaire Général (ASG), le Tribunal d’Appel a tranché deux questions de droit.

La première question de droit est celle du droit à la protection de la confidentialité. Le Tribunal d’Appel a rappelé que le TCNU était en droit d’ordonner la production de tout document dans la mesure où cela est pertinent en vue d’un développement rapide et équitable de l’instance. Il a considéré qu’en l’espèce le juge avait des motifs suffisants pour ordonner la production de documents, détenus par l’administration, concernant le processus ayant conduit à l’intervention de la décision administrative contestée. L’exigence de transparence et de respect du droit que proclame la résolution 63/253 de l’Assemblée générale prévaut sur les demandes de protection de la confidentialité qui ne seraient pas suffisamment précises et étayées par des justifications. En principe, quand l’administration se prévaut du droit à la protection de la confidentialité pour s’opposer à la divulgation d’une information, elle peut demander au Tribunal de vérifier le caractère confidentiel du document dont la production peut être pertinente pour le règlement de l’affaire. Ce document ne doit pas être communiqué à l’autre partie avant la fin de cette vérification. Si le Tribunal considère que la demande de protection de la confidentialité est justifiée, il doit retirer le document, ou la partie confidentielle du document, du dossier. En aucun cas, le Tribunal ne peut utiliser un document au détriment d’une partie à moins que celle-ci n’ait eu la possibilité de l’examiner préalablement. En l’espèce, les objections que le Secrétaire général a formulées pour refuser d’exécuter les ordonnances du TCNU n’étaient ni précises ni étayées par des justifications.

La seconde question de droit est celle de savoir ce que peut faire le juge si l’administration refuse de communiquer des documents. Le juge du TCNU a sanctionné l’administration en empêchant son conseil de participer à la procédure et de rendre un jugement par défaut. Le Tribunal d’Appel a jugé que le TCNU avait violé le droit du défendeur d’être entendu. Mais, avant d’annuler les jugements pour ce motif, il a indiqué que, dans une telle situation, le Tribunal est en droit de tirer les conclusions appropriées du refus dans son jugement final. De telles conclusions, selon les circonstances, peuvent le conduire jusqu’à constater que, du fait de son refus, l’administration, quelle que soit l’étendue de son pouvoir discrétionnaire, doit être regardée comme ayant acquiescé aux allégations relatives aux faits de l’autre partie. Le jugement de l’affaire est renvoyé au TCNU.

Synopsis in English

The present case which concerns Bertucci’s challenge of the decision not to select him for a post of Assistant Secretary-General (ASG) raises two questions of law.

The first issue is that of the privilege of confidentiality. The Appeals Tribunal recalled that the UNDT is entitled to order production of any documents as long as it is relevant in the view of a fair and expeditious disposal of the case. It decided that in this case, there were sufficient reasons for the Judge to think that it would be useful for a fair and expeditious disposal of the case to order production of documents withheld by the Administration concerning the process that led to the contested administrative decision. The privilege exception must be strictly understood. In Resolution 63/253 the General Assembly opted for a new system of administration of justice “transparent” and “consistent with the relevant rules of international law and the principles of rule of law and due process to ensure the respect for the rights and obligations of staff members and the accountability of managers and staff members alike”. It is an overriding objective which prevails over claims for confidentiality which are not both specific and substantiated. As a general rule, when the Administration relies on the privilege of confidentiality in objecting to the disclosure of information, it may request the Tribunal to verify the confidentiality of a document that may be relevant in order to rule on a case. That document shall not be communicated to the other party before such verification is completed. If the Tribunal considers that the claim for confidentiality is justified, it must remove the document, or the confidential part of the document, from the file. In any case, the Tribunal cannot use a document to a party’s detriment unless the party has had the opportunity to see it beforehand. In the present case, the Secretary-General’s objections to the execution of the UNDT Orders were neither specific nor substantiated.

The second issue is that of the power of the Judge if the administration refuses to disclose information on the ground of the privilege of confidentiality. In this case, the UNDT Judge decided that it was entitled to penalize the Secretary-General by excluding his Counsel from participating in the proceedings and by pronouncing a judgment by default. The Appeals Tribunal found that the UNDT violated the respondent’s due process rights to be heard. But, before it annulled the UNDT Judgment on this basis, this Court stated that, in such a situation, the Tribunal is entitled to draw appropriate inferences from the refusal in the final judgment of the case. Such inferences, depending on the circumstances of the case, may include that, by its refusal, the Administration, whatever the extent of its discretion, should be deemed to have agreed to the other party’s statement of facts. The Court remands the case to the UNDT.


L’administration a suspendu le paiement d’une certaine somme due à M. BERTUCCI à l’occasion de son départ à la retraite sur le fondement d’une l’instruction administrative relative à la responsabilité pécuniaire des fonctionnaires pour faute grave. Ultérieurement, la somme restant due a été payée à M. BERTUCCI, aucune faute ne lui ayant finalement été imputée. Le TCNU a considéré que le paiement de la somme avait été légalement suspendue et que M. BERTUCCI n’avait subi aucun préjudice. Il lui a toutefois accordé une indemnité de 500 dollars américains. Cette Cour a rappelle qu’une indemnisation en l’absence d’un préjudice réel est sans base légale. Elle juge que le TCNU a commis une erreur de droit. Toutefois, faisant en partie droit à un appel incident de M. BERTUCCI, elle considère que lorsque la procédure disciplinaire ne conduit pas à confirmer les soupçons qui ont pu peser, au stade de l’enquête préliminaire, sur un fonctionnaire, la somme dont le paiement a pu légalement être suspendue doit lui être intégralement payée, assortie d’intérêts moratoires. La Cour a estimé qu’il pouvait être fait une juste appréciation du préjudice subi par M. Bertucci du fait du non paiement d’intérêts par l’allocation d’une indemnité de 500 dollars américains. Le Tribunal d’Appel confirme donc en définitive le jugement par substitution de motifs.

Friday, 18 March 2011

InnercityPress: Ban Ki-moon's son-in-law (Siddharth Chatterjee) had questionable educational credentials - UNOPS sends him away quietly !

InnercityPress.Com reported today that Ban Ki-moon's son-in-law (Mr. Siddharth Chatterjee), seem to have been apparently removed "quietly" from his position as Director at UNOPS Denmark.

InnercityPress sources reveal how Ban's son-in-law is allegedly "parked" in a board-school in New Jersey, USA.

As reported from InnercityPress.Com:

Asked questions about the promotion and then disappearance on “Special Leave” of the son in law of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky has for days told Inner City Press to “ask the UN Office of Project Services.”

Ban's son in law Siddharth Chatterjee was in mid 2009 made the Middle East chief of UNOPS. This month, Inner City Press was told by UNOPS sources that Chatterjee quietly left once he was asked for his educational credentials, and after being described by co-workers as “the furniture” for lack of effectiveness.