Thursday, 31 May 2012

Global development podcast: what can Rio+20 achieve?


As delegates prepare for June's Rio+20 UN Earth summit on sustainable development in Brazil, we ask what tangible measures the conference can hope to produce. The podcast looks back at the 1992 Rio summit, and explores the issues of the green economy, what role companies and corporations should play in sustainable development, and what is on the agenda for the People's summit

UN Plans to Expand Its Environmental Agency

The United Nations will be pushing for an expansion of its already powerful global environmental agency at this year's Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro June 20-22. The UN Environmental Program (UNEP) will be renamed the UN Environmental Organization (UNEO) and promoted to the level of a “specialized agency,” giving it more authority and allowing it to receive more funding.
The ultimate purpose of the organization's restructuring is to support the Sustainable Development division of the UN, the same division that has imposed the radical and highly controversial Agenda 21 policies on nations across the globe.

Shamshad Akhtar a Pakistani replaces Jomo Kwame Sundaram at UN-DESA

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Dr Shamshad Akhtar (Urdu: ڈاکٹر شمشاد اختر) was appointed by the President Pervez Musharraf as the governor of the State Bank of Pakistan for three years in December 2005. She is the 14th governor of the State Bank and the first female to assume this position. Previously, she also held positions with the Asian Development Bank.

Born in the city of Hyderabad, Sindh, Dr Akhtar completed her Ph.D in Economics from Scotland's Paisley College of Technology. She has an M.S. in Economics from Quaid-e-Azam University in Islamabad and an M.A. in Development Economics from the University of Sussex, England. In 1987 she attended Harvard University under the Fulbright programme. Furthermore, she served in the World Bank prior to joining the State Bank of Pakistan.

Dr. Shamshad Akhtar took over as Governor, State Bank of Pakistan on January 2, 2006 for a three-year term. Dr. Akhtar, who is the first woman and the 14th Governor of the State Bank since its inception in July, 1948 brings rich experience, both national and international, to her new assignment.
Prior to her appointment as SBP Governor, Dr. Akhtar has been serving the Asian Development Bank (ADB) as its Director General, Southeast Asia Department since January, 2004. Earlier, she was Deputy Director General of the Department. She also held the position of Director, Governance, Finance and Trade Division for East and Central Asia Department of ADB.

Dr. Akhtar began her career in ADB in 1990 and rose to the position of Manager in 1998 after serving as Senior and Principal Financial Sector Specialist. She has been ADB’s Coordinator for APEC Finance Ministers Group from 1998–2001 and has served on a number of ADB committees including the Reorganization Committee, Appeals Committee and Oversight Committee etc. She has interfaced and represented the Asian Development Bank at the Bank for International Settlements and the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO). She has developed a broad regional expertise in financial and economic matters of Central Asian Republics & Southeast Asia including the People’s Republic of China.

Before joining the ADB, Dr. Akhtar worked for 10 years as an Economist in the World Bank’s Resident Mission in Pakistan. In Pakistan, she also worked briefly with the Planning Offices of both the Federal and Sindh Governments. She dealt with wide ranging subjects which covered analysis of macroeconomic situation, finance and money and structural reforms of key sectors including industry and agriculture. Her work included papers on taxation system of Pakistan, state of inter-governmental fiscal relations, poverty incidence & its dimensions and foreign direct investment etc. Dr. Akhtar also contributed to the development of diversification of financial markets including the analysis of monetary policy and state of banking industry (at the World Bank) and restructuring of the Securities & Exchange Commission, Insurance Commission and worked closely with the private sector including the stock exchanges of Pakistan. She has been advising the central banks on reforms of financial markets. Dr. Akhtar has also been dealing with the banking sector’s legal, regulatory and institutional reforms while advising on diversification of the industry to exploit long term funding through development of bond market.


Wu Hongbo 吴洪波 - is Sha Zukang's replacement at UN-DESA

Wu Hongbo 吴洪波
Assistant Minister of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Born: 1952
Birthplace: Shandong Province
Biography Highlight

Wu Hongbo, male, Han nationality, is a native of Shandong Province. He was born in 1952 and graduated from Beijing Foreign Studies University. Wu studied at Victoria University in New Zealand from 1978 to 1980.

View complete biography »
Recent Career Data

2007—    Assistant Minister, Ministry of Foreign Affairs   
2005—2007    Director-General, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, General Office   
2003—2005    Ambassador, Chinese Embassy Philippines, Manila   
2002—2003    Deputy Commissioner, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Macao SAR   
2000—2002    Director-General, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan Affairs Department   
1999—2000    Deputy Director-General, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, West European Affairs Department   
1998—1999    Chief Representative, Chinese Delegation, Sino-British Joint Liaison Group   
1997—1998    Counselor, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Commissioner's Office Hong Kong SAR   
1995—1997    Representative, Chinese Delegation, Sino-British Joint Liaison Group   
1991—1995    Section Chief, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan Affairs Department   

View complete career data »

Ban Ki-moon & Me? (truth on United Nations)


Documentary makes Borat/Michael Moore-style attack on the United Nations.
Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Call their style Michael Moore meets Sacha Baron Cohen.

Two pro-Israel activists are hoping that their documentary on the United Nations — to be released nationwide on June 1 — brings focus to what they say is the world body’s global ineffectiveness.
One of the more powerful scenes from “U.N. Me” comes from a lull in deliberations at the controversial 2009 Durban Review Conference in Geneva, a parley headlined by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and boycotted by Israel, the United States and others because of its obsessive focus on the Jewish state.

In the clip, an American in a dark suit and tie mounts the podium and seizes the microphone.
“You people should be embarrassed and ashamed,” filmmaker Ami Horowitz announces to the handful of delegates scattered about the hall. “You have squandered the opportunity the world has given you. This is a perverse example of what it was meant to be.”

The conference already had been somewhat of a diplomatic zoo, with myriad protesters — a disproportionate number of them Jewish — disrupting the proceedings and causing a ruckus in the hallways. With security heightened, Horowitz was whisked from the room within seconds.
But standing in the near-empty press gallery was Horowitz’s partner, Matthew Groff, who captured the incident on tape (as did JTA). The footage now forms the climax of the scathing documentary written, directed and produced by Groff and Horowitz.

Horowitz’s Geneva stunt is a move plucked from the playbook of the documentarian Moore, whose screen persona of the everyman trying to get straight answers from the powerful pervades his critically acclaimed work in films such as “Bowling for Columbine” and “Roger & Me.”
But will the left-leaning Moore’s trademark style wow viewers of a documentary taking aim at an organization that has long been a punching bag for the right?

Horowitz, a former investment banker and avowed conservative, says the film is neither liberal nor conservative. Indeed, in what may wind up being a savvy directorial decision, the film never mentions what many consider one of the most egregious examples of the UN’s moral blind spot: a relentless focus on Israel.

Instead, Horowitz keeps the lens trained on UN failures in areas generally cherished by liberals: peacekeeping and human rights.

He travels to the African nation of Cote d’Ivoire, where he reports on a little-known incident in which a contingent of French UN peacekeepers fired on protesters. He interviews Nobel laureate Jody Williams, whose report on Darfur for the UN Human Rights Council was nearly blocked by the very body that commissioned it. And he reviews the details of better-known examples of UN wrongdoing, such as sexual abuse allegations by peacekeepers and the atrocious Oil for Food Programme that served mainly to enrich Saddam Hussein.

“Almost anybody who is a liberal thinks it’s a liberal movie, and everybody who is conservative thinks it’s a conservative movie,” Horowitz said. “People don’t know [UN reform] is a conservative cause.”

If Horowitz’s style owes much to Moore — a man he describes as his “friend” — he also acknowledges a debt to another character of the big screen: Borat, the fictional and clueless Khazaki journalist created and depicted by Cohen.

Horowitz routinely presents himself as a credulous buffoon, eagerly accepting the assurances of an Iranian official that his country is not making nuclear weapons and agreeing with UN disarmament chief Sergio Duarte’s assessment that despite Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s repeated hostile declarations against Israel, the Iranian president’s true intentions cannot be divined.

The routine succeeds, Borat-syle, in making several interviewees look silly. In a segment on the UN’s failure to stop the killings in Darfur, Horowitz asks Sudan’s ambassador to the United Nations why Sudan stones gays after the first offense but lesbians only after the fourth.

“No, no, no,” the ambassador corrects him. “Woman, if she is married, she will be stoned immediately.”

Earlier in the interview, Horowitz informs the ambassador that before learning of the situation in Darfur, he had thought the Janjaweed was a strain of Sudanese marijuana.

Horowitz says he was moved to make a film about the UN after watching “Bowling for Columbine,” Moore’s documentary about guns and violence in America.

“I saw his movie and [I thought], if I want to get my point across, this is the best way to do it,” Horowitz said.

Financed in part by the conservative telecommunications executive Howard Jonas, “U.N. Me” premiered at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam in 2009. Jonas also helped Horowitz penetrate the halls of power.
Horowitz screened the film for Dick Cheney at the former vice president’s home in Virginia, and for media executives Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes in New York. According to Horowitz, Murdoch liked the film and wanted to distribute it, but Ailes warned him that supporting the film would be tantamount to declaring war on the UN.
Murdoch, Horowitz recalled, replied that Ailes’ Fox News is already at war with the world body.
“The whole idea of the movie is based on the idea of activism,” Horowitz said. “I’m not trying to tell an impartial story. The only thing I’m responsible for is the truth. I have no responsibility beyond that. I don’t have to show both sides of anything. I have a point of view, and I’m trying to prove it.”

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

IMF chief Christine Lagarde pays NO TAX on her £300,000 salary (despite attacking Greece for dodging payment)

•Questioned about Greek crisis head of IMF said country can help itself collectively 'by paying all their tax'
•Suggests that IMF's money would be better spent on African children than on people in Athens
•Lagarde takes home £298,675-a-year untaxed
•Receives further tax-free allowance package of £52,000
…Annual pay for UN workers start at between £29,000 to £51,000 with senior salaries range between £61,000 and £80,000 although this figure varies depending on where an employee is based.
A UN worker based in Geneva could expect to see their base salary increased by 106 per cent while even in Juba, the relatively poor capital of South Sudan, a UN worker could anticipate a 53.2 per cent top up of their salary.

China supports Kenya’s UNEP upgrade call


Sacha Baron Cohen 'banned from filming at UN for fear of upsetting dictators'

Sacha Baron Cohen was banned from shooting scenes for his new film The Dictator at the United Nations because it might upset real-life despots, the comic has claimed.

Jomo Kwame looses his bid for ILO - Briton wins (Who will justify all UN-DESA's DSA paid to Jomo for months of PR campaign in Geneva?)

Click here to view this on ILO webpage

Guy Ryder elected as ILO Director-General

Guy Ryder was elected as the tenth Director-General of the ILO and will begin his five-year term in October 2012.

GENEVA (ILO news) – The International Labour Organization (ILO) has elected Guy Ryder as its tenth Director-General. Ryder, who is currently the ILO’s Executive Director for International Labour Standards and Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, was elected by secret ballot by the ILO’s Governing Body. He will begin his five-year term in October 2012.

“I am really excited about this chance: this is a tremendous opportunity, in the middle of this global crisis, to make a difference to the lives of millions of people, including those who've never heard of the ILO, to change their lives for the better”, said the Director-General elect. “I thank the Governing Body for their confidence. The significance of what happened here today will be judged by what we do, and that is to put the people and the world of work at the heart of everything we do.”

Friday, 25 May 2012

Bob Orr says: "U.N. will enter into direct agreements with private investors and major industries"

... “There will be a number of agreements to come out of this meeting because there’s now a coordinated effort by companies and investors to focus on sustainability issues,” Robert Orr, assistant secretary general for policy planning, said today in an interview at the New York event. “That’s the biggest difference between Rio ’92 and Rio ’12.”...

British Labour says: - "David Cameron unfit to chair UN Development pannel"

David Cameron is unfit to chair the UN development panel – and here's why
The British PM's record suggests he could hardly be more ill-equipped to devise the post-2015 development agenda

In Washington, U.N. paid lobbysts are fighting against "Accountability at the United Nations"

UNRWA: Nothing to see, just move along; Lobbying against UN accountability
... A senior Senate aide tells Right Turn that Jordanian officials just sent an e-mail to congressional staffers urging opposition to any amendment that could lead to undermining the UNRWA. (The fear that an actual accounting would deprive the UNRWA of U.S. taxpayer dollars is reason enough to support it.) The request reads: “Jordan urges the Senate to avoid any language which would directly or indirectly lead to undermining UNRWA. The embassy will be happy to further explain the Jordanian position, observations and reservations to your office and other Senate members, including the potential negative implications on Jordan, its economy and the peace efforts by any language that undermines or purports to undermine UNRWA.”...

Ros-Lehtinen(R) and Engel(D) against Obama's support for Navi Pillay's extension

U.S. Reps. Snub Navi Pillay
The U.N. General Assembly today formally extended Navi Pillay's term as U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights for another two years.
But not before House Foreign Affairs Chair Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and Rep. Elliot Engel (D-NY) fired off an angry letter calling on the Obama administration to "publicly and strongly oppose" Pillay's extension, saying she has been too soft on China, Syria, and other rights violators and has "repeatedly demonstrated bias against the State of Israel."

Thursday, 24 May 2012

"U.N. Me" - Ami Horowitz talks to Stuart Varney

The Law of the Sea treaty will sink America's economy

By Sen. Orrin Hatch, Sen. John Cornyn
Americans despise taxes.  After all, one of the key issues that paved the way for the American Revolution was the unfair taxation that King George III levied against the Colonies.
Now some in the US Senate want to say yes to an international tax.  It would be the first time in history that an international organization would possess taxing authority, and it would amount to billions of American dollars being transferred out of the US Treasury. 
The U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea, or the Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST) is the vehicle through which such taxes would be imposed on U.S.-based commercial enterprises.  
Utah Republican Senator Orrin Hatch is the ranking Member of the Senate Finance Committee. Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn is a senior member of the Senate Finance Committee.

Go See U.N. Me — Now Ami Horowitz, top-notch conservative filmmaker and funnyman

... But what is U.N. Me? According to Horowitz, it’s “a love letter” to the United Nations, albeit a love letter with “constructive criticism.” But if U.N. Me is a love letter, then it’s the letter you write to a significant other threatening a break-up. You want the relationship to work, but there have to be some major changes. The movie recounts several of the major failings of the United Nations over its history: the sexual abuses and massacres committed by U.N. peacekeepers, the failure to stop Iran’s nuclear-weapons program, the U.N.’s inability to curb terrorism, the Oil-for-Food program, the genocides in Rwanda and Darfur, and the United Nation’s failure to support human rights across the world. Not exactly the most uplifting material. But U.N. Me is more than a recitation of the United Nation’s misdeeds; instead, it delves deeper into how the culture and the structure of the U.N. led to such debacles...

Should United Nations Get Taxing Powers or Direct Funding?

Over the years, I’ve strenuously objected to schemes that would enable international bureaucracies to levy taxes. That’s why I’ve criticized “direct funding” proposals, most of which seem to emanate from the United Nations.
    * A scheme to let the United Nations tax services such as air travel.
    * A proposal, pushed by George Soros and other statists, for U.N. taxes on things such as energy use.
    * And, of course, the favorite of the big-government crowd, a global tax on financial transactions.

U.N. Chief Disappointed Over Deadlocked Rio+20 Negotiations - (will he fire or promote Nikhil Seth for failure ) ?

(it seems that Nikhil is playing it all in this time)
UNITED NATIONS, May 23, 2012 (IPS) - Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who has invested heavily in the success of the upcoming U.N. Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD), is publicly expressing his frustration at the lack of substantial progress on a final plan of action for a greener economy and a sustainable future worldwide.

Jomo Kwame Sundaram wants "a global new deal" - as long as it comes with a USG job/salary for himself (~$500 Thousand) in Geneva

A Global New Deal
Jomo Kwame Sundaram is UN Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development and G-24 Research Coordinator.
... Although inclusive multilateralism has been battered by various challenges, including its seeming messiness and slow progress, it remains the best option for various reasons. The United Nations system must be bolder, but powerful interests must also allow it to play a bigger role...

Robert Mugabe, UN Tourism Ambassador?

From Zimbabwe comes a report that the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) is appointing Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe as a UN international tourism ambassador, in recognition of all he’s done to promote and develop — yes — tourism. According to the Zimbabwe Herald, this is an honor Mugabe will share with Zambia’s President, Michael Sata, because “The two leaders have shown that tourism is central to the development of Africa by naming it as one of the four pillars of economic development.”

UNRWA pays Democrats to lobby for U.N. in Washington D.C. - taxpayers money spent in coffees and expensive lunches "protecting" Palestinian rights

Is the U.N. making the Palestinian ‘refugee’ problem worse?
... Let’s start with UNRWA itself. Early last year it set up a D.C. “liaison” office. With whom is it liaisoning? Mostly Congress, it turns out. U.S. law forbids the United Nations from lobbying Congress, but as we learned with Newt Gingrich “lobbying” or a “lobbyist” is in the eye of the beholder. UNRWA employs two full-time staffers in D.C., both of whom have loads of experience on Capitol Hill. Chris McGrath is a former aide for Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.); his boss, Matthew Reynolds, worked in legislative affairs for the State Department. I was assured no “lobbying” goes on, but they do meet virtually nonstop with lawmakers — appropriators are key — to answer questions about how taxpayer dollars are spent, why UNRWA’s work is important and how it makes sure money isn’t going to terrorists.
It seems American tax dollars are going, in part, to fund this office that in effect makes sure Congress doesn’t get fed up and cut off the money flow. Kirk might want to find out just how much liasioning is going on and whether the letter and spirit of the ban on lobbying are being strictly adhered to...

How many more must die before Kofi Annan quits?

Former UN human rights lawyer Kenneth Cain says the secretary-general could finally redeem himself by saving lives - after years of lethal passivity

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

United Nations is now GREEN (uses taxpayers money to pay for Carbon Certificates it stamps itself)

UN Greening the Blue Announces UN Headquarters Now Powered by Renewable Energy
Greening the Blue has announced that the UN Headquarters building in New York, the US, is to be powered by renewable energy. The UN has purchased Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs), a tradable certificate issued when electricity is generated and delivered to the grid from a qualifying renewable energy source.
According to Greening the Blue, from now on, carbon emissions from electricity use on the main UN campus will be zero, and cost only 1% more than conventional, or “brown energy.” The UN is also on track to reduce energy consumption by 50% following renovation of the Secretariat building, and has a full-time sustainability advisor for its New York headquarters.  [UN Greening the Blue Press Release]

Another Chinese up for re-election - Margaret Chan (W.H.O. Director) will get a second term not like Sha Zukang !

... More than 60 countries now pushing for universal health coverage
The director general saved her strongest words, in an upbeat message about where health is headed, for a shift towards universal health coverage.
    “Following publication of the 2010 World Health Report on health system financing, more than 60 countries have approached WHO seeking technical support for their plans to move towards universal coverage.
    “What we are seeing goes against the historical pattern, where social services shrink when money gets tight. I think this drive to expand coverage is a powerful signal. Despite deepening financial austerity, the will to do the right thing, the fair thing, for people’s health prevails.”

UN's ICC could prosecute Americans for civilian deaths in Libya

Last week, I wrote about Russia's prodding of the International Criminal Court to investigate any NATO war crimes in Libya. In that post, I argued that the UN Security Council resolution referring the Libya situation to the court precluded prosecutions of non-ICC member state nations. Not so fast, says Kevin Jon Heller, writing at Opinion Juris. He argues that the Security Council can't refer only part of a situation to the court:  "Paragraph 6 of Res. 1970 might have made non-member NATO states feel better about the ICC referral, but it does not prohibit the ICC from prosecuting their nationals."

Did UN-DESA Statistics Division help UNRWA set-up the Palestinian Refugee Database? Why is UN-DESA non disclosing who assisted UNRWA's latest count of Palestinians?

Status Update
With the stroke of a pen, a new bill in Congress could slash the number of Palestinian refugees -- and open a world of controversy.
... The aim of this proposed legislation, Kirk's office explains, is not to deprive Palestinians who live in poverty of essential services, but to tackle one of the thorniest issues of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict: the "right of return." The dominant Palestinian narrative is that all of the refugees of the Israeli-Palestinian wars have a right to go back, and that this right is not negotiable. But here's the rub: By UNRWA's own count, the number of Palestinians who describe themselves as refugees has skyrocketed from 750,000 in 1950 to 5 million today. As a result, the refugee issue has been an immovable obstacle in round after round of negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians.
How have these numbers swelled, particularly as the Palestinians who fled or were forced from their homes in 1948 and 1967 grew old and died? This question lies at the crux of the Kirk amendment. And the answer is UNRWA...

Monday, 21 May 2012

Financial Transaction TAX is on your way - European Socialist want it (U.N. will implement/enforce it)

Europe Can Spend Its Way to Growth
A financial transaction tax and a more efficient fight against tax evasion could channel additional funds into national treasuries.
... Alternatives should be developed without giving up the goal of balanced budgets. The fact that the current recession was preceded by a decrease of public investment in measures and policies that produce growth and employment clearly indicates that these must be the starting point of an alternative strategy. In the evaluation of national budgets, investment in growth and employment should be given priority. Expenditures for these purposes should not be integrated in calculations of structural deficits and hence be punished because investment in growth generates income and taxes and therefore revenues for the state...
Mr. Swoboda, a member of the European Parliament from Austria, is president of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament.

Ileana Ros-Lehtine, Republican Chair woman at U.S. Congress says: NO MORE CASH FOR UNITED NATIONS

State and Foreign Operations cuts at odds with voters wishes
By Peter Yeo, vice president of public policy, United Nations Foundation –
... At a time when Americans want our dollar to go farther, this bill unnecessarily targets UN agencies — the very vehicles we need to make that happen.  Failure to pay our dues to the UN will erode America’s ability to further its national security interests. It contradicts what voters want, and we must speak out.
Yeo is vice president of public policy at the United Nations Foundation and executive director of the Better World Campaign. Previously he served as deputy staff director at the House Foreign Affairs Committee chaired by Rep. Tom Lantos (D-Calif.) and Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.) and as Deputy Assistant Secretary at the U.S. State Department during the Clinton Administration.

Are pharmaceutical corporations running W.H.O. or China ?

Health minsters from the 194 member states of the World Health Organization (WHO) meet this week at their General Assembly in Geneva. The organization faces criticism of its growing dependence on the pharma industry.

If you are against UNEP and Climate Change think again - soon you can be jailed if against carbon trading

Rio+20 to mull giving UN climate body more teeth: Brazil
BRASILIA — Next month's Rio summit on sustainable development will discuss how to strengthen the UN Environment Program (UNEP), Brazil's environment minister said Friday.
France, backed by at least 100 countries, is proposing to turn the second-string UNEP into a global super-agency on a par with other UN specialized agencies such as the World Health Organization or the Food and Agricultural Organization.
But Washington is strong opposed to the idea.

Jomo Kwame Sundaram running for ILO (spending UN-DESA DSA$ for his personal campaign in Geneva)

ILO leadership election must not be another charade
A third global institution is to pick a new leader and this time the job must go to a candidate from a developing country
Jomo Kwame Sundaram, assistant UN secretary-general for economic and social affairs, is a candidate to lead the ILO.

First Meeting of the Green Climate Fund Board

The first meeting of the Green Climate Fund (GCF) Board of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has been postponed, pending finalization of the process for nominations from countries to the membership of the Board. The Board had been expected to meet on 31 May 2012. It will meet either the last week in June or the first week in July. At its first meeting, the Board is to consider the six offers from countries to host the Fund, including Germany, Mexico, Namibia, Poland, the Republic of Korea and Switzerland.   dates: 25-29 June 2012 [tentative]   location: Geneva (Geneve), Switzerland   contact: UNFCCC Secretariat   phone: +49 228 815 1000   fax: +49 228 815 1999   e-mail:  

UN Complaints of Gambari's Shirking of Retreat, $620000 on Mansion, End?

UNITED NATIONS, May 21 -- When the UN paid for its far-flung envoys to travel to New York for a retreat at the Greentree estate last week, many were surprised and angry that Darfur envoy Ibrahim Gambari appeared only briefing, for the photo op and conclusion, and otherwise "did personal business" in New York.
  As exclusively reported by Inner City Press on February 3, Gambari spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to build himself a "hard shell on the hill" estate in the UN's El Fasher peacekeeping camp. As peacekeeping budget missions are now reviewed in the UN's Fifth (Budget) Committee, Inner City Press has be informed by whistleblowers of the full cost: $620,000.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

While Sha Zukang pays $893 per night in Rio (for each participant sponsored by UN-DESA) - the European Parliament will be Absent because can't afford hotel fees

BERLIN, May 16, 2012 (IPS) - The decision by the European Parliament (EP) to renounce its participation in the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development next month on the grounds that hotel costs are exorbitant has provoked sharp criticism from civil society organisations.

UN Launches First Africa Human Development Report

... Read the full report here:

UN Independent Experts Call for a Global Financial Transaction Tax

14 May 2012: A group of UN independent experts has called on the Group of Eight Industrialized Nations (G8) and EU countries to support a proposal for a global financial transaction tax (FTT). Such a tax would be applied to mitigate the costs of the economic, financial, fuel, climate and food crises, and to protect basic human rights.
The UN Special Rapporteurs and other experts met on 14 May 2012, at the UN Headquarters, New York, US. According to the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human rights (OHCHR), the proposed FTT could generate about US$48 billion across the Group of 20 (G20) countries at a lowest rate, and up to US$250 billion per year at a highest rate, which could be used to offset the costs of the economic, financial, fuel, climate and food crises. OHCHR cites the example of South Korea, which implemented such taxes in a non-discriminatory way to mobilize resources to achieve the right to development.
Virginia Dandan, UN Independent Expert on human rights and international solidarity, highlighted that the FTT is an opportunity for governments to move forward on their commitments to promote sustainable development, which will contribute to the realization of the right to development. [OHCHR Press Release] [UN Press Release]

New French government to take a pay cut (At UN Sha Zukang earns more than the Socialist French President )

France's new government, under Socialist President Francois Hollande, gets down to work on Thursday with the first order of business on their agenda being a pay cut for themselves.
Hollande unveiled a government of mainly moderate Socialists and longtime allies on Wednesday as his new prime minister vowed to work quickly to put the country back on its feet.

Campaign for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly

... According to the authors, US professors Richard Falk, University of California, and Andrew Strauss, Widener University, democratic decision-making needs to be "extended to the global system".
"To begin with, a UN Parliamentary Assembly will be a consultative body of UN General Assembly and will be the voice of the people globally," said Lok Sabha member Shashi Tharoor...

UN cap-and-trade system: Good for China and India, but who else?

The United Nations-administered cap and trade system to reduce planetary greenhouse gases through investment in “green” projects in developing countries has directed most of its billions of dollars in investments to China and India, two of the world’s most notorious polluters.
Indeed, China and India together have gotten more than 70 percent of the more than 4,100 projects so far registered for the system, while most developing nations, aside from a handful, have gotten hardly any at all, according to the system’s own accounts.

United Nations Rio+20 Summit: Concerns Raised Over Lack Of 'Transformational Change'

... The average cost of a room in Rio during the conference has risen to $818 per night, according to a report this week by Agencia Brasil, the state-run news agency. And some hotels are taking advantage of the shortage of accommodations by requiring guests to book for an entire week, even if they intend to stay for just three or four nights.
"The huge increase in the estimated cost of attending the summit is simply not justifiable at a time when many Europeans are faced with economic hardship," said Matthias Groote, a German legislator who chairs the European Parliament's environment committee...

U.N. Defends Afghan Police Fund as Donors Seek Probe

... On Sunday, Ashraf Ghani, Afghanistan's presidential adviser who oversees the transition of security to Afghan control, told reporters in Kabul that the U.N. needs to overhaul its auditing system. "Its auditing system is of a different century," he said.
Among the internal complaints raised within Lotfa were suspicions that the program may have overpaid for office supplies and equipment, or paid worker salaries for positions that went unfilled, according to the whistleblower documents reviewed by the Journal.
Satinder Bindra, the UNDP's director of communications, said in a statement Sunday that the agency "has a zero-tolerance policy towards any form of mismanagement or corruption for its entire country program in Afghanistan," and added that it was "committed to diligently following up on" the committee's recommendations...

Ban Ki-moon suffers fracture in football fall

United Nations secretary-general Ban Ki-moon has fractured his hand after falling while playing football against other diplomats.
UN spokesman Martin Nesirky said the 67-year-old was expected to have his arm in plaster for the next six weeks.
He said Mr Ban "has a minor fracture in his left hand from a tumble while playing in the UN diplomats spring soccer tournament over the weekend".
He added that the UN leader was "otherwise absolutely fine and in great spirits".
The UN leader apologised for his appearance when he met Panama's foreign minister Roberto Henriquez in his only public appointment on Monday.
He joked that the fracture would not stop him writing or shaking hands.
The globe-trotting UN leader regularly takes part in UN diplomatic sports events.
Mr Ban went to see an orthopaedic specialist on Saturday night after the fall in the tournament at the Bel Aire Farm estate in New York state.

UN Reveals New Way to Engage Int'l Community

The executive coordinator of the Rio+20 Summit Brice Lalonde announced Friday a plan to engage the international community with the new interactive web podcasts.
"This initiative could mark a step forward in modernizing these conferences," Lalonde told reporters. "The process is to have discussions on 10 themes which have been chosen by the Brazilian government."
...To join in the conversation, visit: