Tuesday, 31 July 2012

DESA by numbers:

  • On the research and analytical front, DESA’s top priority is to maximize the impact of its flagship publications and major intergovernmental reports on national and international policy-making. Every year, we prepare some 300 documents and 300 publications that analyze a wide range of development issues, which are distributed in print and electronic format around the world.
  • DESA has supported more than 35 major summits and conferences since 1990 on issues ranging from sustainable development and the advancement of women to the global economic crisis, financing for development and the ageing of the global population.
  • The Development Account, a fund established by the General Assembly and co-managed by DESA, has implemented more than 150 development projects around the world since 1997.
  • In the year 2000, United Nations Member states agreed to 8 Millennium Development Goals to be achieved by 2015, with the global progress monitored by DESA in its annual Millennium Development Goals Report, as well as the Report of the MDG Gap Task Force.

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Targeting efforts to meet MDG expectations Featured in this issue:
More news stories on topics including: Global dialogue on development; Trends and analysis; Capacity Development

New Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development takes office

Shamshad Akhtar

photo of desa's asg Shamshad Akhtar

Shamshad Akhtar was appointed by the Secretary-General as Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development at DESA and took office on 9 July 2012.
Ms. Akhtar has previously served as Governor of the Central Bank of Pakistan and recently also as Vice President of the Middle East and North Africa Region of the World Bank. In her capacity as Governor, Ms. Akhtar served as the Chairperson of the Central Bank Board and its affiliates and as Governor of the IMF. During her term, she was recognized for the conduct of the bank, which was restructured significantly, the introduction of an analytical framework for monetary policy, and the development of a ten-year-vision for the finance industry with a vibrant structure for the banking sector. For these accomplishments, she won two consecutive awards as Asia's Best Central Bank Governor from Emerging Markets and the Banker’s Trust. In 2008, The Asian Wall Street Journal also recognized her as one of the top ten professional women of Asia.
Ms. Akhtar has had a long standing career with the Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs). In her assignment for the World Bank she spearheaded the Bank’s response to the Arab Spring and the Arab regional integration strategy and its implementation. She has served the Asian Development Bank (ADB) for almost 15 years, rising from the ranks as Senior Economist, to attaining the highest professional positions including as Special Senior Advisor to the President of ADB and as the bank’s Director General of the East Asia region. During the Asian Financial crisis she also served as the ADB’s Coordinator to the APEC Finance Minister providing analytical support in a number of economic and social areas for crisis prevention and mitigation, while also leading the engagement with the Bank for International Settlement, and other standard setting bodies.
Ms. Akhtar has worked in several regions/countries dealing with fiscal and taxation policy, decentralization, poverty and inequality, financial and monetary policy, industrial and infrastructure policies and governance development. In the past few months she further served as a member of the Pakistan Economic Advisory Committee and of the Governing Council of Pakistan Statistics Bureau. In addition, Ms. Akhtar advised development agencies on the operationalization of Pakistan’s New Economic Growth Framework and worked on PPP policy frameworks and governance issues.
Ms. Akhtar has earned her post doctorate degree as a US Fullbright Fellow at the University of Harvard and prior, she obtained her PhD in Economics at the Scotland's Paisley College of Technology and a Master in Development Economics at the University of Sussex in the UK. She also has an MSc in Economics from Quaid-e-Azam University in Islamabad.

Friday, 27 July 2012

Thursday, 19 July 2012

UNESCO Funds King Saud University Desalination Chair in Riyadh

UNESCO funded a water desalination research chair that will be based at King Saud University in the desert kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization funding of the chair in Riyadh will help officials assess “long-term decisions involving capital necessary to avert any shortage of water supply and resources,” the university said in a statement.
Saudi Arabia, whose oilfields hold a fifth of the world’s reserves, aims to use solar energy to desalinate seawater and build nuclear reactors as it seeks to cut the amount of crude it burns in generators for power and to increase water supplies.
Saudi Arabia has almost 30 desalination plants in which salt and minerals are extracted from seawater and transported through 2,500 miles of pipelines, according to Ziad Aldress, Saudi’s ambassador to UNESCO, who said the new chair will help boost the desalination industry

Dictator funds 'shameful' Unesco prize; Lawyers believe sponsorship money was embezzled United Nations

The Times
18 July 2012
Adam Sage
Human rights groups expressed outrage yesterday as the United Nations awarded a scientific prize financed by an African ruler suspected of corruption on a massive scale.
Lawyers said that the prize money itself may have been embezzled by Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, 70, who has been president of Equatorial Guinea for the past 33 years.
The award to three academics for their contribution to life sciences was made by Unesco, the UN's educational, scientific and cultural organisation, despite the protests.
"It is shameful and utterly irresponsible for Unesco to award this prize," a statement signed by seven human rights groups, including Human Rights Watch, declared. In a sign of Unesco's embarrassment over the row, there was no mention of the winners' names on its website as the award ceremony got under way in Paris.
The controversy comes a week after French judges issued an international arrest warrant for Mr Obiang's son, Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, who, like his father, is under investigation for corruption in France.
Mr Obiang Jr, 43, is suspected of embezzling tens of millions of dollars to pay for purchases including 14 sports cars, an array of luxury watches and 14,000 DVDs. When French police raided the 101-room mansion used by him in Paris, they discovered furniture, works of art and wine worth more than €1 million. The Obiangs both deny any wrongdoing.
At a press conference, William Bourdon, a human rights lawyer who is the chairman of Sherpa, an anti-corruption campaign group, claimed that the prize was a ploy by Mr Obiang to gain international respectability.
The Equatorial Guinea president claims to have put up the money himself, but Mr Bourdon said that it had probably come from the public purse.
Mr Obiang proposed the prize in 2008 for work on diseases such as Aids, tuberculosis and malaria. He said that he would make $3 million available over five years, half for the winners, the rest to finance the administrative costs. Equatorial Guinea is an oil-rich former Spanish colony with a population below 700,000, but 76 per cent of its people live below the poverty line.
A Unesco spokeswoman said that the three winners were Dr Maged al-Sherbiny, chairman of the Egyptian Academy of Scientific Research, Dr Felix Dakora, professor of agro-chemical research at Tshwane University of Technology in South Africa, and Dr Rossana Arroyo, professor of research and advanced studies at Mexico's National Polytechnic Institute.
They received $300,000 to share between them, along with a diploma and a statuette by the Equatorial Guinean artist Leandro Mbomio Nsue, a former government minister.

Saturday, 14 July 2012

CNSNews.com: U.N. Salary-Setters Meet in New York, Amid U.S. Complaints of Excessive Pay

Click here to read full article on CNSNews.com 

(CNSNews.com) – A year after the body that sets United Nations pay scales came under fire for approving an effective three percent salary increase to thousands of U.N. staffers, it is meeting again in New York for a session that may reveal how successful the Obama administration has been in urging belt-tightening at the world body.

The International Civil Service Commission (ICSC), a body of 15 independent experts appointed by the U.N. General Assembly for four-year terms, is holding a low-profile, twice-yearly meeting from July 9-20.

In posts on his Twitter account, Joseph Torsella, U.S. deputy ambassador for U.N. management and reform, called the ICSC “the most important U.N. body you’ve never heard of.” He noted that it sets salaries and benefits for all U.N. staff and pointed out that personnel costs account for 75 percent of the budgets of most U.N. agencies.

Last summer, the ICSC awarded a cost of living or “post adjustment” increase, which the U.S. said amounted to a three percent salary raise for some 4,800 staffers based in New York.

The hike came just four months after U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced he had given instructions for the U.N.’s 2012-13 operating budget to be reduced by three percent, noting that “even the wealthiest nations are tightening their belts and cutting budgets.”

Responding to the decision, Torsella wrote to ICSC chairman Kingston Rhodes, objecting “strongly” to the increase and urging the commission to reverse it.

“Such a raise is inappropriate at this time of global fiscal austerity, when Member State governments everywhere are implementing drastic austerity measures such as layoffs, service reductions, revenue increases, and reductions in pay and benefits for civil servants,” he wrote.

“While we have the highest regard for the many dedicated professionals in the U.N. system, in these difficult times we must – at a minimum – forgo salary increases. Failure to do so could well lead to more draconian approaches to budget-balancing in the future.”

Torsella pointed out that the U.S. federal civil service is currently subject to a pay freeze.
U.S. taxpayers account for 22 percent of the U.N.’s operating budget and 27 percent of the peacekeeping budget, along with billions of additional dollars in “voluntary” contributions to various U.N. agencies. The total U.S. contribution in fiscal year 2010 was $7.69 billion.

Republican lawmakers are pushing legislation that would change the way the U.N. is funded, allowing the U.S. and other member states to fund only those activities and agencies they deem to be well-run and in the national interest.

The Obama administration, which strongly opposes the GOP measure, has made engagement at the U.N. a top foreign policy priority. Officials regularly give speeches and issue statements touting how its approach has led to improvements and reforms.

In a fact sheet last January, the U.S. mission to the U.N. said the administration has “[i]ntroducing the concept of administrative pay freezes in the U.N. system by tasking the International Civil Service Commission with finding ways to reflect the freezes on pay for U.S. federal employees, including the statutory pay freeze in effect through next year, within the U.N. salary system for professional staff system-wide.”

In a speech at the Council on Foreign Relations, also in January, Torsella said too little effort had been made at the U.N. to manage personnel costs.

“The results have been predictable: in the past decade, for example, the number of regular budget positions has increased modestly while the average total compensation per employee has increased dramatically.”

While U.N. staffers deserved to be properly compensated, he said, “with average U.N. professional pay now at nearly 130 percent of average U.S. federal civil-service pay in Washington – the system is becoming seriously distorted.”

“So we’re calling for a comprehensive study comparing U.N. salaries and benefits to U.S. civil-service scales. We’re pressing for a pay freeze for U.N. employees to fix the anachronisms in the International Civil Service System [sic].”

According to an ICSC publication, it was set up in 1974 to regulate the conditions of service of more than 80,000 U.N. staff members at over 650 locations.

It sets salaries “by comparing the net salaries of United Nations staff with the after-tax salaries of comparable staff employed by selected employers in the locality.”

The ICSC also takes into account the views of member states, organizations and staff.

“The Commission is composed of 15 members appointed by the General Assembly in their personal capacity,” it says. “Members are selected from among individuals with substantial experience of executive responsibility in public administration or related functions, due regard being paid to considerations of geographical distribution.”

The current chairman, Rhodes, is from Sierra Leone, and the other 14 members come from the United States, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Russia, Japan, China, Bangladesh, Mexico, Jamaica, Ghana, Algeria and Morocco.

Click here to read full article on CNSNews.com

Hindustan times: UN’s comedy of errors

Click here to read full story on Hindustan times

The UN has more important issues to tackle. For instance, its High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, is fuming at human rights violations in the Canadian province of Quebec, where the government imposed a mild order to prevent disruptive assembly by student protestors. Pillay was possibly perturbed that Quebec wasn’t dealing with protestors in the manner sanctioned by Syria, or Iran.

It’s somewhat surprising that the UN’s human rights apparatus is actually going beyond its focus on castigating Israel, to countries like Canada, the US, or even India.

Though it doesn’t quite extend to matters like gay rights, as that offends many member nations of the HRC. When the Council’s president attempted to introduce that matter, a swift rebuke came from Zamir Akram, Pakistan’s Permanent Representative in Geneva: “We are even more disturbed at the attempt to focus on certain persons on the grounds of their abnormal sexual behaviour.”

Meanwhile, the world busybody is causing other problems for countries that actually recognise the normal meaning of human rights. Another human rights champion, Cuba, sponsored a resolution to “right to peace”, which winks at terrorists’ activities against “foreign occupation”. India abstained at the vote, possibly because of the implications for Kashmir. Co-sponsors of that declaration included well-known human rights stalwarts like China, Iran, North Korea, Venezuela, Sudan and Syria.
Of course, as far as these UN luminaries can see, there are no terrorists. In fact, despite decades of effort, they still can’t define a terrorist. It’s probably a task that’s deemed more difficult than the positive identification of the Higgs boson particle.

Click here to read full story on Hindustan times

Fox News: Time to get out of the United Nations?


Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/on-air/war-stories/2012/07/13/time-get-out-united-nations#ixzz20bCMC0rE

Written by Oliver North
Georgetown, S.C. -- Here in the Carolina Lowcountry, there are few things lower in the esteem of American citizens than the United Nations. While filling the tank of my SUV this morning, I noted the following about the pickup truck at the pump ahead of me: a South Carolina license plate; a USMC decal; an NRA decal; a gun rack in the rear window; a sticker reading "Armed Infidel" and another that said "Get US Out of the UN" on it. The owner, it turned out, was a medical doctor on his way to visit a patient. Apparently, down here, doctors still make house calls. Our brief conversation went something like this:

Doctor: "You're Colonel North, aren't you?

Me: "I better be. I'm using his credit card."

Doctor: "That's a pretty Boykin spaniel you have there. Do you hunt her?"

Me: "Every chance I get."

Doctor: "You're on the NRA board, aren't you?"

Me: "Yes. I see you're a member. Were you in the Marines?"

Doctor: "No, my son is. He just got back from Afghanistan. I'm really proud of him, but I want him to get out and finish college before Obama sells us out to the U.N. They're out to take away our Second Amendment rights. This isn't about 'gun rights.' Guns don't have rights. We do. 'We the People' have rights – and one of 'em is the right to keep and bear arms. That's why I belong to the NRA and why we ought to get out of the U.N."

We parted so he could get to his patient. In the car, I turned on the radio to hear the mellifluous voice of former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan – now the U.N.'s "special emissary" – announcing in Geneva yet another "peace plan" for Syria. He claims to have had "productive discussions" in Damascus with Syrian dictator Bashar Assad on a "transition plan" and says that the U.N. Security Council must now "send a message to all that there will be consequences for noncompliance."

Annan's announcement prompted a scurry of diplomats and "experts" rushing to microphones in New York, Washington, London, Paris and Moscow – all expounding on this "new initiative." Meanwhile, the killing in Syria continues. Opposition groups and human rights organizations now estimate that more than 17,000 have been killed in the 15-month uprising against the Assad regime.

The continuing catastrophe for the people of Syria isn't likely to end any time soon. At the instigation of Annan's "working group," two separate Syrian opposition delegations went to Moscow this week, seeking concessions from the Kremlin on Russia's backing for Assad. After meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, they left empty-handed.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is committed to retaining Russia's naval base at Tartus, Syria. Moscow's toehold in the Mediterranean Sea depends on Assad's remaining in power. That's why Russia will continue to use its veto power as a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council to block any serious sanctions against the Assad regime.

The Syrian civil war is increasingly deadly – and a vivid reminder of what happens when the fate of a nation is placed in the hands of dithering diplomats at the United Nations. Everyone ought to know by now that U.N. bluster about serious "consequences for noncompliance" and utopian talk about a "transitional government in Damascus" are futile. And that's in keeping with the U.N. track record on everything from stopping Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons and the means of delivering them to the disaster in Somalia.

These failures go beyond the intransigence of Beijing and Moscow. They also point to the naïveté, incompetence and corruption in the "world body," as the U.N. bills itself.

It was Kofi Annan who promised to "clean up" the U.N. after FOX News exposed rampant fraud and bribery in the so-called oil-for-food program, which helped prop up Saddam Hussein's brutal regime in Baghdad. Apparently, he missed some. Two months ago, FOX News reported that the United Nations World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) shipped sophisticated computer technology to North Korea in violation of U.N.-imposed sanctions. Now it's apparent that more high-tech computers were shipped by WIPO to Iran. Adding insult to injury, the banned shipments were financed by the United Nations Development Programme – which gets most of its support from U.S. taxpayers.

Last year, the U.S. forked over more than $8 billion to the U.N. – about 25 percent of the organization's budget. Apparently, that's not enough. This week, the U.N. told its 193 member countries that "donor nations" will have to increase their "contributions," and it has suggested "voluntary taxes" on carbon emissions, billionaires and currency transactions.

No wonder the doctor who admired my dog wants us to get out of the U.N. Maybe we should start by moving the U.N. out of the U.S. How about Mogadishu?

Oliver North is a nationally syndicated columnist, the host of War Stories on the Fox News Channel, the author of the American Heroes book series and the co-founder of Freedom Alliance, an organization that provides college scholarships to the children of U.S. military personnel killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

How professional and ethical are the Human Resources of UN-DESA?

This month is the 10th anniversary of John Mary Kauzya' appointment as Chief of Governance and Public Administration Branch of DPADM.

Let's compare the career and rise of Haiyan Qian (Chinese) and John Mary Kauzya (African) in the last 10 years:


John Mary Kauzya      => appointed D1
Haiyan Qian               => was a P3


John Mary Kauzya      => is D1
Haiyan Qian               => appointed P4

2004 (end)

John Mary Kauzya      => is D1
Haiyan Qian               => appointed P5


John Mary Kauzya      => is D1
Haiyan Qian               => is P5


John Mary Kauzya      => is D1
Haiyan Qian               => appointed D1


John Mary Kauzya      => is D1
Haiyan Qian               => appointed D2 (replaces Guido Bertucci)


John Mary Kauzya      => still D1
Haiyan Qian               => still D2

So to recapitulate the above, in 10 years:

John Mary Kauzya      => stays without any further promotion at D1

Haiyan Qian               => moves 4 level ( and countless steps) to D2

Click on the above names to see their CVs and judge for yourself.

We're sure that at the end you'll blame your parents for not being a ...Chinese !

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Your UN: Tax Proliferators for the Planet

...No such luck. I went looking for the original UN report, and here it is, from the UN Secretariat’s Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the World Economic and Social Survey 2012, titled “In Search of New Development Finance.”  Just scroll down to Section 1, pages 4-5 for the handy chart, listing proposals for everything from a global tax on billionaires (which the UN estimates might generate $40-$50 billion), to taxes on carbon, financial transactions, currency exchange, etc...

Ban Ki-moon says: "30 percent of aid lost to corruption" (How much of it is from UN's corruption?)

How many times have we heard of corruption undermining development?
At the 2012 Economic and Social Council high-level panel on accountability and transparency, which concluded Monday (July 9), U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon again reiterated the importance of combating corruption. Peace, development nor human rights “can flourish in an atmosphere of corruption,” he said.

CAN Indigenous Peoples Council Demands International Climate and Environment Court

22 June 2012: In a formal declaration sent to the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the Consultative Council of Indigenous Peoples of the Andean Community (CCPICAN) demanded the creation of an International Court of Climate and Environmental Justice.
The Council, which represents indigenous peoples of Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru, sent two "special declarations" adopted on 10 June 2012, to Rio+20. One on some of the themes of the Conference, the other focused on climate change.
The Special Declaration to Rio+20 calls for the new Court to be empowered to "prevent, adjudge and sanction" States, enterprises and persons for acts or omissions that provoke climate change "or strong and irreparable damage to nature." The Declaration also calls for, inter alia: the rejection of green economy, geoengineering, transgenic organisms and nanotechnology; the creation of a world tax on international financial transactions, with the revenue earmarked to combating climate change and restoring and preserving Mother Earth; and the approval of a Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth.
The Special Declaration on Climate Change rejects the Cancun Agreements and "the false solutions of carbon markets," condemns and rejects REDD, REDD+ and REDD++, and demands that developed countries reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 50% by 2017 and 100% by 2040. The Declaration reiterates the call for a global tax on international financial transactions, and commits themselves to push for a Latin American Referendum on climate change that would require LAC governments to take their demands to "global leadership." [CAN Press Release (in Spanish)] [Declaración Especial a la Conferencia Mundial sobre Desarrollo Sostenible (Rio+20) & Declaracion Especial sobre Cambio Climatico]

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

"Agenda 21" The UN-DESA's diabolical plan for the world is explained on the "...

Communist UN Rio+20 Summit Boss Announces Global Deals, Press Applauds

RIO DE JANEIRO - Communist Chinese diplomat Sha Zukang, in his capacity as Secretary General of the United Nations Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development, announced hundreds of “commitments” by governments and businesses on so-called “sustainability” worth more than half a trillion dollars. And incredibly, much of the audience — supposedly unbiased members of the media — applauded in delight.

What if Russia and China don’t become more liberal?

By Chrystia Freeland
Liberal democracy faces a new and decisive challenge – figuring out how to deal with the “post-Communist oligarchies” of Russia and China. These regimes – authoritarian, capitalist and eagerly integrated into the global economy – are without precedent. Figuring out how to deal with them is the greatest strategic and moral question the West faces today. How we answer it will determine the shape of the 21st century, much as the struggle with communism and fascism shaped the 20th.
This is the assertion Michael Ignatieff, a Canadian intellectual and a former leader of the Liberal Party, made in a powerful lecture in the Latvian capital, Riga, at the beginning of this month. Ignatieff’s thesis came to mind during the annual St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, held last week as the gracious former imperial capital for which the forum is named glowed in the pure white light of the summer solstice.

A bad UN idea on arms deals

The United States is set to foolishly join in a full-court press at the United Nations this week for a new treaty on the global conventional-arms trade.
The drive is to hash out a text by month’s end, but readouts of a UN “draft paper” on the accord’s goals suggest the Arms Trade Treaty is something to avoid like the plague.

Corruption, Dysfunction & Whistleblower Retaliation at the World Bank

World Bank headquarters in Washington, DCForbes: World Bank Spinning Out of Control – Corruption, Dysfunction Await New Head
Summary: With a new World Bank president taking office this coming Saturday, this Forbes cover story looks at how corruption and mismanagement permeates the ranks and programs of the institution. The Bank, as the long-form article details, is plagued by mission-creep from major donor countries, widespread opaqueness in procedures, continual decision-making marked by conflicts of interest, and questionable financial practices. According to a former director interviewed by Forbes, “the inmates are running the asylum.”