Friday, January 27, 2017

Who Will US Send to Head UNICEF & WFP, While UN Stonewalls Press on UNDP Process?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, January 27 – With the UN system facing 40% budget cuts from the US, on January 25 UN Development Program chief Helen Clark confirmed she will leave on April 19. On January 26, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric refused to disclose when Inner City Press asked the process to pick a replacement.

  The unwritten process for UNICEF, the UN children's agency, and the World Food Program is better known. The current Democrat Party appointees, Anthony Lake and Ertharin Cousin respectively, are expected to resign and Secretary General Antonio Guterres will ask the US, presumably through Nikki Haley, for three American names. 
Will it go that way this time? Will Trump accept the decision being made between three names? If France was able to impose the incompetent Herve Ladsous on the UN, and Spain the censor Cristina Gallach, will even the three-name game now stand?
 Beginning on the day Nikki Haley arrives at the UN, this will be an Inner City Press series.
  Even further back than the US has controlled the UN Department of Political Affairs (through Lynn Pascoe and Jeffrey Feltman, to whom we have questions pending), it has held WFP: Catherine Bertini, James Morris, Josette Sheeran, Etharin Cousin.
And UNICEF, under both political parties (see, Veneman): Bellamy, Veneman, Anthony Lake.
  As to UNDP, while Inner City Press first reported the interest of France's Segolene Royal in replacing Clark, and the UK's David Miliband has also been mentioned (but see below).
 On January 26, Inner City Press asked UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric what the process will be, and about (UN) transparency. Video here
By Matthew Russell Lee
UNITED NATIONS, January 7 – As in The Gambia Yahya Jammeh moved on December 1 to shut off the Internet (and Viber, etc) for the / his election, there was again a deafening silence from the UN and its “communications” chief Cristina Gallach. 
 On January 5, Inner City Press asked holdover UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric, video here,UN transcript here: 
Inner City Press: about Gambia.  The electoral commission chief has gone into hiding, and the Government has closed three radio stations, one of which reopened with no news on it.  So what's the status of the UN's work on this holdover presidency?

Spokesman:  We've had… various UN officials have had contacts with parties involved, and obviously we would like to see and are very keen to see a peaceful resolution to the current crisis in the Gambia and, notably, the… for the President… the outgoing President to leave way for the President that was just elected.
 As of January 7, new Secretary General Antonio Guterres had yet to speak publicly about Jammeh and Gambia. Meanwhile the US issued a travel warning:
  "The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens against travel to The Gambia because of the potential for civil unrest and violence in the near future.  On January 7, 2017, the Department of State ordered the departure of family members and authorized the departure of all employees who need to accompany those individuals from the country.

The security situation in The Gambia remains uncertain following December 1, 2016 presidential elections.  On January 10, the Supreme Court is scheduled to hear the current president’s petition contesting the election results, which is a potential flashpoint that could lead to civil unrest.  The sitting government has begun taking restrictive measures, which include shutting down and restricting radio stations, and making politically motivated arrests.  The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has stated it may intervene if the president does not step down by January 18.

U.S. citizens should consider departing on commercial flights and other transportation options now, as airports and ferry terminals may close unexpectedly in the event of unrest.  All U.S. citizens should have evacuation plans that do not rely on U.S. government assistance.  U.S. citizens should ensure that travel documents (passports and visas) are valid and up-to-date.  Consular services, already limited throughout the country due to very poor transportation infrastructure and security conditions, may be further limited, including in Banjul itself.

U.S. citizens who decide to remain in The Gambia should prepare for the possible deterioration of security."

  We'll have more on this.