Wednesday, April 26, 2017

ICP Asked UNSG Guterres Of Grab of RCs, Now UN As G77 Skeptics Say Steiner Deal, June

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive Series
UNITED NATIONS, April 25 – The UN Secretariat of Antonio Guterres and his Deputy Amina J. Mohammed are headed to the UN Chief Executives Board meeting in Montreux, while moving to take over the UN Development Program's "Resident Coordinator" system and the funding that goes with it. While their holdover spokesman Stephane Dujarric has twice refused Inner City Press' request for a mere summary of the proposal, sources in the Group of 77's meeting with Amina Mohammed told Inner City Press on April 24, even as it was ghoulishly confined to UN minders, that there is no written proposal until June and that it will be opposed. "Boutros [Boutros Ghali] tried this move and got rejected, didn't you know?" one attendee asked Inner City Press. Another surmised that Achim Steiner was made to give his sign off on this ceding of UNDP power in order to get the Administrator post. "But that's not the end of it," the source continued. "The Group won't go with it." So on April 25 Inner City Press asked Guterres' holdover spokesman Stephane Dujarric, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: on this Resident Coordinator issue, I'd asked you before for a readout of what Amina Mohammed had said to G-77 [Group of 77].  I haven't gotten it yet, but I have spoken to someone at G-77 who said there was no… there's no written proposal yet by the Secretariat, that it's waiting until June.  And some of them expressed concerns about it, saying this would involve the… a politicization of functions if it came…

Spokesman:  I think there's a discussion going on.  The Secretary-General has made no secret of his wish to reform the development system.  Obviously, the Resident Coordinator post is part of that system.  There will be some… I think, some clarity and somewhat unveiled in June, with more concrete proposals later in the year.  What I do know is that our colleagues in the Executive Office of the Secretary-General are… always have their door open for any representatives from the G-77 plus China or any other group who have concerns.
Inner City Press:  And just, finally, several of them said that they believe that the… the… the person named to head UNDP, Achim Steiner, was basically, one, either a condition or part of the selection process was to agree to the loss… basically, it's a loss of powers for UNDP.  Is that his position?

Spokesman:  No, first of all, I'm not aware of any conditions being put forward, and I think everyone is speculating or projecting on what the outcome of this process will be.

Inner City Press:  More transparency would benefit the process.
   But there has been no transparency to the publi or Press, from the 38th floor. Inner City Press asked about it again on April 13, and here on April 19, from the UN transcript: Inner City Press: the Deputy Secretary-General and the chief of Chef de Cabinet presented to the G77 (Group of 77) yesterday on the two reforms I’ve been asking you about, one having to do with resident coordinators, the other one, I believe, having to do with the gender policy.  I’m wondering, now that there obviously is a text that’s being presented in that way, can you give some summary of what the Secretary-General’s policy is?

Spokesman:  I’ll see what I can do.
  Hours later, no answer, Spokesperson's Office locked, DSG left at 7:47 pm after no answer on Cameroon Internet cut, or censorship. But Guterres' spokespeople refuse to confirm, deny or explain it, in continued lack of transparency. Whereas for now, until April 19, outgoing UNDP Administrator Helen Clark chairs the UN Development Group, Amina Mohammed would take it over before the new Administrator Achim Steiner is installed. On April 13, Inner City Press asked Guterres' holdover spokesman Stephane Dujarric, video here, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: on the Resident Coordinator proposal, the proposal, as I understand it, for the Resident Coordinator system to be moved from UNDP [United Nations Development Programme] to the Secretariat, I wanted to know, Farhan, I think, in one of your absences said, when it's decided and approved, we'll justify it.  It seems like, if it's… there are many even Member States concerned about it, but also, there's people impacted by UNDP that would like to know, what's the rationale for the proposal?  And has Achim Steiner, the nominee for UNDP, signed off on this loss of power by UNDP?

Spokesman:  First of all, again, I think I will refer you to the last analogy I gave you.  There is, as the Secretary-General said he would do, a review of the UN Development System that is ongoing and that is being consulted, being led by the Deputy Secretary-General.  Once we have something to announce, we will.  But, obviously, everyone who's needed to be consulted is being consulted.

As for who the next head of UNDP will be, that is something that will be announced in due course when all the "Ts" have been crossed and all the "Is" have been dotted.

Inner City Press: If the commitment to gender is, as you said in answer to the question about the stated policy, how would that be consistent with the head of peacekeeping being a male and the head of UNDP being a male?  How would that be consistent?

Spokesman:  I think one has to look holistically at the system. 
Back on March 24, Inner City Press again asked Guterres' holdover deputy spokesman Farhan Haq, UN transcript here: 
Inner City Press: two things about UNDP [United Nations Development Programme].  One is Ségolène Royal, the French Minister of Environment, has now said publicly that she is a candidate to head UNDP.  So I wanted to know, is there going to be any kind of, like, short list announced?  I know, under some previous Administrations, there were for such top jobs.  Do you anticipate announcing… given that one candidate has said publicly… there are other names I would like you to confirm.  Mr. [Bert] Koenders is running, Mr. [David] Miliband, Ms. [Sigrid] Kaag.  Do you anticipate there being a public process so that people know who the candidates are?

Deputy Spokesman:  I don't anticipate us providing a short list.  That process was discontinued almost a decade ago.
Inner City Press: Okay.  Then my other question is this.  In terms of candidates knowing what the job entails, because it remains open until 27 March to apply for it, I'd like… I tried to ask you yesterday about the Secretariat trying to get funding for the Resident Coordinator system, but I want to ask you more directly.  Is it the intention of the Secretary-General and his Deputy Secretary-General to have Amina Mohammed become the chair of the UN Development Group, a position previously belonging to the administrator of UNDP, and essentially bring the Resident Coordinator system under the Secretariat?  And, in part, I think you should disclose it, but certainly, if people are applying, does the UNDP job they're applying for include heading the Resident Coordinator system?

Deputy Spokesman:  Any reforms to the way the UN Development Group is organized is something we'll announce if that change is made.  Right now, there hasn't been, and there's nothing to announce about the Resident Coordinator system.

Inner City Press: But when a reform is being proposed, usually, like, most… in most systems, the proponent of the reform discusses it publicly, argues for it.  Are you saying it's a totally secret process of reform?

Deputy Spokesman:  No, no, but if there's any need… there's some things that go to lower levels of discussion that never get to become policy discussions.  If there's any real major change of policy that we're planning, of course, we'll announce that.  But we don't have… we're not at that stage. 

   Inner City Press on March 23 asked or tried to ask Guterres himself, as he left the UN Security Council along with Katrin Hett: "Is the Secretariat tryig to take over the Resident Coordinator system?" Guterres as is his way for now did not answer. Vine video here and here. Ongoing YouTube here. Guterres heads out on a trip from March 24 to April 3. We'll have more on this.