‘Cowboys’ May Be Running the World Food Program, but Donations Keep Coming

The World Food Program may be receiving millions of more donations from the Trump administration than under past presidencies, but its management is skidding around amid complaints of sexual harassment, retaliation, abuse of authority and, most startling, rape, according to a new external survey. Under the leadership of David Beasley, a former South Carolina governor, … Read more

The UN Palestinian Refugee Agency Is in Hot Water, Again

Pierre Krahenbuhl

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency, which has been undermined by a sharp cut in United States contributions, has been embroiled in a scandal that threatens to jeopardize its very future. A report from the agency’s Ethics Office has found “credible and corroborated” evidence that the senior management of Unrwa engaged in “sexual misconduct, … Read more

China, Gaining Power in the UN, Could Win FAO Leadership

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization has existed at the periphery of UN agencies and been a focus of critics almost since its founding in 1945, as the vehicle for ending hunger and achieving food security. Based in Rome, the FAO has 194 member nations and many projects designed to raise the standards of … Read more

Pressures Mount for Deeper Investigations Into the UN Trade Group

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, riven internally by disputes over its mission and future direction, may be in trouble. Faced with questions about its basic competence from board members and outside investigators, accusations have been gathering about unsatisfactory statistical work and laxity in meeting UN standards and regulations for spending reports by … Read more

With Scandals Rife Across the UN, Are Managers at Fault?

A sea of new or lingering allegations of harassment and corruption in numerous agencies and programs in the United Nations system appears to be washing over a sprawling organization battered by scandal. Poor or careless management and oversight, from top to bottom, is partly to blame, but so is persistent, overt politicization of high-level appointments … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

The Strange Bedfellows of Unesco World Heritage Sites

In the fall — before the caravan, before the firings, before the shutdown, before the wall — Melania Trump concluded her first solo goodwill tour with a photogenic visit to the Great Pyramid and Sphinx of Egypt, the only surviving complex of the seven wonders of the ancient world. “It was a nice opportunity to … Read more

Is This a Case of Nepotism at the UN’s World Food Program?

A son of David Beasley, the World Food Program executive director, worked briefly this year for the UN agency, but it is not clear what his status was, given original discrepancies. Beasley is a former governor of South Carolina, and the agency’s largest donor is the United States. Among dozens of names, Beasley is rumored … Read more

BOOKS

The UN Is Complicated, So Here is a Dictionary to Help Figure It Out

To provide readers who want information about the United Nations that is intelligent and concise yet comprehensive is a challenging task for every author: he or she must outline a puzzling system of principal organs, specialized agencies, programs, funds, commissions and committees that produces large piles of resolutions, declarations and conventions on topics such as … Read more

UN Agencies Moving Into Blockchain to Help People in Crisis Settings

  Blockchain technology emerged alongside Bitcoin, the cryptocurrency powering digital payments through a peer-to-peer system, currency trading and even, in some cases, black-market transactions. Now, some United Nations agencies are using blockchain to provide basic identification to refugees and others in developing countries as well as for specific actions like helping refugees obtain food rations … Read more

NIKKI HALEY WATCH

The UN World Food Program Boss, Mixing Work With Religion?

David Beasley, the head of the World Food Program, visiting Sanaa, Yemen

David Beasley, the executive director of the World Food Program, based in Rome, posted a prayer at the top of his Twitter page in early January, reading: “My prayer for 2018: Peace. Our path to Zero Hunger begins with peace.” The page, @dbeasley1, is a hybrid of personal tweets and professional news about his work … Read more

Financing the UN: Payers, Pipers and Tunes

GENEVA — Change is in the air again on First Avenue. Among numerous reform options being bandied about, none will be more consequential than those on financing the United Nations system. There are the sledgehammer arguments: drastic slashes in funding by Washington and other donors could precipitate dramatic change. As we have argued in these … Read more

Slow but Steady Gains Achieved in Tobacco Control, Says New WHO Report

More than half the world’s population — 63 percent — is covered by one or more comprehensive tobacco control measures. In the past 10 years alone, that number has more than doubled, says a new report from the World Health Organization on the “global tobacco epidemic.” An international push for policies, like strong graphic warnings, … Read more

NIKKI HALEY WATCH

‘I Don’t Go Rogue on the President’: Nikki Haley’s Contradictory Testimony to Congress About the UN

Photo: Nikki Haley and the Egyptian ambassador to the UN, Amr Aboulatta

Five months into her stint as United States ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley faced two days of often-sharp questioning on June 27 and 28 by influential panels of the United States Congress. They demanded justification for the Trump administration’s decision to slash funding to the United Nations, particularly cuts to the UN Population … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

Germany Gets What’s Fair: Some Top UN Jobs

BERLIN — It is a widely held view in political circles here that Germany has not been adequately represented in the United Nations, apart from its relatively frequent elected membership to the Security Council, which Germany has held five times and which last year announced its candidacy for a sixth term for 2019-2020. To be more … Read more

GOINGS-ON

Babatunde Osotimehin, UNFPA Head Since 2011, Dies Suddenly at 68

The death on June 4 of Babatunde Osotimehin, executive director of the United Nations Population Fund, UNFPA, and a Nigerian, was not only a personal tragedy and a shock to the staff of the fund but also another blow for an agency that had recently lost all its United States financial support. Osotimehin, a physician, … Read more

Why Would Anyone Want This Job? The WHO Prepares to Elect a New Chief

GENEVA — In late May by secret paper ballot, all 194 member states of the World Health Assembly that have paid their dues will cast their votes for one of three final candidates in the first-ever election of the planet’s top doctor: the director-general of the World Health Organization. The candidates are Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, … Read more

TAKE A LOOK

Trump Proposes Slashing Funds to the UN and Gutting Climate Aid

In his first national budget plan, released by the White House today, President Donald Trump proposed an aggressively pro-military and security-obsessed agenda that could severely cut funds to the State Department and the United Nations. Numerous other international programs run by various government agencies, which benefit many people around the world, are also being targeted. … Read more

TOPIC: WOMEN

US Immigration Ban Stirs Controversy at the Annual UN Women’s Forum

Despite fears that efforts by President Trump to bar visitors to the United States from a number of Muslim majority would limit attendance at this year’s annual United Nations conference on women in New York, UN officials have kept saying there will be record participation. On the first day, however, people were more worried about … Read more

TOPIC: WOMEN

Citing Trump Immigration Ban, a Major Group Drops Out of UN’s Annual Women’s Conference

The annual meeting of the United Nations’ Commission on the Status of Women, held in New York every March, may be in trouble because of uncertainty and fear about the Trump administration’s attempt to ban immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries. One major group has announced it is pulling out, and calls are being heard to … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

It’s Time to Rally Grass Roots to Fund the UN Population Fund Again

Imagine yourself a pregnant woman in Syria making her way on foot to a refugee camp when suddenly you go into labor. The United Nations Population Fund is there to save you and your baby’s life. That is what UNFPA does. I have seen their work on site in Mali and in Senegal. President Trump … Read more

 

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