Remember when everyone was saying for awhile that Mexico was a failed state?
Also, the Democratic Republic of the Congo?
And countless other places?
Well if part of the criteria of a failed body is corruption, mismanagement of finances and inept localized leadership, shouldn’t we also look at the UN?
Two examples courtesy of a fantastic French journalist in Kenya:
1) In Kenya, when the UNEP (United Nations Environmental Programme) established a program focused on growing billions of trees in the country, it solicited funding from various country donors. The UNEP decided it wanted to create a website for the tree initiative. So it set up a budget of $400,000 to hire two full-time Western staffers to, you know, create a website. But seeing as how both of the staffers had no idea how to create a website, they had to contract out the website’s development to a designer (a friend of a UN official in Paris) who lives in Norway (the most expensive country in the world) to do it for over $100,000, of course.
2) In Burundi, for its recent elections in May, the UN decided that it would give a prime contract to an Indian-Ugandan company, Picfare, that had already been found guilty of corruption. Burundi’s parliament had cited the company’s role in the illegal 2006 sale of the presidential plane. Nevertheless, the UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) decided to put it in charge of the vital task of producing and distributing voter cards. The result? A shortage of voter cards and ballot papers that delayed the election amid cries of fraud.
So, donors, that failed organization thing …
Photo by Richard Mosse