Thursday, January 11, 2007

Who needs qualifications for running the UN?

Perhaps a bit frightening, or for the more cynical, more of the same after Kofi Annan's leadership. Secretary General has chosen his deputy Asha-Rose Migiro to be his deputy. Her qualifications? Claudia Rosett was one of the few reporters who asked critical questions during the scandals over the UN managed Oil for Food program in Iraq. According the Rosett:

Pressed at the UN noon briefing for details on Migiro’s qualifications to manage the secretariat of the UN’s sprawling $20-billion-per-year system —with its rich history of waste, fraud and abuse — the spokeswoman cited Migiro’s recent experience chairing a regional conference for the Great Lakes region of Africa.
It strikes me as rather unserious that this is one of the best qualifications UN PR staffers were able to come up with. Rosett however follows the money and wonders if it has anything to do with payback:
Last year, when Ban, a South Korean, was campaigning for the job of UN Secretary-General, Seoul became unusually generous in its largesse to a number of countries, including Tanzania — which happened at the time to hold one of the ten rotating seats on the UN Security Council [...] the Times of London reported that South Korea last year pledged $18 million in aid to Tanzania, or about four times what it had given in the space of a dozen years from 1991 to 2003.
Perhaps more troubling is that according to the Iranian Migiro supports "Iran's right to access peaceful nuclear energy." Rosett goes on to note the last few sentences of the Iranian article:
The Tanzanian energy minister, for his part, expressed satisfaction with the current level of relations with Iran and voiced his country's readiness to negotiate with Iranian companies active in construction of power plants.

Referring to the activities of Iran's Construction Jihad Bureau in Tanzania in the past, he welcomed reopening of the office in the country.
If supporters of the United Nations truly believe in its mandate, shouldn't they expect better?

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