By George Russell
Frustrated by the epic inefficiency, sprawling disorganization and free-spending of their money by the United Nations, a group of Western donor nations, including the U.S., has been meeting quietly to develop a strategy to rein in the world organization’s more than $20 billion a year in anti-poverty assistance – which even parts of the U.N. concede hasn’t done much to relieve poverty.
The donor group’s aim is to produce some kind of workable reform agenda for the bloated system that will actually achieve greater efficiency, less duplication and fragmentation of efforts, less corruption and a greater ability to see where their money actually goes.
So far, the would-be reformers are mostly trying to figure out how cost-efficient U.N. programs are, and what management tools the widely differing U.N. organizations can be pressed into adopting.
The U.N. organizations themselves — including such high-profile entities as the United Nations Development Program, UNICEF, the World Food Program, the World Health Organization and more than 30 others —are not invited to the meetings.
According to a document summarizing one of the closed-door sessions obtained by Fox News, the group of 17 reformer nations is aware that they have a long march ahead to reshape the chaotic U.N. system, make it more rational, or even more financially comprehensible.
The document summarizes the most recent meeting of the reformers in the Swedish capital of Stockholm last November, and also looks forward to their next strategy session, known as the Senior Level Donor Meeting on Multilateral Reform, in Berlin next April.
When queried by Fox News for information about the meeting, a spokesman for Germany‘s federal Ministry for Economic Development Cooperation merely acknowledged that the session was taking place.
According to the Stockholm document, the donor nations, which include most major Western European nations, as well as Canada, Australia and the U.S.—but not Japan—are not trying to cut costs, but rather are about “achieving more with available resources.”
In response to questions from Fox News, a spokesperson for Britain’s Department for International Development (DFID), one of the major forces behind the reform exercise, says that “U.N. agencies know that cost effectiveness is an important priority for the U.K.—it is one of the criteria DFID used to assess the value for money of U.N. agencies in the U.K.’s multilateral aid review, which we are updating later this year.”
But in rare public discussions of the exercise, participants from Britain, for example, have also pointed to recent small but significant cuts to the administrative budgets of a few of the bigger agencies, amounting to about 5 percent, as fruit of their nearly year-long efforts.
And Britain has already been more draconian than that. DFID, widely considered to be one of the most aggressively reformist of donor organizations, announced in early 2011 that it would walk out of four smaller U.N. agencies that it had found in its original multilateral aid review had contributed little “value for money” for Britain’s investment, and were ranked “poor” in terms of their impact.
When questioned by Fox News about the British statements …read more
Source: FULL ARTICLE at Fox World News