Monday, December 20, 2010

UN bureaucracies -- too many!

The United Nations (UN) is one HUGE global bureaucracy. Its original mandate was to promote world peace and resolution of conflict between and among nations, that is why it was formed at the end of World War 2 in 1945.

Since then, the UN has grown into a web or dozens of tentacles of different bureaucracies with concerns on almost all sectors. Which confirms one important fact -- once a bureaucracy is created, it only wants to perpetuate itself. Bureaucrats help and expand fellow bureaucrats, in another department or office. Then some of them will say, "Ahh, that's another concern/issue. Let us create a separate office for that."

Below is a list of the various offices, funds, other bureaucracies within the UN. I think this is not complete yet as I cannot find at least two UN intergovernmental panel -- the UN Intergovernment Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the UN InterGovernmental Working Group on IPR, Innovation and Health (IGWG-IPR).

There could be double-mention of some offices in the second list. That list is arranged alphabetically, taken from another UN website. It's mind-boggling to see a huge number of offices and bureaucracies. How do such taxpayers-funded international bureaucracies and bureaucrats promote peace?

UN Departments

Reporting to the Secretary-General
- Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (OHRLLS)
- Office of the Special Adviser on Africa (OSAA)
- Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict
- Office of the United Nations Ombudsman
- United Nations Fund for International Partnerships (UNFIP)

Offices Away From Headquarters
- United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG)
- United Nations Office at Vienna (UNOV)
- United Nations Office at Nairobi (UNON)

Regional Commissions
- Economic Commission for Africa (ECA)
- Economic Commission for Europe (ECE)
- Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC)
- Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP)
- Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA)
- Regional Commissions New York Office

Bodies established by the Security Council
- Counter-Terrorism Committee
- International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY)
- International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR)
- United Nations Compensation Commission (UNCC)
- United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC)

Subsidiary and Expert bodies of the General Assembly
- Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ)
- International Civil Service Commission (ICSC)
- Joint Inspection Unit (JIU)
- United Nations Board of Auditors and Panel of External Auditors of the United Nations, the Specialized Agencies and the International Atomic Energy Agency
- United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund (UNJSPF)

Programmes and Funds *
- Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
- United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)
- United Nations Conference on Trade and Development
--International Trade Centre (ITC)
- United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
- UNDP Field Offices
- United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF)
- United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM)
- United Nations Volunteers (UNV)
- United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
- United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UNHSP-UN-Habitat)
- United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)
- United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)
- United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) **
- World Food Programme (WFP)

Other UN Entities *
- Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
- United Nations Non-Governmental Liaison Office (NGLS)
- United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS)
- United Nations System Chief Executives Board (CEB) for Coordination
- United Nations System Staff College (UNSSC)
- United Nations University (UNU)

Research and Training Institutes
- United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) **
- United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR)
- United Nations International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (INSTRAW)
- United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI)
- United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD)

Inter-Agency Programmes
- International Computing Centre (ICC)
- Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS


Other UN Offices:

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) - Rome, Italy
Global Programme on Globalization, Liberalization and Sustainable Human Development - Geneva, Switzerland [UNCTAD-UNDP]

Former Inter-Agency Committee on Sustainable Development (IACSD) - New York, USA
Inter-Agency Network on Women and Gender Equality (IANWGE) (former IACWGE) - New York, USA
Inter-Agency Procurement Services Office (IAPSO) - Copenhagen, Denmark
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) - Vienna, Austria
International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) - Washington, USA [World Bank Group]
International Bureau of Education (IBE) - Geneva, Switzerland [UNESCO]
International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB) - Trieste, Italy
International Centre for Science and High Technology (ICS) - Trieste, Italy
International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) - Washington, USA [WB Group]
Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) - Trieste, Italy [UNESCO/IAEA]
International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) - Montreal, Canada
International Civil Service Commission (ICSC) - New York, USA
International Computing Centre (ICC) - Geneva, Switzerland
International Court of Justice (ICJ) - The Hague, The Netherlands
International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) - The Hague, The Netherlands
International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) - Arusha, Tanzania
International Development Association (IDA) - Washington, USA [WB Group]
International Finance Corporation (IFC) - Washington, USA [WB Group]
International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) - Rome, Italy
International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP) - Paris, France [UNESCO]
International Institute on Ageing (INIA) - Valetta, Malta
International Labour Organization (ILO) - Geneva, Switzerland
International Maritime Organization (IMO) - London, UK
International Monetary Fund (IMF) - Washington, USA
International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (INSTRAW) - Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
International Seabed Authority (ISA) - Kingston, Jamaica
International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR) - Geneva, Switzerland
International Telecommunication Union (ITU) - Geneva, Switzerland
International Trade Centre (ITC) - Geneva, Switzerland [UNCTAD/WTO]
International Training Centre of the ILO (ITC/ILO) - Turin, Italy

Joint Inspection Unit (JIU) - Geneva, Switzerland
Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) - Geneva, Switzerland

Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) - Washington, USA [WB Group]
United Nations Non-Governmental Liaison Service (NGLS) - Geneva, Switzerland and New York, USA

Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) - Geneva, Switzerland and New York, USA
Office for Outer Space Affairs (OOSA) - Vienna, Austria
Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) - The Hague, The Netherlands

Panel of External Auditors of the United Nations, the Specialized Agencies and the International Atomic Energy Agency - New York, USA
ReliefWeb - Geneva, Switzerland [OCHA]

UN Atlas of the Oceans - Washington, USA
UN Board of Auditors - New York, USA
UN Capital Development Fund - New York, USA
UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) - New York, USA
UN Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) - Vienna, Austria
UN Common Supplier Database (UNCSD) - Oslo, Norway
UN Communications Group (former JUNIC) - New York, USA
UN Compensation Commission (UNCC) - Geneva, Switzerland
UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) - Geneva, Switzerland
UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) - Bonn, Germany
UN International Drug Control Programme (UNDCP) (now UNODC)- Vienna, Austria
UN Development Group (UNDG) - New York, USA
UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) - Paris, France
UN Evaluation Group (UNEG) - New York, USA
UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) - Bonn, Germany
UN Fund for International Partnerships (UNFIP) - New York, USA
UN Geographic Information Working Group (UNGIWG) - New York, USA
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Office of the (OHCHR) - Geneva, Switzerland
UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT)- Nairobi, Kenya
UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) - Vienna, Austria
UN Information and Communication Technologies Task Force (UNICT TF) - New York, USA
UN International School (UNIS) - New York, USA
UN Joint Staff Pension Fund (UNJSPF) - New York, USA
UN Mine Action Service - New York, USA
UN Postal Administration (UNPA) - Vienna, Austria
UN Resident Coordinators Network (RCNet) - New York, USA
UN Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) - Vienna, Austria
UN System Network on Rural Development and Food Security - Rome, Italy [FAO/IFAD]
UN Volunteers (UNV) - Bonn, Germany
UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) - Madrid, Spain
Universal Postal Union (UPU) - Bern, Switzerland

WomenWatch - New York, USA
World Bank Group - Washington, USA
World Health Organization (WHO) - Geneva, Switzerland
World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) - Geneva, Switzerland
World Meteorological Organization (WMO) - Geneva, Switzerland
World Trade Organization (WTO) - Geneva, Switzerland
World Volunteer Web - Bonn, Germany [UNV]


Part 2

What prompted me to search just how big and how bureaucratic the UN system is, was a report that some country representatives to the UN and a UN committee proposed that they will create an intergovernment panel to regulate the internet as a result of wikileaks and other political scandals. 

UN mulls internet regulation options
By John Hilvert on Dec 17, 2010 9:51 AM

The United Nations is considering whether to set up an inter-governmental working group to harmonise global efforts by policy makers to regulate the internet.

Establishment of such a group has the backing of several countries, spearheaded by Brazil.

At a meeting in New York on Wednesday, representatives from Brazil called for an international body made up of Government representatives that would attempt to create global standards for policing the internet - specifically in reaction to challenges such as WikiLeaks....

And from another source, 
New UN committee could hand governments internet control
By Jane Fae Ozimek, 20th December 2010 13:24 GMT 

The endgame in the long-running battle over who is to control the internet may be upon us, with the appointment of a little-reported but highly significant new UN committee to look into initiatives for policing the internet.

This follows the decision at the UN Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD) 2010-2011 Inter-sessional Panel, reported in RawStory last week for a recently-formed United Nations task force to look at the possibility of creating a new inter-governmental working group to help further international cooperation on policies to police the internet.

At stake was the future of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF), a UN-sponsored body that puts forward recommendations on how governments should respond to internet developments....

The UN and its member-governments to regulate the internet? They would look like a bunch of morons with a NYC headquarter feeding on the blood and sweat of taxpayers and attempting to regulate -- and control certain contents -- of the freest medium to the people, the web and various online sites, from facebook to youtube, from google to blogger, from yahoo and yahoogroups, from wiki to wordpress, etc.

The beauty of the web is that it is too free, it is controlled by no one in particular. Even site owners of facebook and blogger cannot control what individual members and subscribers can post or remove, the sie owners only have privacy policies which subscribers can agree, or not agree with and get out of their system. 

Many if not all governments including their biggest club, the UN, are hurt by people castigating their wastefulness and inefficiencies, or are hurt when many of their "secret" communications that are supposed to be publicly available anyway if they are indeed transparent, are made public like what happened with the wikileaks.

Those proposals by UN and government bureaucrats might be put on hold temporarily, but bureaucrats and central planners are notoriouos in inventing new regulations and control. So I think they will revive such proposal in the near future.

On another note, a Filipino friend working at UNICEF briefly reacted to my posting yesterday on "UN bureaucracies -- too many". In fairness to the UNICEF, I think it is the ONLY body in the UN that moves beyond depending on tax money to finance many of its operations. 

UNICEF hires professional marketing guys and volunteers as well, to solicit donation from private citizens and corporations -- in the streets, in the malls and shops. And I notice that many people are smilingly giving some donations. Who will not have a soft heart for children, especially children from poor families and those with chronic diseases? 

So I applaud UNICEF for such initiative. Their approach is like the International Red Cross which solicits donation from private individuals and corporations.

One UN body that I heard is notorious for wastes is the UN Development Program or UNDP. Some guys who have partly worked with some UNDP projects would laughingly call it as "UN Developing Paper" because of the huge number of studies that it commissions at expensive rates. 

Another friend commented that the UN is indeed a HUGE bureaucracy, but which multilateral institution isn't? 

True, and that leads us to another fact -- ALL multilateral institutions are huge bureaucracies. Government by nature is a monopoly. From local to national to international or global governments, they are all monopolies, no exception. And a monopoly is not concerned with cost minimization, there is no competition to contend with, there is zero threat of bankruptcy or failure. So why bother with cost minimization, like reducing the number of bureaucracies and offices within the mother organization?

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