UN must reform for sake of poor

New York, November 10:

The UN is failing the poorest and most vulnerable because its funding projects are undermined by too many agencies duplicating each other’s work, a high-level panel warned.

The panel, co-chaired by prime ministers of Mozambique, Norway and Pakistan, and including the British chancellor, Gordon Brown, issued a blueprint for UN reform that would streamline the activities of its development, humanitarian aid and environment bodies over the next five years, while adding new oversight bodies.

In unusually tough language, the panel said, “The UN’s status as a central actor in the multilateral system is undermined by lack of focus on results, thereby failing the poorest and most vulnerable. Its work on development and environment is often fragmented and weak. Inefficient and ineffective governance and unpredictable funding have contributed to policy incoherence, duplication and operational ineffectiveness.’’

Adnan Amin, executive director for the report, said, “The United Nations is punching well below its weight.’’ There has been concern for a long time that much UN funding goes to waste since many agencies duplicate each other’s work. Developing countries also complain that they have to deal with each individual agency when discussing aid spending.