Friday, September 30, 2005


UN gives employees an ethics quiz in effort to raise their integrity
Initiative comes as U.S. Congress starts hearings on the need to overhaul UN

Steven Edwards
CanWest News Service

Thursday, September 29, 2005
CREDIT: Mary Altaffer, Associated Press

UNITED NATIONS -- In the wake of management scandals, the United Nations is
attempting to raise the level of integrity of its employees by asking them
to take a multiple-choice ethics quiz, and offering certificates featuring
images of African Masai tribesmen to anyone who does well.

The initiative comes as a U.S. Congressional committee Wednesday launched
hearings into what plans the UN has for overhauling its management after
leaders of developing countries, attending the recent 60th anniversary
summit, led the rejection of sweeping reform proposals by UN Secretary
General Kofi Annan.

UN officials say the ethics quiz is part of the overall effort to improve
efficiency at the world body, but Washington's chief UN envoy told the
Congressional hearing changes need to be major to make UN employees more

"The key is to break the sense of entitlement that permeates the UN system,"
U.S. Ambassador John Bolton said in a written statement he had prepared for
his testimony before the International Relations Committee of the House of

UN officials devised the ethics quiz after another internal survey last year
found only about one third of UN employees felt the organization employed
people with a high degree of integrity.

Some employees admitted to giggling over the degree of difficulty of some of
the questions.

The quiz also shows employees how they should defend the UN against

The management crisis at the UN came to a head this month with the release
of the final report of the year-long $35-million US probe into the UN
oil-for-food program the world body ran in Iraq when Saddam Hussein was

It found UN mismanagement and corruption helped Saddam siphon off about
$10-billion US in kickbacks and smuggling of oil in contravention of UN

The United States backed Annan's plan to wrest control of the UN's purse
strings from the General Assembly, but developing countries used their
majority in that body to turn him down.

Before the International Relations Committee, Bolton suggested a way to
increase pressure on the world body would be for countries to finance it
through voluntary contributions rather than UN-set assessments, as is
currently the case.

The UN's representative at the hearing, Mark Malloch Brown, reacted with
alarm, telling Reuters News Agency such a plan would "sink" the world body,
which relies on the United States for 22 per cent of its funding.

© The Vancouver Sun 2005

Buddha says: "Abandon what is wrong. It is possible to abandon it. Were it not possible to abandon what is wrong, I would not say: Abandon it. But because it is possible, therefore I say: Abandon what is wrong.

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