07 April, 2011

UN Reform is overdue.

Last month the UK threatened to switch funding away from the Food and Agriculture Organization, (FAO) of the United Nations unless it improved its performance. It seems that the wind of change which is sweeping the third world and resulted in the removal of presidents who have ruled and corrupted countries for decades may also sweep through other world establishments.

The clear indications are that, sooner or later, the UN, and specifically its specialised agencies, will face   changes. FAO is one of these specialised UN agencies and for the last four decades the director generals of this organization have ruled their domain with an egotistical manner.

For the first 30 years after its creation in 16th, October 1945 there were Five Director Generals of the FAO ( namely Orr, Dodd, Vincent, Sen and Boerma), However in the last 36 years there have been only two Director Generals, Saoma from Lebanon from 1975 and the current DG Jacques Diouf (from Senegal) who has been in post since 1993.

The increased tenure of the post in the case of the present Director general and his predecessor is marked and there are also some ‘traditions’ that perhaps may be evolving at the same time in the regional offices.

The UN  organizations have been around for more than 66 years while the age retirement of staff in these agencies is only 60-62 years. It is time that these agencies themselves are also retired and closed down or that their working procedures, management, programmes and mandates are drastically altered to fit the changes taking place in the countries they should serve and assist. Clear terms of references, accountability, and duration of posts of those in charge is essential and the organization must evolve with the change in times and the UK is long overdue in questioning whether its taxpayers’ money is being put to good use.

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