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tv   Inside Story 2017 Ep 360  Al Jazeera  December 28, 2017 10:32am-11:01am +03

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greatest hits the maximum. deal one's relatives or loved ones as soon as possible this is very important. aid workers have been evacuating critically ill patients from. a rebel held area near syria's capital damascus four people were taken from there on wednesday the un called for five hundred people in need of urgent medical care to be allowed to leave but only twenty nine cases have been given approval at least eighteen people have died plus waiting the official results of liberia's presidential runoff vote could be announced as early as thursday general antonio terrace has praised the peaceful conduct of the election which is set to mark the first democratic transfer of power in more than seventy years. bruce culture minister has resigned following the controversial pardoning of ex-president alberto fujimori salvador del solar was a fierce opponent of the decision which of mori who was serving a twenty five year term for human rights abuses and corruption was last week move from jail to hospital president's public which inskeep denies the pardon was part
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of a deal to avoid his own a ph went on corruption allegations but it hasn't stopped thousands of people from taking to the streets to protest against the decision. those are your headlines we're back with another full news bulletin here on al-jazeera that's after inside story. twenty seventeen has been full of stories that have changed the global political landscape and al-jazeera has been there to cover them or. join us as we look back at some of our most memorable interviews of the year in a special edition of talk. at this time. generous nor more the u.s. is cutting the united nations budgets by more than a quarter of a billion dollars but why is washington squeezing the u.n. and what are the long term implications of this got this is inside story.
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hello and welcome to the program about two hundred eighty five million dollars that's the amount expected to be slashed from the u.n. operating budget next year the united states says it's negotiate of a car to eliminate what it calls inefficiency and overspending by the organization the u.s. ambassador to the united nations nikki haley said we will no longer let the generosity of the american people be taken advantage of or remain unchecked we'll continue to look at ways to increase the u.n. is efficiency while protecting our interests the move comes after a tense week for the u.n. the general assembly voted to condemn the u.s. decision to recognize jerusalem as israel's capital and move its embassy haley responded by threatening to cut funding to the u.n.
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. america will put our embassy in jerusalem that is what the american people want us to do and it is the right thing to do. no vote in the united nations will make any difference on that but this vote will make a difference on how americans look at the un and on how we look at countries who disrespect us in the un president donald trump has long been critical of the united nations almost exactly a year ago before officially taking office has waited the united nations has such a great potential but right now it's just a club for people to get together talk and have a good time so. that comment really underscores trump's decision now to scale back on an organization the u.s. has played an influential role in since it was founded in one nine hundred forty five their official headquarters were set up in manhattan in new york it seats the
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main part of the un including the general assembly and security council the u.s. is one of five permanent members of the security council along with china france russia and the u.k. all five have veto power the u.s. is of course the largest financial contributor to the u.n. providing twenty two percent of its regular budget that's well had of the other member countries japan comes in second with ten percent followed by china germany france and the u.k. let's bring in our guests joining us from it ima peter anthony gatto former u.n. investigator in common with england by skype russell friedman professor of law and global development at the university of reading and in delaware in the united states of america by skype lawrence korb former assistant secretary of defense and senior fellow at the center for american progress welcome to you all let me start by asking mr korb this do you think that slashing the u.s. contribution to the u.n.
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is trump saying i'm delivering on a campaign promise or is he just delivering on a threat he made following the united nations general assembly vote on jerusalem. i think it's a combination of two and as you pointed out he did say that the un wastes a lot of money during the campaign and then when they had a vote on on approving the us setting up its embassy in in jerusalem he said if that doesn't go the way we want we'll you don't take a look so it's a combination of two what is important to keep in mind it's not cutting the u.n. u.s. contribution it's cutting the whole overall u.n. budget by you know two hundred eighty five million million dollars the u.s. pays you know about twenty two percent of that so this is only going to save you if
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you know i can use that term the u.s. about sixty million dollars who miss friedman how significant is this decision i mean to cut the over the whole budget by almost a quarter of a billion dollars well let's be clear the secretary general announced in october that the budget would be cut by two hundred million dollars much of which was going to be taken from the haiti peacekeeping budget because a peacekeeping mission has now been changed into the rule of law a mission and from the peacekeeping operations into a whole as well as administrative cats hadn't the u.s. in june had wanted actually to produce its funding to the u.n. and significantly and congress voted that down so that she the amounts of money we're talking about hit almost as big as donald trump is trying to make out and these aren't such new plans and in the way that he's trying to posture this a gallo this is something that comes against the backdrop as we said with the latest statements made by the u.n. ambassador to the u.s. ambassador to the u.n. and also the last from saying that we would keep watching the u.n.
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and we will act accordingly is that the jetsam a to use the power of influence to try to enforce chains in an organization like the united nations or do you think that using course of measures could solve backfire in the near future. and i think that all the member states use a degree of course of measures one way or the other to bend the the u.n. to the political will that they wish to pursue i don't see that the united states is being any different whatsoever in this regard it's just that the u.s. the u.n. relies very heavily on american tax dollars and they've on this occasion they have a president who has essentially the interests of the u.s. taxpayer at heart. miss a call the u.s. president has said in the past that. the u.n. is a social club and that it's been hijacked by people with. big friends of the united states of america i mean we're talking about half
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a billion dollars this is something which is going to have an significant impact on the running operations of the united nations and particularly peacekeeping missions around the world. well the peacekeeping budget is separate from the budget and they cut they cut the overall un budget so you know that budget is about seven billion dollars a year of which the united states contributes about twenty eight percent but we don't really have you know many peacekeeping forces involved in all the nations or do we not which protect our interests and this whole idea that somehow the u.n. doesn't support our policies makes no sense right after this blow up over the when the embassy to jerusalem and the hold on not right after that the united nations voted in the security council to put more sanctions on south korea i mean on north korea not a biggest threat to the united states in the world right now. miss friedman
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i mean there's no question everyone is talking about the need to tighten the belt of the united nations i mean and to tackle the issues of mismanagement and. mismanagement but how can you implement the reform of the united nations was other priorities because each and every major countries talking about different set of priorities. well let's be clear all of the major donors are constantly trying to reduce the un budget japan tries to china particularly around the human rights budget tries to reduce down the money given but at the same time the hundred ninety three member states it's the u.n. to be fit for purpose and to be able to provide solutions to current challenges and i think one of the key areas of reform is to try and look at what are the challenges today around climate displacement internal wars the way that governments wage wars on their own people robin transnational wars and any reform of the united nations and any changes to budget has to be done within our right to watch what's
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coming on what's limmy not what's happened over the last seven decades and all the successes the u.n. has achieved over that time as we're talking about a new political order a new era of fast moving situation around the globe what do you think should be the top priority is it climate change is it the technological reform is it education is it and in conflict and autocracy in the different parts of the world what should be the top priority for the u.n. right now the those are international diplomatic and political questions i. wouldn't like to you know venture an opinion on but i think there's a danger here that we're confusing the you know the the political with the administrative the cuts to the u.n. budget are not going to have a significant effect on the politics of the member states what they will do is have an an effect whether to significant or otherwise they will have an effect on the running of the u.n.
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secretary at what the budget cuts have done has given the secretary general the problem of how to make savings and the culture of the u.n. being what it is that actually is a very difficult for who they're not used to it the manager ariel abilities within the organizations or are not geared towards making savings. yes of course but since we're talking about. a slash that could potentially affect the administrative aspect of the part of the united nations many people are still concerned that against the backdrop of the general sentiment pushing for a massive overhaul of the united nations a concern that ultimately ultimately those who will be affected by the end of the day would be the conflicts that we're seeing flaring up in different parts of the worlds. well there's no doubt about it and fact if you were to tell most americans how much the u.n. budget is they would probably say six or seven hundred billion dollars it's five
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billion dollars a little so it's not that much where you got as our colleague said got one hundred ninety three nations the problems that it deals with i just mentioned north korea all the peacekeeping operations around the world if those are not going well you would have more terrorism you'd have more threats i think what we need to do as a united states as though you know the leader of the world is emphasize what we get for the money and the idea that we're paying too much is not queered got about twenty five twenty eight percent of the world's gross domestic product we contribute twenty two percent to the. un budget the e.u. in total contributes four they contribute thirty percent so this idea you know i think if you want to tell america is a think course funding it almost all of it and it's one hundred billion dollars now it's a great bargain is it inefficient yes every government operation is inefficient i
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used to work in the pentagon you know we weren't you know we were not known for efficiency but those brave men and women can go out and you know perform well on the battlefield ok mr friedman i mean what is a problem here is that the need for the u.n. to reinvent itself or the the un to recognize they has failed to tackle issues of spending and not as many of the funds allocated to it. i agree with both of my colleagues on this that the problem isn't the activities that you went on to take to undertake really important what that that saves lives and that makes about a better and safer place for russell to live and yes their rents within the secretary asked and with them funds programs and agencies yes people shouldn't have to have the choice to travel business class when that flying a few short hours away yes it's a very strange culture when no one ever gets fired from the united nations but not now it's about addressing the internal problems that shaving two hundred eighty five million dollars from the budget won't address those internal problems and
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needs to be an organizational change in a culture change to address those problems what's going to end up happening is that that money will be taken away from very much needed activities around the world rather than being used to ensure that the pensions aren't far higher than pensions you would find in public sector elsewhere. with a gallo as of a you've been a united nations investigator from your experience in the field ia think that the issue now is for the un to give more power to the biro zone the stuff which is deployed in different parts of the world give them more say in running their own operations and their own budget you know it's not a question of giving them power it's a question of holding them accountable for the power that they already have. the sick the sums that question in the great scheme of things are not really significant the un budget is running at thirteen point four billion dollars not all
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organizations lose money to fraud waste and abuse if that's only running at ten percent we're still talking about a fraud risk to the tune of one point three billion dollars a year two hundred eighty five it's basically twenty percent of that and it's not the it's not the control from the the top that's the problem it's the count ability for the money that is spent of the decisions that are made of the solution to every problem presented to the secretary at his office to create more posts and more positions on another committee without actually ever dealing with the substance of the problem but is there because that would actually require a decision the un is very good for administration of plenty of administration that's just no management but then this brings us back to the question of how to move forward i mean how to implement the reforms missa called the decision making process in the united nations is controlled by the five men permanent members of the a security council and each country has different agendas different say about how
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to move forward and wettest of the thought that the reform of the un doesn't this leave us with with a big hurdle well i think you know in terms of what we can do is maybe have the five permanent members bring in an outside firm to take a look at the efficiency of the operation and suggest some costs but the way in which president trump is approaching it basically says the united states is not getting you know its money's worth here the united states is paying more than its fair share those things i think need to be be emphasized yes is there inefficiencies we want in a management consulting firm maybe we could find things we just did in the pentagon we brought in a defense business war and we found out there were a c. twenty five billion dollars a year on exercise. overhead maybe the u.n. is doing that but you don't want to cut into the core missions and the idea as my colleague joe said if you count the regular budget in the peacekeeping you know
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budget it's you know thirteen billion dollars a year that's pretty good particularly when you include all of the peacekeeping there that's a pretty good bargain for the money compared to some of the other things that you that you have to spend money on so i think it would be good to bring in this outside group what i'm take a look at maybe suggest some of vision sees but we need to emphasize we're the ones who started this in the united states and the idea that somehow or another it doesn't support our interests is not true do they agree with us or never think course not that no they don't agree with that a country overall well the fact of the how to reduce it has been good for us yes it is for them and this comes at a time also when emerging powers say that they would like to join the club of the the permanent members of the security council and that their presence would be an added value to the united nations that could bring forth genuine reform to the to
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the international body do you think that this could be the case i think there's a fundamental misunderstanding about where the power lies in the u.n. of course the five permanent members have the power within the security council but the fifth committee that controls the budget has great power at the united nations and we've seen recently festival with the votes of the international court of justice charge more recently in terms of the jerusalem vote last week in the general assembly that this significant jack let's go how are we being the general assembly itself even if it's not a binding body and i think that when that's so much discussion focused only on security council reform we forget the importance of all of the other parties and the roles that these emerging powers do play that so while it's important to think about should germany sit at the security council as a permanent member i should japans it that way to be to with out of each of these or any tinkering or. on the edges if we want to think about reforming the un as a whole scale operation we need to look at all of the main organs and we also need to look at the secretariat and how we appoint the secretary general because in
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we're talking about management and accountability and transparency and leadership then the way that the sector generals being appointed and the recent appointments but this current one and the one before have not appointed people who are going to come in and really reform the body and hold to account the senior managers across the board at the front programs and agencies missed a missed the gun of the u.n. has its oversight office that looks into issues of mismanagement issues reports evaluates the situation across the globe ultimately the united nations general assembly is the one that has a huge power is country with one vote do you think that at this level the level of the u.n. g.a. we can stand the attempt to try to bring about more accountability to the way money is being spent within the united nations and pollute leave the. the general assembly does not actually get involved in the direct oversight to the
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supervision of the funds and programmes of the un secretary a toll and that is basically left to. you not to the secretary general and his senior staff and they are the ones who are the greatest obstacles to reform they're the ones who have a vested interest in maintaining the situation as it is dealing with every problem by creating more seen your posts it is a self-perpetuating oligarchy and when the organization was set up in one thousand nine hundred five it was an entirely different creature what has happened in the years since is that de facto recognition as a state now is membership of the united nations so the idea that the un was an organization of the the peace peace loving democratic nations has basically passed into history. and what we have now is a secretary at which is acting as a political entity and its own right and that was never what it was established to
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do the secretary general was number intended in the charter to be some kind of leading international diplomat he was the chief executive of the administration at a time when people are saying that if the un continue. neglecting or denying the fact they faces massive problems other organizations the tickler regional organization would just step in and fill in the void like like the african union for example which is now taking an aggressive role in areas where the u.n. fail is something that could further erode the image of the un globally well there's no doubt about it and you have to ask yourself why are these regional organizations stepping in can they handle a problem better or is it because the un is too inefficient or does not have the support that it that it needs what they can work together i mean when we started to you when we did not have a lot of these regional organization for example like to european union the african union what i think a good leader
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a good secretary general would be able to work with these organizations and get more efficiency by relying on them for things they can do better than the united nations can. but friedman i mean. the secretariat ended up being an institution of its own but this thing the need to start a better start a genuine reform but then ultimately isn't this something that raises the question of what kind of u.n. we need for this new era is in this. the real problem that we're facing right now i think a big problem is that the secretary at is there with one hundred ninety three bosses but as as historically been said has become its own sort of political organ and makes its own decisions within that umbrella of what the hundred ninety three states tanel asked today but the secretary out in many ways is it stuck in the past it's backward looking we see that reform only happens for example in peacekeeping
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where a massive atrocity or crisis happens and then the united nations has to look inward lake's think about rwanda yugoslavia and address why that crisis occurred there's only at that point that reform comes about in that we make serious changes that make significant improvements on the ground at the moment there are countries that are being severely impacted by climate change that's big technological problems there's big internal un complex the government and yet the secretary at present faced a crisis point that will make it look internally and think about those reforms and as and in terms of the countries that are being affected rest of those don't have the jr political clout suppose for genuine reform within the sex area it's a got to give us an idea about given your experience. of the u.n. what is the problem is it when we are assigned to look into issues of mismanagement or irregulars irregularities you send your reports back is it shelved is it overlooked what is the problem why the mechanism does not seem to have were awful
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or many of the many cases they simply dealing with inefficiencies they did to the organization itself which is stifling the reform it is the organization itself it which is not interested in looking for example a procurement fraud if you want to make two hundred eighty five million dollars worth of savings in the united nations you could do a lot worse than start simply on that question why is there the lack of interest in looking at the interface between the organization and the private side. after supplying goods and services right there was the procurement task force several years ago which was closed down for political reasons and the organization internally fell over itself in its enthusiasm to close down those cases that they already had more recently when my former office looked at cases in in somalia and we're discovering fraud losses to the extent of seventy and eighty
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percent of the money being supplied to n.g.o.s in that country from the organizations was response was basically to drop it look the other way close those investigations are not move forward so the fact that there was money on that scale is not that it's not this volume of the money which is being spent which is the problem in the u.n. it's the the location as much as where it's going and somalia was a classic example of that we found evidence of u.n. funds being embezzled or otherwise been diverted into a terrorist organization and the only thing the organization was interested in doing was suppressing that information because if it was revealed the member states would be less willing to donate funds into that per u.n. secretary general attorney because i think accountability which i see your point the u.n. secretary until you got to rest said that he's going to bring back accountability
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and transparency to the organization let's see how that would happen thank you very much indeed it's anthony gallo russell friedman and lawrence korb thank you for your contribution. and thank you too for watching you can see the program again any time by visiting our website dot com for further discussion go to our facebook page that's facebook dot com for slash a.j. inside story you can also join the conversation on twitter our handle is a j inside story from me the whole team bye for now. unbelievably it sounds like an agreement between criminal busts it's like trading in stolen goods that have been taken by the place if anyone ever comes to ask the question then sort of throw their hands up in the air and say i don't know i was just nominee director we're doing a investigation into. ukraine could you have
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a bribes you've been corrupt i'll be corrupt i did just what the president say al-jazeera investigation is the only god coming soon. an underground fire has been burning for over a century beneath india's not just cofield. now open past mining has put the flames to the surface with devastating consequences for the local population. as communities are destroyed and thousands suffer from toxic fumes what lies behind this human and environmental disaster people in power the burning city at this time on al-jazeera. six. coming from this sound roots the funny thing is a promise. to. transform issues is the name of the rich are important they reckon is a regular music it's really kind of trip for a very young i used to make
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a profit maker but i feel that. the talks of are just it's the quality books of all colonialism or cricket music i've invested that's deeply relevant to this drug especially for a good thing and this is kind of all in all the right wing assault on our freedom to oss questions and generally all freedom of expression and people you know are being taught it's like students teachers activists filmmakers writers base all of that but it's going to do this on the arrest and people on the street see the protest has reached our doorstep soul in which as a whip i'd like to attempts to contradict some of its. at least forty people have been killed in the tac in the afghan car.

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