The United Nations Needs a Reset!

I recently went to the World Food Programme headquarters here in Rome - there was an Executive Board meeting this week. And here is a report of the opening event marked by some arresting statements, just published on Impakter:

The United Nations: The Reset and Syria’s St. Bernard

World Food Programme, Executive Board, 25 May 2015. This was a memorable day – the WFP Executive Director,  Ms. Ertharin Cousin, made a highly remarked opening address, exclaiming: “the United Nations is 70 years old this year, it needs a reset!” And her guest of honour, Mr. Staffan de Mistura, the UN Special Envoy to Syria, described his job as “mission (nearly) impossible”.

 In the photo: UN Special Envoy for Syria Briefs Press Staffan de Mistura, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Syria, speaks to journalists, following closed-door Security Council consultations on the crisis in Syria. 24 April 2015 United Nations, New York – Photo credit: UN Photo/Loey Felipe

First, Ms. Cousin’s speech. She listed for the Board (consisting of a number of delegates from member countries, designated on a rotating basis) the rising number of emergencies that WFP has to face. In 2014, there were eleven high-level emergencies (classified as L2 and L3 in the UN jargon), an all-time high. Indeed, the WFP is set in principle to handle three high-level emergencies at any one time – not eleven.

typhoon  In the photo: SG Visits the Philippines, Assesses UN Relief Efforts Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon visited Tacloban City, in the Leyte Province of the Philippines, to assess the relief and rehabilitation efforts for the survivors of Super Typhoon Yolanda/Haiyan. A resident of Tacloban surveys the damage and debris left by the storm. – Photo credit: UN Photo/Evan Schneider

Why is this happening?

The rest on Impakter, and in particular the extraordinary anecdote reported by the UN Special Envoy to Syria, read  here.