INDEPENDENT NEWS

Cablegate: Preparations Underway for Management Audit of Unesco's

Published: Thu 27 Jul 2006 01:40 PM
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Lucia A Keegan 07/31/2006 10:30:58 AM From DB/Inbox: Lucia A Keegan
Cable
Text:
UNCLAS SENSITIVE PARIS 05103
SIPDIS
cxparis:
ACTION: UNESCO
INFO: POL ECON AMBU AMB AMBO DCM SCI
DISSEMINATION: UNESCOX
CHARGE: PROG
APPROVED: AMB:LVOLIVER
DRAFTED: POL:DOSTROFF
CLEARED: NONE
VZCZCFRI702
RR RUEHC
DE RUEHFR #5103 2081340
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 271340Z JUL 06
FM AMEMBASSY PARIS
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 9859
UNCLAS PARIS 005103
SIPDIS
FROM USMISSION UNESCO PARIS
SENSITIVE
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: UNESCO SCUL
SUBJECT: PREPARATIONS UNDERWAY FOR MANAGEMENT AUDIT OF UNESCO'S
WORLD HERITAGE CENTER
1. (U) Ambassador Oliver met today, July 27, with Mr. Kishore Rao,
Deputy Director of the World Heritage Center (WHC) to discuss
preparations for the management audit.
2. (U) The Ambassador said that several key elements are needed to
ensure the audit would provide the results we need to improve the
World Heritage Center's management and organization.
3. (U) She stressed that the number one priority is that the person
selected come from an external consulting firm, and that the firm be
seen as independent, objective, and credible.
4. (SBU) Rao asked whether the Office of Internal Oversight (IOS)
or UNESCO's external auditor could be considered. The Ambassador
said that while it would be useful to get the opinion of John
Parsons, head of IOS, whom Rao is seeing tomorrow, it was imperative
to have a truly independent consultant review the WHC. (Comment: The
new external auditor replacing the Canadian auditor is French,
having won that position through extensive lobbying by the French.
End comment).
5. (U) The Ambassador mentioned that the United Nations Foundation
had also agreed on the need to have an outside firm do the audit,
and would be proposing several possible names in the coming days.
6. (U) Rao asked about BAASTEL, the Canadian firm, which had
recently completed a Results Based Management report on the WHC.
The Ambassador said that while the BAASTEL report could provide
useful background to an outside consultant, BAASTEL was too closely
tied to the WHC.
7. (U) The Ambassador said that the consultant must review the WHC
in a comprehensive way, determining what exists today, what changes
need to be made, and how the structure works with its advisory
bodies, partners, funding, and its relationship with UNESCO's
Cultural sector.
8. (U) Ambassador Oliver said that any changes in the WHC should be
driven by an evaluation of its long-term needs, rather than by
making structural changes to balance the strengths and weaknesses of
individuals currently in specific jobs.
9. (U) As one of UNESCO's flagship programs, the Ambassador told
Rao that it is vital that the reputation, visibility and credibility
of the WHC be reinforced through a comprehensive and independent
review of the WHC's overall activities, particularly in connection
with its advisory bodies and other partners. Ambassador Oliver also
stressed the need for the consultant to reach out to key people at
UNESCO, including member state representatives, who have a strong
knowledge of the WHC's history and benefit from their expertise.
10. (U) The Ambassador and Rao agreed that the management audit is
perfectly timed, as UNESCO will be looking at its medium term
strategy and reviewing a new budget in the coming months. Bringing
greater clarity to the WHC's management and organization at the same
moment is a strong sign by member states that they support and wish
to strengthen the WHC and its programs.
11. (U) Rao promised to work closely with the US Mission in
formulating the Terms of Reference that will be used as the basis
for the consulting contract.
12. (U) He noted that approximately 80K US dollars, which will come
from the World Heritage Fund, have been earmarked by the World
Heritage Committee to cover the costs of the management audit. The
Ambassador mentioned that monies till remaining from the US Special
Account could also be made available, if need be, to ensure the
audit not be cut short because of funding problems.
13. It is expected that the choice of a consultant will be
completed in the September/October timeframe, and that the audit
itself will take up to six months to complete. It is hoped that the
management audit report will be ready to present to the World
Heritage Committee meeting next summer in Christ Church, New
Zealand. OLIVER
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