Cablegate: Demarche Request On Un Trust Fund Supporting The

Published: Mon 25 Jan 2010 09:58 PM
DE RUEHC #7463 0252204
P 252158Z JAN 10
E.O. 12958: N/A
(SBU) 1. This is an action request. USUN is instructed to
demarche UN officials as appropriate on the proposed changes
to the terms of reference for the International Trust Fund
Supporting the Initiatives of the Contact Group on Piracy off
the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS). At its discretion, USUN may
wish to coordinate with Germany, which has done much of the
heavy work on this issue; in any case, please consult/inform
the German Mission. Post may draw from the points in
paragraph three.
(SBU) 2. Background: In order to develop a funding
mechanism for the initiatives of the Contact Group on Piracy
off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS), the participants of the
CGPCS, led by Germany and with active involvement by the
United States, negotiated Terms of Reference (TOR) for a UN
Trust Fund in 2009. The Trust Fund TOR was designed to
provide nations and industry groups a means of contributing
to counter-piracy efforts, and emphasized the importance of
funding prosecution-related efforts.
Throughout the negotiations, the UN and the CGPCS
participants agreed that the Trust Fund,s Board, on which
several UN agencies would serve as non-voting members, would
make the decisions about which proposals would be funded and
which would be given priority. When the CGPCS plenary
adopted the TOR at its plenary in September 2009, the CGPCS
Chair authorized the UN to establish the Fund according to
those Terms. The UN was not authorized to make substantive
changes to the TOR as negotiated and agreed upon by the UN
and the CGPCS.
Only after the TOR was approved by the Contact Group plenary
in September, DPA announced that UNDP has recanted its
willingness to serve as Fund Manager. The United States had
long questioned whether UNDP was the appropriate Fund Manager
to begin with, preferring UNODC since the Fund was primarily
intended to support prosecution-related efforts. After UNDP
backed out, DPA recommended the switch to UNODC and made
repeated assurances that only technical amendments to the
TORs would be necessary. The German Mission convened several
emergency sessions of the Contact Group participants in late
2009 to review the amended TORs and select the Fund Board.
The U.S. pursued and was granted a seat on the Trust Fund
Board by decision of the CGPCS participants.
It was not until mid-January, less than 2 weeks before the
5th Contact Group plenary and the first Board meeting, that
the United States learned that the UN Controller requires the
proposed, additional changes. Discussions between UNODC and
the Controller's Office over the past week have resulted in
slight improvements. The U.S., however, strongly objects to
the process during which the U.N. has repeatedly made changes
to the TOR over the past several months with little to no
transparency, and requests further assurances from the UN
regarding its role with respect to the Fund. Without these
assurances, the U.S. will not support the adoption of the
amended TORs by the CGPCS.
Among the specific changes the U.S. would like to see is the
addition of language to make it clear that when the TOR
refers to UN rules, regulations, and policies, it is
referring to financial rules and regulations and
administrative policies, as opposed to political policies.
The U.S. would also like clarification as to how ear-marked
contributions will be handled. The U.S. also does not see
any reason, nor are we aware of any UN regulations, that
would require the Secretary General to endorse the
composition of the Fund Board.
(SBU) 3. Begin Points:
-- We are very concerned that, less than two weeks before
the Board was scheduled to convene for the first time and
consider its first proposals, the United States learned that
the UN Controller has proposed what appear to be substantive
changes to the Terms of Reference, as agreed to by the CGPCS
participants and the UN following many months of
negotiations. The TOR has already been changed once before
when, after the TOR had been adopted by CGPCS participants in
September, UNDP declined to administer the fund and the UNODC
assumed that role.
-- The UN Department of Political Affairs (DPA) has
represented from the beginning of this process that it was
negotiating on behalf of the United Nations as a whole. The
new TOR differs in significant and substantive ways from the
TOR that were negotiated with DPA. For example, at no point
did the participants contemplate the UN Secretary General
having any sort of approval authority over the selection of
Board members as now called for in the revised TORs.
-- Given the repeated revisions that have taken place since
the TOR was originally approved by the CGPCS in September,
the United States will not endorse the new TOR without
additional clarification as to the implications of the
changes proposed by the UN Controller's Office. We would
also like written assurances regarding the UN's role in the
implementation and administration of the Fund.
-- With two work days prior to the Wednesday 27 January Board
meeting, the issue remains unresolved. The Board cannot
begin considering proposals until the Terms of Reference are
finalized, and the new TOR must be approved by the CGPCS. It
does not reflect well on any of us that the Fund, which was
approved by the CGPCS in September, has still not been
established 4 months later in January. We hope the UN is as
interested as we are in ensuring that the terms of reference
are ready to be presented for approval during the upcoming
January 28 CGPCS plenary. Our ultimate priority, however, is
ensuring that all parties to the TOR are clear on the roles
and responsibilities of those involved in the mangement and
administration of the Fund.
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