“As we work in increasingly more dangerous and challenging environments, the need for stronger oversight and accountability has even become more important,” Ad Melkert, Associate Administrator of UNDP, told a press briefing at UN Headquarters in New York.Mr. Melkert pledged that “a number of categories of staff” would be required to file financial disclosure statements, including senior-level personnel and those involved in procurement activities. This comes is in addition to measures already in place at the Under-Secretary-General level.“I am happy to inform you that both the UNDP Administrator and I have completed our financial disclosure statements this year as part of the overall UN procedure,” he said.A correspondent asked whether the officials would follow the example of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and make their financial disclosure forms public. “I’m not in favour of having financial disclosure made public on the website,” Mr. Melkert replied. “I think that is overstepping the privacy of people.”Other measures include the establishment last year of an independent audit advisory committee which has since met four times. “In the ongoing dialogue, it is extremely useful to get that external advice; it’s the first time UNDP has opened up itself to that,” Mr. Melkert said.He also said top UNDP officials were committed to providing members of the Executive Board with access to findings from internal audits. “In doing so we will make sure that all information in internal audit reports is accessible to Member States,” he said. “Again we have to discuss that with the Board, but I feel that is the right thing to do and it is really new in UNDP that we do that.”Another measure he said would help boost transparency is standardizing the information provided on all UNDP websites. “While we already have an information disclosure policy, having all programme information on our websites will help cut the current 30-day requirement for responding to information requests hopefully to get you the information you need within your deadlines,” he told reporters.Mr. Melkert also announced that UNDP is developing a “legal framework for addressing non-compliance with ethical and professional standards.”“Basically the document serves to remind staff members of their duties to abide by the highest standards of conduct and to inform the mechanisms available to report wrongdoing,” he explained.Asked why UNDP did not seek an external investigation of reports that its staff and vehicles were involved in diamond-smuggling in Zimbabwe, Mr. Melkert said he took the allegation very seriously. At the moment there are two investigations ongoing, he said, “and then we will decide whether more is needed, and I don’t exclude also that that should be something more than internal.” 6 June 2007A senior official from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) today outlined a series of measures from financial disclosure to standardizing information available on the Internet to improve management at the agency.
(Updated)Halton police forced the partial evacuation of an Oakville apartment building Monday afternoon — for a drug investigation. The building on Marlborough Crescent — near Sheridan College — is familiar to police. But what they found inside — was definitely a surprise. It was around 1:30 when police responded to a noise complaint on Marlborough court. Someone was running a generator on a 12th floor balcony. There was no one home — but when police entered the apartment — they got a surprise. Inspector Roger Wilkie is with the Halton Regional Police: “A non-operational meth lab was evident in one of the apartments.”Police then cleared the top four floors of the building — evacuating tenants — until they could assess the risk. It didn’t take them long to determine that there was no immediate danger — but residents were glad they made the effort.Tenants said that with lots of college students in the building — police were occasionally on hand to answer noise complaints. But a drug lab — was a bit of a shock.And so with the apartment secure and no danger to tenants, it appeared that the door had closed on this case — at least for the moment.The single male was then apprehended in the underground parking garage. Police confirmed he was a suspect — but had very little information about his connection to the meth lab upstairs.Some quick police work here — so quick in fact, that police had a suspect in custody before they even had a warrant to search the apartment containing the drug lab.
“Rather, it seems that lower demand and increased law enforcement has sparked brutal turf wars between traffickers as they fight over a share in a reduced market,” the report says.In Mexico, the implementation of a security strategy in 2006 seeking to disrupt the northbound supply of cocaine triggered conflict over new “plazas” at key border crossings, notably along the Guatemalan/Honduran border.The study points out that flows of drug trafficking have become concentrated in the countries least capable of dealing with them, and emphasizes that it is essential to tackle impunity and corruption, while building police and criminal justice capacity. The report will be discussed at a high-level presentation to ministers and ambassadors from the Central American region tomorrow in New York on the margins of the 67th session of the General Assembly. The study, “Transnational Organized Crime in Central America and the Caribbean: A Threat Assessment,” examines various aspects of the impact of the major trafficking flows of cocaine, and fire arms as well as the sex trade and migrant smuggling in the region.The report, produced by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), argues that even if the northbound cocaine flows dwindle, criminal groups would vie for profits from other highly lucrative illicit activities and continue to spread mayhem. “The relationship between development, the rule of law and security needs to be fully understood,” said UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov. “Drugs and crime are also development issues, while stability can be promoted by embracing human rights and access to justice.”According to UNODC, Central America has some of the highest homicide rates in the world, with 39 murders per 100,000 citizens in Guatemala, 69 per 100,000 in El Salvador and 92 per 100,000 in Honduras in 2011. Wedged between the suppliers of coca in the south and the consumers of cocaine in the north, the region has become a transit corridor. However, the high rates of violence are not always associated with drug trafficking, UNODC said in a news release. El Salvador, for example, has a relatively low cocaine flow of four to five tons per year but registers the highest sustained murder rate in the region (over 65 per 100,000 between 2000 and 2010).