Josh on the UN’s a-MAZE-ing place

Josh, of Cartoons by Josh fame, never fails to capture and captivate! Here’s his take on the UN’s maze in which are ensconced no less than 3,500 NGOs*

Thanks, Josh :-)

* Actually, it’s worse than I thought … I had previously written:

Meanwhile the United Nations continues adding branches and shrubbery to its merry maze, spawning acronymic panels, working groups, committees and cultivating and enabling the influence of Non-governmental organizations (NGO)s – whom they call “civil society”. I’m not sure where that leaves the rest of us whose organizational affiliations might not lead to membership in one of the “chosen” (?!) groups. Indeed, one might well ask: “What am I, chopped liver?”

I was speaking of the “NGO Branch” of the UN’s Economic and Social Council [ECOSOC]. But there’s another group of 1,300 NGOs whose channel seems to run through a different branch of the maze: The Department of Public Information (DPI).

According to ECOSOC’s “Basic Facts about ECOSOC Status“, those in the DPI NGO “Cluster” are a different class of organization:

ECOSOC accreditation is separate and distinct from NGOs who are associated the UN Department of Public Information (DPI). These organizations generally have far fewer privileges to participate in intergovernmental meetings of the United Nations. See list of DPI-associated NGOs as of September 2011 here. See website here. [links in original and emphasis added -hro]

I’ve just briefly scanned the DPI list, and (Peter willing!) at some point I’ll see if there’s any cross-pollination! [Please see UPDATE below] In the meantime, for your edification, here’s what the DPI has to say about this “Cluster”:

The NGO Relations Cluster is the link to approximately 1,300 Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs) associated with the Department of Public Information and supports their efforts to interact effectively with the United Nations in their areas of expertise.

The Cluster is also responsible for facilitating the exchange of information and developing partnerships with civil society. It plays a coordinating role within the UN Secretariat to reach out to civil society partners around the world and enhance their interaction with, and understanding of, the work of the UN.

The Cluster proactively reaches out to representatives of civil society who seek information about the UN and look for opportunities to support the Organization at the international, regional, national and community levels. [emphasis added -hro]

And be sure to check out the “home away from home” for this Cluster of NGOs. This page indicates only 1,200 NGOs in the Cluster – proving once again that about the only consistency one might expect to find within the UN is … “inconsistency”.

a-MAZE-ing. Simply amazing!

UPDATE 03/13/2012 11:48 AM PDT Yes, there is cross-pollination of NGOs. Of the 1297 organizations that Peter extracted from the DPI list, 182 are also accredited by ECOSOC. Data is available here.

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5 thoughts on “Josh on the UN’s a-MAZE-ing place

  1. The ways in which the UN leeches from society are limited only by its imagination. And the occasional but rare budget shortfall. It keeps trying to Tax the World directly, for access to the sea, to outer space, to the atmosphere, whatever sounds “global” enough. Reminds me of the “interstate commerce clause” for some reason …

  2. Over this side of the Atlantic we have our very own additional merry maze called the EU. Even half a decade ago, people were starting to notice that huge wodges of our tax money were going into the EU to be paid to environmental NGOs in order to lobby the EU itself (all very circular and maze-like) as per this BBC article from 2007:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/7127182.stm

    Great article, by the way, and excellent cartoon by Josh!

    • Yes, the pattern seems to be that the EU tests the waters (with a “model”?!) and sets the precedent. If it “works” (which they seem to make sure it invariably does!), then the “concept” gets expanded to the UN via “the maze” ;-)

      One thing I haven’t looked into in any depth, but which has always struck me as somewhat odd, is that the EU and its constituent countries seem to have voices at the IPCC/UNFCCC tables (and probably other UN tables, as well).

      Consequently, it’s probably no accident that the “Sustainia” triumvirate includes the EU’s Hedegaard, the many-hatted Pachauri, “Ms. Sustainability” Brundtland (whose public profile has been somewhat muted for quite some time) and from this side of the Atlantic, “Mr. Entertainment” Schwarzenegger.

      All the bases are covered – and Sustainia Mania is ready to roll, and ramp up the pressure.

      IMHO. the steady but continuous expansion of “enviro-advocacy” of the past 20 years is a great distraction from the fact that the UN is failing miserably at fulfilling its original mandate – which, I’m sure seemed like such a good idea at the time! Its record at preventing wars around the globe and promoting democracy and human rights is nothing short of abysmal.

      Again, I haven’t looked into it in any depth, but my perception is that with each passing year we hear less and less of the UN’s activities in anything outside the enviro-sphere! (Except, of course, when they can glom onto something for which they can excoriate Israel, regardless of whether Israel is at fault or not!)

      But then I suppose if one were a Eurocrat, a Unocrat – or a member of “civil society” – this would all be considered “a very good thing”!

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