Welcome to the IGO Watch Monthly Newsletter for November
With such a large amount of IGO news and activities around the world, it’s hard to keep track. From scandals and corruption charges to money wasting and new taxation system proposals, here is a brief overview of the most important IGO events from November.
Refuge From Accountability
Not a month goes by that we don’t hear stories of another United Nations (U.N.) body getting caught up in a center of a corruption scandal. The month began with news of a leaked draft report from 2017 that shows a complete lack of U.N. action on the investigation into 52 allegations of sexual misconduct by U.N. peacekeepers in the Central African Republic. Later in the month, we also learned that the U.N. has reopened an investigation into allegations of corruption at a Ugandan refugee camp, stating that United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) employees solicited bribes for everything from medicine to U.S. resettlement. But it’s another U.N. Refugee agency that took the spotlight the past month. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) was caught in the midst of a major scandal just two weeks before a U.N. vote to renew the agency’s mandate was to take place. Its now-former chief, Pierre Krähenbühl, stepped down after an investigation by the U.N.’s Office of Internal Oversight brought up allegations of mismanagement, including abuses of power, sexual misconduct, nepotism, bullying, and retaliation. This caused a number of prominent donor countries to suspend their UNRWA donations until the end of the investigation, deepening the already dreadful financial situation of the U.N. agency. Unsurprisingly, the ongoing scandal had little effect on the mandate vote, as the U.N. has renewed the mandate of its humanitarian agency for Palestinian refugees with an overwhelming majority.
In other U.N. news, the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) continued to praise countries with traditions of systemic human rights abuse, this time not only by officially applauding Iran’s human rights record, but also hosting an exhibition to showcase Iran’s success in human rights efforts. The UNHRC’s credibility has always been in question because of the way member countries use economic power to influence UNHRC’s decisions and paint themselves in a brighter light.
The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) controversial proposal on digital taxation has come under a lot of criticism. Expert analysis showed that it could actually end up worsening global inequality, with about 80 percent of the taxes more likely to be redistributed in high-income countries. As argued by Dan Mitchell from the IGOWatch Partner Organization Center for Freedom and Prosperity – by advocating for “urgent action” to impose higher taxes, OECD is seeking to perpetuate poverty in the world’s poorest continent. High-profile companies and business associations have also come forward to voice their concerns about the implications of the proposed OECD unified tax proposals. This proposed global tax harmonization scheme is an economically misguided attempt to extract more money from the productive sector of the economy, which would end up hurting businesses, workers, consumers, and shareholders.
Burn Coal Not Money
If there is one thing the European Union (EU) is a champion of, it is wasting taxpayer money. Reports from last month have shown that the EU’s farm program is, completely unsurprisingly, being exploited from within, as agricultural subsidies are not reaching their intended destination, but rather populist politicians and their business circles. Climate change has continued to be a hot topic, as the European Investment Bank stated that it will completely stop financing fossil fuel energy projects from the end of 2021. The EU Parliament also decided to up their money-wasting game, approving an increase in the 2020 budget lines dealing with climate protection by €504 million, ensuring that next year more than 21% of EU expenditure will be climate-related. To justify that decision, the Parliament also decided to declare a “climate and environmental emergency” around the world. If this hasn’t been comical enough so far, one MEP used satire to point out that by just changing a building’s name the EU can stop wasting £97 million each year on moving their MEPs between the two Parliament seats.
Established in 2014, the Warsaw Economic Institute (WEI) is one of Poland’s leading pro-liberty think tanks, focusing on international relations, security, energy, history, culture. The WEI is the sole Polish partner of the World Report on Economic Freedom The Heritage Foundation and the Wall Street Journal, and runs a number of other programs and projects, such as The Warsaw Network (a network of think tanks from the former post-Soviet area), Plusy Ujemne (a portal which accesses important changes and legislative novelties), Agenda Polska (series publications in the field of Poland’s development strategy, system solutions and point correction of law), Freedom Room (a formative meeting place and lecture for common sense youth), and the quarterly journal The Warsaw Institute Review”.
See Something? Say Something!
We’re always looking for regional coordinators from countries around the world to help us distribute information on social media, write blog posts and op-eds, and provide us with on-the-ground information from their region.
If you have any tips about stories, or would like to become a regional coordinator, please send us an email at this address!
Until next month,
IGO Watch Team