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Burma: United Nations

Volume 464: debated on Wednesday 10 October 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what information his Department has about reports that UN Development Programme (UNDP) project staff in Burma have had to pay up to two months salary to UNDP national staff to retain their jobs. (155617)

DFID has raised this matter with the UN Development Programme (UNDP). UNDP has carried out an investigation which failed to reveal any evidence to support that allegation. Subsequently, UNDP invited all its staff in Burma to complete a detailed confidential questionnaire on transparency, accountability and conflict of interest issues. UNDP is currently analysing the responses.

UNDP take incidents and allegations of misconduct extremely seriously, and continue to seek ways to ensure that transparency and accountability are a priority of their programme in Burma. UNDP has reviewed the operational procedures of their programmes and have begun to put in place additional safeguards to ensure the efficient, effective and appropriate use of resources. An internal oversight unit is now being established and a more robust grievance mechanism set up to deal with issues raised by staff, beneficiaries, various other stakeholders and the general public. A code of conduct training for all UN staff in Burma is due to begin soon, focusing on, among other things, transparency, accountability, conflict of interest, abuse of authority and harassment.