15 MARCH 2015
|WHILE HARD-WORKING STAFF JOBS ARE CUT, WHAT DOES VIJAY NAMBIAR REALLY DO?!
When Secretary General Ban Ki-moon invited the media to transparently observe the signature of a "compact" where senior U.N. officials were declaring their financial situation, the
name of former Chef de Cabinet and Special Advisor to Myanmar Vijay Nambiar was mentioned. Yet he was not around to sign. A spokesman dutifully mentioned that he "might be on travel!"
A couple of days later a statement was released "on behalf of Special Advisor Vijay Nambiar" on Myanmar Union Day in praise of a presumed Deed of Commitment signed by "a number of stakeholders"
including the President and welcoming "the commitment to start work on a Framework for a Political Dialogue," etc.
However, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Al-Hussein, issued a strong
rejection of Myanmar's government policy, stressing it was going in the wrong direction. That country needed to urgently get back on track, he admonished, in this crucial year to ensure long-term
reconciliation, rural development, adherence to human rights, allowing freedom of expression, and the right to peaceful protest. Mr. Nambiar, who had been described by several reports as
supporting an oppressive regime on Sri Lanka, was similarly branded as siding with the military establishment in Myanmar. He was reported to be with the Under-Secretary General for Political
Affairs, Jeffrey Feltman, during his recent exploratory visit there. Questions, however, are being raised about his whereabouts, and the nature of his precise work.
Incidentally, would the recent appointment of another Indian, Atul Khare, as Under-Secretary General for Field Support hurt Mr. Nambiar's prospects? Or would he manage to hang in there
for the next couple of years in the hope of finding a way to persuade another new Secretary General to keep him on the U.N. payroll at the expense of very hard-working, dedicated
junior staff who are facing job cuts as higher paid political appointees parade as Special Advisors?!
India, a crucial U.N. country, habitually fielded some of the best international civil servants, despite a couple of awkward exceptions, since 1945. The legendary C.V. Narasimhan, a
former Chef de Cabinet and UNDP Administrator, was a prominent example, almost unforgettable to those with institutional memory. Vijay Nambiar's ineffective hanging around while
hard-working junior staff are dispersed for budgetary purposes is not only counter-productive to the U.N. but also to a most deserving member state.