U.N. FLAG IN LONDON.
15 September 2007
The U.N. actually started in London. The first General Assembly, the first Security Council meeting, the first
Acting Secretary General (Sir Gladwyn Jebb) were all in London. Hence the first U.N. Information Centre. The London
office was the first in the network of 70 Information Centres around the world following Resolution 13 of the First
that office was irresponsibly shut by Shashi Tharoor, in his futile quest to please whoever it was he sought to please
at the time, the U.N. lost a needed voice in a key permanent member of the Security Council. In a sarcastic note,
departing staff emailed a "titanic" themed farewell. Adding material loss to substantive injury, the U.N. continued
to pay for its unused offices in London while paying for staff without appropriate offices in Brussels.
For the last five years, the U.N. presence in the U.K. was limited to occasional visits by the Secretary General
who was, of course, very well received in a solid U.N. country. However, there has been no regularly available
individual for media representatives
to double-check U.N. related stories. No senior official with any stature to take initiatives which would keep U.N.
friends and related associations abreast of recent developments.
That is why the appointment of former U.N. Deputy Secretary General Lord Mark Malloch-Brown is so significant. An
outstanding communicator with a proven commitment to U.N. objectives is now an integral member of the British
government. In charge of U.N.-related issues, he is not only at the heart of the decision-making process, but would be
a reliable presenter of issues that really matter to the international community. His experience in the World Bank and at
the U.N. will be most valuable both to the U.K. government, as well as to the
Lord Mark Malloch-Brown, who devoted much of his public career to Human Development, does -- like all of us -- have
adversaries and admirers. But very few would be able to contest his indispensable role in 2005-2006 in saving the
Office of Secretary General from disaster. At a time when his selection as a member of the British government was
targeted by anti-U.N. forces, we would like to express appreciation to Prime Minister Gordon Brown for his wise and
valuable choice. We could not think of anyone else who could accomplish the task better. And at this time of serious
challenge to our Organization, we know that his heart -- and brilliant mind -- is in the right place. We know he
will be raising the U.N. flag in London together with that of the U.K. They stick together.