Lack of UN oversight of WFP support to North Korea

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The United Nations’ World Food Program failed to carry out sufficient inspections of food distribution sites in North Korea to ensure that supplies went to the country’s suffering people rather than the dictatorial communist regime, according to the U.N. agency’s own internal watchdog.

The same audit says the WFP inflated the number of monitoring tours that it made, and could not provide documentation to back up the North Korean government’s rationale for sometimes blocking the inspection visits.

Further, North Korean government staffers seconded to WFP operations had a hand in operating U.N. computer networks and data-bases, a situation that the watchdog warned “may lead to errors, omissions and potentially, fraud not being detected and remedied on a timely basis.”

Moreover, even WFP’s knowledge of what aid supplies it has received from abroad are based on the say-so of a regime-run company that the watchdog says may be lying about the amount of work it does, overcharging the U.N. for the work—and in any case is doing it without a contract, which keeps the relationship legally invisible.

For its part, WFP maintains that the problems it faces are more the result of underfunding. In response to questions from Fox News, the agency declared that the lack of aid money “directly undermines our ability to fully staff our activities in country, including management and monitoring, according to plans approved in project documents”—not to mention the threat to “WFP’s ability to support the nutritional needs of young children and their mothers.”


This entry was posted in by Grant Montgomery.

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