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Oct 23, 2022

How the Lack of Transparency at the UN Relates to Corruption

A shocking AP investigation showed that the World Health Organization (WHO) handed golden coins and cars to Assad regime officials.

In the UN's procurement database, the identity of some suppliers is suppressed for privacy or security.


In meetings with UN officials and donor states, I've been highlighting—with numbers—that the UN's operations in Syria are the least transparent compared to the top five aid recipient countries in the world, as will be highlighted in our Observatory of Political and Economic Networks and SLDP report tomorrow.

The typical response from UN agencies has been: Don't worry about it; there's nothing hidden in there. In fact, donor states know who these suppressed suppliers are.

But donor states say they never ask for the identity of these suppressed suppliers.

I calculated today the share of suppressions broken down by UN agency. The WHO has the HIGHEST share of suppressions. In fact, over 2016–2021, the WHO procured nearly $39 million from Syria. Suppliers' identities were suppressed for a whopping 82% of spending ($32 million).

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