We wrote about the corruption and inefficiency of the United Nations when former General Assembly President John Ashe was arrested in Manhattan’s Southern District as part of an investigation into bribery last fall. Now, Anthony Banbury, who was the assistant secretary general until just last month, has penned a scathing take-down of his former employer in the New York Times:
The world faces a range of terrifying crises, from the threat of climate change to terrorist breeding grounds in places like Syria, Iraq and Somalia. The United Nations is uniquely placed to meet these challenges, and it is doing invaluable work, like protecting civilians and delivering humanitarian aid in South Sudan and elsewhere. But in terms of its overall mission, thanks to colossal mismanagement, the United Nations is failing.
Six years ago, I became an assistant secretary general, posted to the headquarters in New York. I was no stranger to red tape, but I was unprepared for the blur of Orwellian admonitions and Carrollian logic that govern the place. If you locked a team of evil geniuses in a laboratory, they could not design a bureaucracy so maddeningly complex, requiring so much effort but in the end incapable of delivering the intended result. The system is a black hole into which disappear countless tax dollars and human aspirations, never to be seen again.
The first major problem is a sclerotic personnel system. The United Nations needs to be able to attract and quickly deploy the world’s best talent. And yet, it takes on average 213 days to recruit someone. In January, to the horror of many, the Department of Management imposed a new recruitment system that is likely to increase the delay to over a year.
Blue model-style bloat, good intentions gone awry, wasted human and financial capital—this story has it all. When the left-leaning and internationalist New York Times is publishing op-eds bemoaning the condition of the United Nations, you know things have gotten really bad.
Even for skeptics like ourselves, Banbury’s tell-all contains some shocking details and anecdotes. Read the whole thing.