The globe-trotting travels of the UN’s setting chief have been sharply criticised in a draft inner audit as “opposite to the ethos of carbon emission discount”.
Erik Solheim, govt director of UN Surroundings, was travelling for 529 out of the 668 days audited, spending $488,518 (£370,380), in response to the report. The audit additionally mentioned he had “no regard for abiding by the set rules and guidelines” and claimed unjustified bills.
The event comes amid rising concern amongst some UN Surroundings officers, with sources claiming his “haphazard and dictatorial administration model” has “already made us dysfunctional in lots of respects”.
Solheim informed the Guardian he had already paid again cash for situations of oversight and made modifications the place different guidelines had been damaged. He mentioned he couldn’t remark intimately on the audit till it was accomplished and revealed: “If another errors are discovered, we are going to instantly appropriate them.”
Responding to employees concern over his management of the UN Surroundings Programme (Unep), he mentioned: “To safe unprecedented environmental motion, we have to change, as people, as society, certainly because the UN. Nobody is proof against the issue that sort of systemic change usually brings.”
The draft audit, leaked to the Guardian, was compiled by the UN Workplace of Inside Oversight Companies (OIOS) and will likely be finalised after responses from the people named. It’s notably crucial of Solheim’s frequent flying, which included a weekend journey from the US to France and again.
“The intensive journey patterns of [Solheim] didn’t set an instance for the remainder of the employees to comply with,” it mentioned. “In 2011 … the secretary normal acknowledged that ‘What we demand of others, we should do ourselves’. Such intensive journey subsequently presents a status threat to the group, particularly [given] that Unep is meant to be the lead on sustainable setting issues.”
It additionally mentioned Unep, not like a number of different UN organisations, didn’t have insurance policies and incentives for workers to scale back their carbon emissions. In August, Solheim informed a Norwegian aviation journal, individuals shouldn’t have a “responsible conscience” about flying and mentioned he held gold frequent flyer playing cards in any respect three main airline alliances.
“That is merely embarrassing,” mentioned Truls Gulowsen, head of Greenpeace in Norway. “Solheim has made Unep way more seen, which is an efficient factor, partly by travels and discussions with so many individuals. However this report places him in an especially dangerous mild and weakens the credibility of UN’s complete environmental organisation.”
Solheim mentioned: “Making good on our world agenda calls for engagement with the world and certainly an expanded method to our work. I’m subsequently decided to proceed to give attention to our mandate to create actual outcomes for actual individuals, with actual affect on the bottom.”
The draft OIOS audit additionally criticises Solheim’s administration model as “having no regard for abiding by the set rules and guidelines, and correspondence seen confirmed administration willingness to bypass rules and guidelines which have been termed as ‘bureaucratic’.”
The audit mentioned Solheim’s journey had been authorised by a supervisor who reported on to him, not somebody extra senior. “We’ve got instantly put new procedures in place whereby my journey is authorised by the workplace of the secretary normal,” Solheim informed the Guardian.
The audit additionally mentioned Solheim had not supplied justification for 76 days spent in Oslo and Paris on official journey. After a request from a UN official to account for days spent in his dwelling nation, Norway, Solheim, emailed: “We can not settle for this query on vacation vs job … we aren’t any longer residing within the industrial age and so they should cease treating me as if I’m a 07 to 16 manufacturing unit employee … the opposite facet of this coin is that they need to cease asking this silly query.”
Solheim informed the Guardian: “It’s true that I’ve vented frustration with what I understand as extreme forms within the UN system. I imagine absolutely in reforming the UN so we’re higher in a position to confront the pressing challenges going through our planet.” However he added: “If administrative guidelines are discovered to have been neglected, I settle for private duty and provide my unflinching dedication to refining a course of that forestalls them from ever occurring once more.”
The OIOS report additionally criticises Solheim for permitting two senior managers to work unofficially from Paris, quite than Unep headquarters in Nairobi. A supply mentioned employees noticed this association because the managers “getting away with homicide”.
In a single case, the unofficial teleworking resulted in extra journey prices of $23,750, in response to the draft audit. Questioned by officers over the unofficial association in emails seen by the Guardian, Solheim mentioned: “Please blame it on the erratic govt director.”
On one other event, discussing administration reform, Solheim emailed colleagues to say: “There is no such thing as a must be essentially the most legalistic implementer of nonsense. Fairly often it’s simpler to get forgiveness for non compliance than to get permission for change.”
Quite a few Unep employees have contacted the Guardian, on situation of anonymity, criticising Solheim’s management of the organisation, which is ruled and funded by UN member states.
“He thinks he’s a CEO when he’s really a global civil servant,” mentioned one supply. “Loads of us have been very excited when he got here. He’s Norwegian and an ex-environment minister. It was the dream CV that become a nightmare.”
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