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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
06USUNNEWYORK1493 2006-08-07 17:18:00 UNCLASSIFIED USUN New York
Cable title:  

UN DEMOCRACY FUND REVIEWS FIRST PROJECT PROPOSALS

Tags:   EAID EUN KDEM KUNR PHUM 
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DE RUCNDT #1493/01 2191718
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 071718Z AUG 06
FM USMISSION USUN NEW YORK
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9783
INFO RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 0763
RUEHUP/AMEMBASSY BUDAPEST 0373
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 1271
RUEHCO/AMEMBASSY COTONOU 0117
RUEHDO/AMEMBASSY DOHA 0151
RUEHJA/AMEMBASSY JAKARTA 1162
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 1418
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 0969
RUEHSA/AMEMBASSY PRETORIA 0684
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS
					  UNCLAS USUN NEW YORK 001493 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID EUN KDEM KUNR PHUM
SUBJECT: UN DEMOCRACY FUND REVIEWS FIRST PROJECT PROPOSALS

SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED (ENTIRE TEXT)

BEGIN SUMMARY:

1.(SBU) The second UN Democracy Fund (UNDEF) Advisory Board
meeting was held in New York on July 18 to consider project
proposals from an initial pool of over 1,300 submissions. All
17 Advisory Board members and UNDEF staff were present. Based
on democracy building guidelines, the UNDEF Secretariat
reduced the initial tranche to 179 projects for Board
consideration. As the funds requested for these projects ($70
million) totaled more than the money available in the fund
($49 million), the Secretariat proposed that all 179 projects
receive proportionately reduced funding across the board.

2.(SBU) As an alternative to arbitrary-across-the-board
reductions, USUN Ambassador Alejandro Wolff advocated for the
fast tracking of smaller projects and a further analysis of
the remaining projects for additional prioritization. The
Secretariat agreed to resubmit a downsized project list to

SIPDIS
the membership based upon clear criteria for democracy
building, aimed especially at countries in transition. The
new list of 121 projects has just been released for members'
consideration. USUN will work with the Secretariat and other
board members to try to fast track some of the programs
before the UNGA meets in September. End summary.

3.(SBU) The second Advisory Board meeting took place at UN
headquarters on July 18. All board members were present,
including Dr. Rima Khalaf-Hunaidi (Chair), Prof. Guillermo
O'Donnell, Prof. Michael Doyle, Mr. Amir Dossal (ex-officio),
Member States appointed by the SYG (South Africa, Benin,
Hungary, Chile, and Indonesia), the six top UNDEF donors
(Australia, France, Germany, India, Qatar and the United
States), and two NGO members (Civicus and International
Commission of Jurists). Ambassador Wolff represented the U.S.

PROGRESS OF THE FUND/ PROPOSALS

4.(SBU) Director Amir Dossal announced that Ireland, Italy,
Japan, Republic of Korea, Latvia, Mongolia, Spain, Sweden,
and the European Commission (EC) had all expressed interest
in contributing to the Fund. Dossal asked the Board to
consider creating an additional seat for multilateral
organizations, such as the European Community, which the U.S.
opposed. Deputy UNDEF Director Magdy Martinez-Soliman
presented an overview of the project proposals received and
the selection process used to create the short list. The
UNDEF office plans to present a "lessons learned" paper on
the project selection process. Over 1,303 projects were
received online, covering all five regions and 130 Member
States. 70% came from civil society organizations, 18% from
UN entities, and 12% from government and regional
organizations.

5.(SBU) The Advisory Board discussed various aspects of the
proposal list. Hungary, Germany, France, and South Africa
supported the Secretariat's notion to proportionately fund
all 179 projects, with an overall budget of $38 million. The
U.S. and South Africa requested greater clarification on the
criteria used to review projects. Benin recommended the
entire list of projects be approved as presented, and that
the budgets of the projects subsequently be reviewed and
reduced at a later date based on Secretariat recommendations.
Chile emphasized the need for gender equity to be explicitly
factored into the project approval list, and expressed its
concern about the high number of UN-housed projects.
Australia expressed concern about the idea of arbitrary cuts
and the fact that there had been no recommendation from the
Secretariat about what should be cut from budgets of larger

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projects. Considering that nearly 70% were within $100,000 of
the maximum allowed, there were inevitably some budget items
that could and should be reduced.

6.(SBU) Ambassador Wolff emphasized that the UN must live
within its resources. He noted that in order to approve the
short list of 179 projects, the Secretariat had in effect
mandated an arbitrary funding cut for all projects, which
could jeopardize the effectiveness of some important projects
and penalize those applicants that had submitted tightly
funded proposals. He suggested that Board fund immediately
those meritorious smaller scale proposals under $300,000 as a
means to create a positive start for UNDEF and to recognize

applicants that had calculated tightly budgeted proposals. He
noted the first year of funding would set precedents and
discipline was needed at this time. India echoed the concerns
of Amb. Wolff, stating that projects located in high-income
countries should be a lower priority, there should be fewer
UN-housed projects, and that only two-thirds of the UNDEF
funds should be spent at this time. Qatar also supported
moving ahead on the smaller scale projects, while requesting
more information about the other projects.

7.(SBU) Secretariat Chair Rima Khalaf-Hunaidi encouraged
Board members to move forward with funding of projects right
away and stressed the importance of not delaying a decision
for too long through multiple revisions of the list. She
supported a proportional reduction for all projects, but
stated that Board consensus on the issue clearly did not
exist.

NEXT STEPS

8.(SBU) Dossal agreed to revise the list of proposals and
forward it for reconsideration by members of the board.
Written criteria used for selection would also be provided.
No more than two-thirds of the total UNDEF budget would be
recommended for spending on the projects in order to maintain
a strategic reserve. The number of UN-housed projects would
be reduced and the Board could continue discussions on-line.

9.(SBU) On July 27 all Board members received the revised
list from Dossal's office. Final approval of project concept
papers is expected by August 15.

10.(SBU) The U.S. has assessed this revised shortlist and
will work with other delegations to garner consensus and move
ahead before the UN General Assembly convenes in September.
We will recommend fast tracking to demonstrate concrete
progress on this key U.S. initiative.
BOLTON