What does the UN response to Mr. Wasserstrom’s case say about the moral authority of the institution? According to the Government Accountability Project, the U.N.’s ethics office received 343 inquiries–and this is only part of a part of a series of problems that render the institution susceptible to critics.
Even though he won his case, Mr. Wasserstrom said a United Nations oversight panel judge’s decision last month to award him only $65,000 of his claimed $3.2 million in total damages had sent a message that “clearly tells U.N. staff that even when a whistle-blower wins, he loses.”
The coercive pressure of the withholding threat, Mr. Wasserstrom said in a letter to Mr. Kerry, could force changes in what Mr. Wasserstrom described as an organizational culture in which “U.N. personnel who are aware of misconduct, corruption and fraud are likely to remain silent.”
Other issues include the Haiti outbreak, the negative impact of peacekeeping missions, and the institutional politics–baked into the structure–that reduce risk-taking, give every country a voice (even when they don’t warrant it), among other issues.