FRAUD ALERT: Beware of Scams Implying Association with the United Nations

BEWARE OF SCAMS IMPLYING ASSOCIATION WITH THE UNITED NATIONS

The United Nations has been made aware of various correspondences, being circulated via e-mail, from Internet web sites, text messages and via regular mail or facsimile, falsely stating that they are issued by, or in association with the United Nations and/or its officials. These scams, which may seek to obtain money and/or in many cases personal details from the recipients of such correspondence, are fraudulent.

The United Nations wishes to warn the public at large about these fraudulent activities being perpetrated purportedly in the name of the Organisation, and/or its officials, through different fraud schemes.

  • The United Nations does not charge a fee at any stage of its recruitment process (application, interview, processing, training) or other fee, or request information on applicants’ bank accounts. To apply for a job go to careers.un.org and click on Vacancies. See more on employment-related fraud.
  • The United Nations does not charge a fee at any stage of its procurement process (supplier registration, bids submission) or other fee.  Visit the Procurement Division to see the latest business opportunities with the United Nations.
  • The United Nations does not request any information related to bank accounts or other private information.
  • The United Nations does not offer prizes, awards, funds, certificates, automated teller machine (ATM) cards, compensation for Internet fraud, or scholarships, or conduct lotteries.
  • The United Nations does not approve military vacations or pensions, or release packages in exchange for a fee.

The United Nations strongly recommends that the recipients of solicitations, such as those described above exercise extreme caution in respect of such solicitations. Financial loss and identity theft could result from the transfer of money or personal information to those issuing such fraudulent correspondence. Victims of such scams may also report them to their local law enforcement authorities for appropriate action.

Not an official document. For information only.

Corruption undermines democracy and contributes to instability, warns senior UN anti-crime official

28 August 2019

Corruption undermines democratic institutions, slows economic development and contributes to governmental instability, Mirella Dummar-Frahi, Civil Society Team Leader at the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) warned at the UN Civil Society Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Ms. Dummar-Frahi called for greater cooperation, joint operations and mutual legal assistance among Governments, with involvement from civil society, the private sector and international organizations.

In an interview with UN News on Tuesday, the senior United Nations official pointed out that tackling corruption plays an important role in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Organization’s blueprint for a sustainable future that leaves no one behind.

“The fight against corruption is deeply rooted in Sustainable Development Goal 16, which aims to provide access to justice for all, and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels,” he explained.

“One of the targets within this Goal, Target 6.15, is to ‘substantially reduce corruption and bribery in all its forms’, and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime is the guardian of the only legally binding universal anti-corruption instrument: the UN Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC). The vast majority of UN Member States are parties to the Convention”.

Success in achieving this target is measured by the reduction, on an annual basis, in the proportion of businesses, and people, who paid, or were asked to pay, a bribe to a public official.

“The Convention’s far-reaching approach makes it a unique tool for developing a comprehensive response to the global problem of corruption”, said Ms, Dummar-Frahi. “The countries that are party to it have made great progress, and have improved their anti-corruption regulations and legislation”.

This process has brought the fight against corruption to a higher level, she explained, helping to harmonize legislation and international cooperation, and a peer-review process, adopted in 2009, has created momentum, advancing and evaluating the implementation of the Convention into domestic law.

Civil society engagement an integral factor in tackling corruption

Since 2011, teams from UNODC have been training civil society organizations to work with national authorities, and helping them to take part in anti-corruption events, outreach and other activities.

Civil society, individuals and the private sector need to be encouraged to actively participate in preventing corruption, and raising awareness of its existence, as well as the causes and gravity of the threat it poses, urged Ms. Dummar-Frahi.

“There are three main areas where civil society and other non-State partners can work towards ending corruption: advocacy, monitoring and building expertise,” she said.

“In the course of conducting advocacy, civil society organizations can gain insights and gather information for further monitoring initiatives, which can ensure that standards or obligations have been fulfilled. They can identify gaps, and provide evidence for advocacy at the local, national and international levels”.

“The more expertise they gain, the better assistance they can give to governments in effective implementation of the Convention Against Corruption and other anti-corruption legislation”.

‘There has never been a more urgent time,’ to safeguard children’s right to safe water and sanitation, says UNICEF

27 August 2019

Access to safe drinking water is a right critical to a child’s survival, yet protracted crises have left some 420 million children without basic sanitation, and 210 million lacking access to safe drinking water, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said on Tuesday.

In the first volume of a new report, Water under Fire, the agency outlines how water, sanitation and hygiene services can be planned, financed and executed to safeguard healthy livelihoods for children in fragile and conflict-affected areas.

From Cox’s Bazar to Ukraine to Yemen and similar places of extreme vulnerability, as seen, “the situation is dire for children,” UNICEF Associate Director for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), Kelly Ann Naylor said, acknowledging that conflict-related crises are increasing in frequency, are more prolonged, and maiming the lives of more people.

© UNICEF/Patrick Brown
A young boy carries water in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. (10 July 2018)

“Humanitarian assistance alone will not resolve these issues, but through cross-sector partnerships we can build sustainable and resilient water, sanitation and hygiene services that can create a more stable and peaceful future for children and their families.”

Deadly as bullets

In fragile contexts, lacking safe water and sanitation further restricts the right to health; shutting down hospitals, increasing exposure to preventable diseases, and exacerbates existing conflicts.

Data published by UNICEF in March revealed that scarce clean water supply could be as deadly as bullets, where children under the age of 15 are nearly three times more likely to die from diseases linked to poor sanitation conditions than from violence.

Fragility and armed conflict have increased worldwide over the last decade, the report notes, displacing millions of people globally and straining host communities that must deliver basic services, including water and sanitation to growing populations.

Water is at risk of becoming a “threat multiplier” for war-torn countries from Africa’s Sahel region, to the Middle East., with climate change impacts compounding the effects of a growing water crisis and indirectly accelerating hunger and health crises for entire populations.

Peacebuilding through ‘WASH’

Turning to implementable solutions under way in Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Lebanon, Nigeria, Somalia, the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Yemen and beyond, the report aims to replicate and scale up these efforts into a framework for ensuring resilient water and sanitation services for children globally.

In South Sudan, a result of improved sanitation education has aided households in addressing malnutrition and reducing incidents of gender-based violence, while a joint effort by Tripoli and Lebanon to close water service gaps paved the way for social cohesion between the previously divided groups.

In tandem with the Water Under Fire Campaign launched on 22 March, the report seeks to ensure the rights to water and sanitation for all, while moving toward sustainable development and peace.

Nearing 30 years since the adoption the UN child rights treaty, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, Ms. Naylor stressed, “there has never been a more urgent time to safeguard the right to water and sanitation for every child.”

Technology brings positive change, but ‘collateral damage’ must be minimized: senior UN official

27 August 2019

Digital technology has the potential to bring about a sustainable future, but the “collateral damage” of this transition must be mitigated, says the head of the UN’s technology strategy team, Salem Avan.

Speaking to UN News, Mr. Avan stressed the importance of acknowledging the negative aspects of new technology – which could include job losses and a drastic shift away from traditional ways of working – and finding ways to achieve a successful transition to the so-called ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’, which involves the mass adoption of artificial intelligence, robotics, ‘big data’ processing, the Internet of Things, autonomous vehicles and blockchain technologies.

Mr. Avan, the Director of the Strategy, Policy & Governance Division of the UN’s Office of Information and Communication Technology (OICT), took part in a discussion on the impact of emerging technologies and innovation on society, held on Tuesday during the 2019 UN Civil Society Conference, taking place in Salt Lake City, USA, between 26 -28 August.

The UN, he says, has a strong focus on so-called “smart cities”, which make full use of inter-connected technology to empower disadvantaged residents and tackle challenges in housing, transport, employment and education in urban areas.

At UN Technology Innovation Lab (UNTIL), a newly-established initiative in Malaysia, researchers and scientists are looking into ways of understanding and expanding the benefits of smart cities, promoting sustainable living, and helping to make inclusive growth possible in the country and region. Mr. Avan noted that, in many parts of the world, positive change is already taking place: “technologies are being implemented to improve the overall communal and individual lives of residents”.

Farming with no pesticides, and no soil

For example, a Malaysia-based company, Vfarm, is pioneering a technology which has the potential to have a transformative effect on the citizens of Kuala Lumpur: vertical farms.

According to Rahman Roslan, the brand director of Vfarm, it is far easier and cheaper to buy a bag of candy in Kuala Lumpur than fresh fruit or vegetables. Vertical farms could change this harmful situation, and make nutritious food available to all city dwellers.

The company’s vertical farms in Kuala Lumpur look like laboratories, in which plants are grown in environments where heat and light are precisely controlled to ensure optimal growing conditions, and all without the use of herbicides and pesticides.

Even soil is unnecessary, and a tiny amount of water is used, compared to that needed in traditional agriculture. These factors, says Mr. Roslan, coupled with the fact that transport costs are drastically reduced, mean that the crops produced in vertical farms are healthier and have a far smaller carbon footprint.

Speaking to UN News during the Conference, Mr. Roslan explained that, whilst his company’s vertical farms are currently only producing around one per cent of Kuala Lumpur’s food, he can foresee a future in which the majority of crops in cities around the world are grown in a similar way.

Bridging the digital divide

All elements of society must, said Salem Avan, actively assist lesser-developed cities to integrate advanced technologies, and reduce the stark disparity in the digital divide that exists between richer and poorer parts of the world, as well as within cities:

“While it is inarguable that technology is beneficial to improving the daily lives of many, it also runs the risk of excluding certain urban inhabitants who either lack the resources or the capabilities to adapt to the rapid changes that digitization entails”.

One of the solutions he proposes, is to build partnerships across different sectors, including local and national authorities, civil society and others, to ensure that sustainability, and making sure that no one is left behind, are key goals when new technology is introduced.