Just two weeks since the exclusive press conference in Spain, another opportunity to openly discuss Ines Alberdi’s appointment as United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) Executive Director was thwarted.

During the endorsement of Oscar-winning actress Nicole Kidman on UNIFEM's “Say No to Violence” campaign, reporters asked Kidman, the UN ambassador of goodwill about her reaction to controversies surrounding Alberdi’s appointment. But before she could share her thoughts, UN officials led by Tim Wirth cut her and urged the media to keep the open forum focused on the campaign.

Days after the announcement of her appointment, Alberdi graced a press conference in the offices of the Spanish consulate in New York, inviting only Spanish media, to the dismay of other international media organisations.

Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press lamented: “But why limit Ms. Alberdi’s press availability to media from her own nation, which benefited from the transactions with the UN In Spain, it may be popular to [say], we got something back, for the money we are giving. But non-Spanish media would ask the inconvenient question, ‘did you buy the post?’”

According to the 2006-2007 annual report of UNIFEM, Spain accounted for its largest single contributor in 2006, with US$11.483 million. The country was also cited in the annual report of UNIFEM's parent agency, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for infusing US$700 million. The money was allotted for the UNDP-Spain MDG Achievement Fund.

The influence of money in the process has been the most prominent rallying point of feminists and civil society groups, most notably the Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era (DAWN). For more background, please check the previous We! articles on the issue.

Sources:

Isis International. “Unsolicited advice: Feminists from the South on UNIFEM appointment.” Retrieved from We!,
http://isiswomen.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=928&Itemid=204
on 14 May 2008.

Lee, Matthew Russell (April 10, 2008). “In UNIFEM spin, Alberdi speaks only to Spanish media, India calls Sen more qualified, UNDP silent.” Retrieved from http://www.innercitypress.com/un1unifem041008.html on 14 May 2008.

_____________ (April 22, 2008). “UN women’s agency controversy banned from Kidman’s press conference, saynotoviolence.com.” Retrieved from http://www.innercitypress.com/un2unifemkidman042208.html on 14 May 2008.

“Legislative Reform Lays Foundation for Advancing Gender Equality and Women’s Rights,” Speech delivered by Ines Alberdi, executive director of the UNIFEM on the Third Africa-Spain Women’s Network meeting on 12 May
2008. Retrieved from http://www.unifem.org/news_events/story_detail.php?StoryID=682 on 14 May
2008.

UNIFEM. UNIFEM Annual Report 2006-2007. Retrieved from http://unifem.org/attachments/products/AnnualReport2006_2007_eng.pdf on 19 May 2008

UNDP. 2007 Annual Report. Retrieved from http://www.undp.org/publications/annualreport2007/Spain_MDGs.shtml on 19 May 2008

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