Lack of merit, transparency and accountability turn out to be the core reasons for the gradual decrease in the worldwide funding of the specialised agencies of the United Nations (UN), and its other funds and programmes. In addition to the aforementioned, sexual favours, kickbacks and fake billing are the other grave ‘facts’ mentioned in different reports of the donors to the UN agencies and in different countries. Many of these reports state that it is hard to prove the fatalities of the actualities in many of the cases, as they are done very professionally and by fulfilling all required ‘formalities’.Since this is one of the most corrupt countries in the world, UN agencies in Pakistan are no exception to the abovementioned ‘ailments’ and corrupt practices. Many working within the UN system tell horrifying stories of malpractices and deep-rooted corruption. Of course, they talk off the record. Who else could dare to write about the evils in the UN system and other international organisations as Dr Fouzia Saeed has mentioned in her book ‘Working with the Sharks’. But, I strongly believe that someday many bold voices will accumulate, creating a wall-shaking shout out. Let’s have a look at the mandate and scope of the UN agencies as mentioned on the UN System website, “Specialised Agencies are legally independent international organisations with their own rules, membership, organs and financial resources, and were brought into a relationship with the United Nations through negotiated agreements. Some of these agencies existed before the World War I, some were associated with the League of Nations, others were created along with the UN, and yet others were created by the UN itself to meet emerging needs. Given the diversity of their respective fields of action, history and experience, each agency has its own needs and concerns, not to speak of corporate culture.”The following are the specialised agencies, which form the UN System’s Chief Executives Board (CEB) for Coordination. They include the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), International Labour Organisation (ILO), International Maritime Organisation (IMO), International Monetary Fund (IMF), International Telecommunications Union (ITU), United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), Universal Postal Union (UPU), World Bank Group (WBG), World Health Organization (WHO), World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), and World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). Among all the UN Specialised agencies, funds and programmes, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) is the largest one. Rather, it is the lead agency for the UN development system. Its objective is to build inclusive, sustainable and resilient societies. It has a presence in 176 countries and territories, and provides expert advice, training and financial support. Special attention is paid to the needs of the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and countries emerging from conflict.Being the largest in the category of “Funds and Programmes” of the UN System, the UNDP is more ‘vulnerable’ to all the ‘ailments’ which are defined in the funding agencies reports. The Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and countries emerging from conflict, and the developing countries are the best markets of the systematic corruption and malpractices that have created another type of ‘elite’. Perhaps millions of pages required to document the unwarranted practices by the ‘UN elite’ and its staff on the ground. Who can deny that a big chunk of tax-payers money is spent on the lavish living offices and highly sophisticated vehicles, perks and fringe benefits for the snobbish elite of the UN kingdom? The worst part is the huge difference between the ‘impact’ of millions of dollars spent on the projects as shown in their reports and what actually exists on the ground.The European Commission and the EU countries have already reduced their funding to the UN agencies, funds and programmes. Now, they prefer direct development interventions and social investments in poor and marginalised communities worldwide instead of going through the UN. It is an alarming revelation for those in the UN system responsible for taking corrective measures.Neil Bhune, the UN Resident Coordinator, and the country heads of the UN agencies and projects need to take stringent measures to stop the misuse of tax-payers money. A forensic cross-check of the funds utilisation and money spent would help to identify the culprits. Kicking them out of the system and getting the money back would wipe of the stains that are making the UN system look uglyThe advent and spread of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has eased the smooth flow of information, but to the virtual world alone. The excessive use of ICT has made conventional means of mass communication redundant. Earlier, every employer including the UN agencies and international organisations used to advertise the opportunities with all details in the newspapers. Small ads with links to websites replaced the aforementioned practice that used to cost a lot of money. Now the announcements are only restricted to websites and accessible to only those who could spend hours daily surfing the virtual world. The UN system also follows the same practice that has reduced the spread of announcements, which has resulted in an unprecedented increase in favouritism in recruitment.In UN organisations, the procurement process is done with pre-qualified registered vendors through a three-quotation process. Many vendors have managed to register more than one company in different names for the same sort of supplies and services. In many cases, some well-regarded person is asked to arrange three quotations for a specific order of supplies or services. The favourite vendors follow through happily, but, for obvious reasons, at their own exaggerated rates. Some orders are placed to these blue eyed boys without following the three-quotation process if the net worth of the order is less than three thousand dollars. This is a favourite practice in the UN system and in its projects.In Pakistan, the three-quotation process or using hand-picked vendors is common practice. In both cases, the tax-payers’ money is embezzled. In case the vendor is asked to provide services to the third party, the situation is further exacerbated. Concerned UN officials and its project staff does not bother to verify from the third party if their vendor has delivered the right amount of supplies and services. No third party comes out with its complaint to the higher authorities in the UN system. If someone dares to point out discrepancies, it is out of question to oblige the ‘culprit’ with any other assignment.Neil Bhune, the UN Resident Coordinator, and the country heads of the UN agencies and projects need to take stringent measures to stop the misuse of tax-payers’ money. A forensic cross-check of the funds utilisation and money spent would help to identify the culprits. Kicking them out of the system and getting the money back would wipe of the stains that are making the UN system look ugly. A secret complaint mechanism could also be developed to get to the bottom of corrupt practices, and the nexus of the UN officials and vendors. These measures are necessary for the integrity of the UN system and the uplift of its image.The writer is an Islamabad-based policy advocacy, strategic communication and outreach expert. He can be reached at email@example.com. He tweets @EmmayeSyedPublished in Daily Times, March 22nd 2018.