CAIRO (AFP) - The United Nations Development Program said that its "impartiality" requirements were leading it to support the creation of an Middle East centre independent of the world body to draft the controversial annual report on Arab human development.
"UNDP has for some time been exploring the possibility of helping create a new, independent centre situated in the region, that could become the institutional home of an editorially independent" Arab Human Development Report, it said in a statement.
"This would provide full freedom for the authors to promote their views while institutionalising the series of reports as a representative voice of Arab civil society," it said.
The UNDP's statement came after the chief author of the report told AFP that the document would be published in January under the name of the authors, and not, as had been the case in previous years, under the banner of the UN agency.
"The report ... will be published three months late, with the sole endorsement of its authors and not that of the United Nations, after the United States and Egypt voiced reservations over its contents," Nader Farghani said.
The report's authors charged that negative references to Israel's occupation of the Palestinian territories and the US presence in Iraq had triggered US threats to slash funding for the UN body's development budget.
On Wednesday, the US State Department vehemently denied having exerted any pressure against the publication of the report.
The UNDP also denied the authors' allegations in Thursday's statement, but suggested that perceived bias in its editorial content might have been a source of concern.
"Nevertheless, any report coming out under UNDP's name must meet the high standards of impartiality expected of a UN agency," the statement said.
Return to the list <<<<<