Back in the '70s and '80s when the UNHCR was properly managed by logistics people who were focused on the tasks at hand, the agency was effective at rapidly deploying vast functioning refugee camps complete with standpipes, drainage ditches, sewerage, medical tents and Sawyer stoves at the drop of a hat. Within 72 hours of a flood of displaced persons arising somewhere, the UNHCR was on the spot with tents and fresh water.
Since then of course it has become absolutely rotten, corrupt and ineffective. Recently, instead of building refugee camps in Greece and Italy, its junior staff whine to news reporters about the shortcomings of democratically elected governments such as that of the Republic of Hungary whilst they watch thousands of untended migrants walk past their own air conditioned hotel rooms.
Small wonder then that R4's File on Four has found evidence of the most shocking waste and financial incompetence amongst the UN agencies; the UNHCR, instead of deploying tents, spends £7m a year of its budget on its own Press Office, and half the remainder on its own petty officials and bureaucrats. Waste, corruption, fraud and lack of transparency and proper accounting amongst the UNHCR, WFP and UNICEF are endemic, and the UK and other donor nations are being denied any proper accounting for the hundreds of millions poured into these bodies.
It's time we either cleared out the top three or four management layers of this Augean stables and put in place the sort of effective logicians we had in the past, or time we ceased funding the whole rotten, unaccountable, shoddy pile of corruption altogether.