New foundation to earmark nearly $1 billion for U.N. causes

UNITED NATIONS, June -- The head of the new United Nations Foundation, Timothy Wirth, said the $1 billion gifted by billionaire businessman Ted Turner will be specifically earmarked for priority programmes for the environment, population and women, children's health and institutional strengthening.

"We're not going to do anything proper that isn't there and directly within the mandates of the United Nations, and we would do everything within agreed upon policies, policies agreed upon by the 185 member states," he said in an interview with "World Chronicle," the U.N. television programme.

Wirth said the new Foundation will fund programmes that are "outcomes-oriented rather than inputs-oriented."

"We will have, as part of each one of our programmes, a pretty sophisticated monitoring system, which will be consistent with agreements reached with the United Nations, as well," he added.

In September 1997, Turner announced a gift of $1 billion in support of U.N. causes. The gift is in the form of Time-Warner stock, with a value of up to $1 billion, and is to be funded in 10 annual instalments of $100 million each, to the United Nations Foundation Inc (UNF), and other charities established to support U.N. causes.

To oversee the administration of the gift, two organisation have been established: the UNF and the Better World Fund (BWF).

Both organisations are overseen by a diverse Board of Directors comprised of: Ted Turner (U.S.) chair; Ruth Cardoso (Brazil), Gracha Machel (Mozambique); Emma Rotschild (UK); Maurice Strong (Canada); Timothy Wirth (U.S.); Andrew Young (U.S.); and Muhammad Yunus (Bangladesh).

UNF will be the primary vehicle for cooperating with the U.N. and delivering new and additional resources to U.N. projects and activities. The Secretary-General has established a coordinating mechanism, the U.N. Fund for International Partnerships (UNFIP), to work with UNF.

In May 1998 UNF announced its first round of grants in support of U.N. causes. The grants were given to 22 individual projects in three broad categories: children's health ($6.5 million); environment/climate change ($1.4 million); and women and population ($9.3 million). Additionally, grants were also given to projects related to landmines ($2.6 million), food security ($1.2 million) and drug control and poverty alleviation ($1.1 million).

"This is an important first step for the new U.N. Fondation," Wirth said, "We are delighted to be able to support a good package of projects that advance our priority programmes for the environment, population and women, children's health and institutonal strengthening," he added.

The recipients of the grants include the U.N. Children's Fund (UNICEF), the U.N. Development Programme (UNDP), the U.N. Environment Programme (UNEP), the U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA), the World Food Programme (WFP) and the U.N. Drug Control Programme (UNDCP).