UNWTO Manipulation to secure the re-election of Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili continues

A corrupt UNWTO has more tricks set up to fool tourism ministers representing the Executive Council of the UN Specialized Agency.

As the opening session of the UNWTO Executive Council in Georgia comes closer, new tricks have been discovered about how UNWTO Secretary Zurab Pololikashvili and his team try to manipulate a fair election process to reduce the time and chances for other candidates to register and campaign.

 Last week eTurboNews reported about attempts made by Pololikashvili to take Executive Council Members by surprise in proposing last-minute changes in the Council documents to bring the election date forward from May 2021 to January 2021.

If allowed the deadline for new UNWTO Secretary-General candidates would be already in 2 months, November 2020. 

The articles published by eTurboNews triggered many reactions from UNWTO Members and insiders, expressing embarrassment and concerns about Pololikashvili’s actions. It encouraged some members and insiders to check the executive council documents in detail and revert further irregularities to eTurboNews. 

A new shocking illustration was revealed in a document on the
Special Procedures Governing the Council Session during the COVID-19 Pandemic  (click to download PDF)

In this document, a new procedure was introduced that “Proposals and amendments to decisions relating to agenda items shall be submitted in writing to the Secretary-General at least 72 hours before the discussion of the corresponding item so that he can communicate it to all Members of the Council no later than 48 hours before”.

This can clearly be considered as another attempt to force Council Members to accept all changes proposed in regards to the nomination of new candidates for Secretary-General.

Changing this may now already be an impossible task considering the world is growing through the COVID-19 crisis and everyone needs rather more than less time to function.  

Polikashvili knows this. He figured it out and understands exactly what he is doing. Georgia was part of the old Soviet Union. Polikashvili was part of the earlier corrupt government in Georgia.

In 2017 eTurboNews published an article on “How a Georgian journalist sees UNWTO nominee Zurab Pololikashvili for Secretary-General?

Polikashvili is using all tricks possible to manipulate the election process in his favor. 

It is likely that most participants who will attend the Council meeting in Georgia are traveling there today, Monday, September 14. 

Such ministers may not have been at work and checking documents. They most likely did not even notice such last-minute changes, like the proposed change of the election date.

Many most likely studied procedures a week or two ago, when old documents with old deadlines and dates were still provided by UNWTO.

So how are members expected to make proposals and amendments to decisions at the Council 72 hours in advance, if they are not aware of last-minute changes and no longer have 72 hours?

By making such critical changes have only one purpose. Ensuring the re-election of the current secretary-general.

Polikashvili tries to take UNWTO Members by surprise and intends to offer them no chance to discuss such important topics at the upcoming meeting in Georgia.

Most likely hardly any of the UNWTO members and insiders are aware that such a procedure had ever been put in place for other Executive Council meetings. All of this apparently is part of the tricks thought out by Polikashvili

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Another embarrassing fact is that during the four days that the Executive Council Members will be in Georgia, not more than 4 hours and 15 minutes have been reserved for the actual Executive Council meetings.

The rest of the program seems all meant as Pololikashvili´s election campaign with an opening reception, music festival, networking lunches, gala dinners, and excursions to tourist attractions in Georgia.

Members and insiders wonder how in the middle of a devastating global pandemic, UNWTO can justify making all the efforts, expenses, and risks to take the Council session to Georgia, when only four hours are available for the actual council meeting with all main discussions and decisions apparently already pre-cooked.

The answer is simple. Secretary-General as the host wants candidates on his good side.

Topics for the Georgia meetingS:

a) Current trends and prospects of international tourism,

b) Implementation of the General Programme of Work,

c) Establishment of a UNWTO Regional Office for the Middle East in Saudi Arabia,

d) Report on the financial situation of the Organization,

e) Human resources report,

f) Reform of the Organization.

In the short timeframe and with the new procedures set regarding the obligation to submit proposals and amendments to the agenda and decisions 72 hours in advance, there won’t be any scope for discussions at the meeting, and the four hours seem only be meant to give UNWTO officials the change to present their reports and proposals, which have already been approved de-facto if no written comments have been submitted 72 hours in advance.

 With the Council members being pampered in Georgia with all privileges and excellent hospitality extended to them, it is questionable if any member feels comfortable and is given the opportunity to make a critical comment on the mismanagement and manipulations happening at UNWTO.

However, several UNWTO Members and insiders comment that this may not go unnoticed.

In the current COVID-19 situation, it can be hoped that there is still a sense of responsibility at some of the executive council ministers

This type of manipulation may not at all go by unnoticed by the United Nations and may make UNWTO the laughing stock in world politics.

It is important to seek clarification on what is happening with the election process as well as the risks taken to bring Executive Council Members to Georgia for a meeting of only four hours when such discussions are already limited and preset.

The idea is clear silence any critical Council Members.
Only 20% of all UNWTO countries are council members and make the recommendation for most top decisions, including electing the next Secretary-General.

True, the General Assembly will need to endorse such a decision, but there was never an opposition for such an endorsement in the past. Usually, such approvals are taking in the open.

As always eTurboNews reached out by email, Linkedin, Facebook, twitter and Phone to UNWTO for clarification.

Requests for interviews had never been granted since the Secretary General took office.

Specifically, Anita Mendiratta, a special advisor to the Secretary-General, and Marcelo Risi, Head of Media Relations for the Secretaría General lost their skills to communicate with eTurboNews ever since this SG took office on January 1, 2018. During the leadership of Dr. Taleb Rifai, eTurboNews was in touch with UNWTO and both Marcelo and Anita on a constant basis, including. It was confirmed to eTurboNews from numerous sources the SG is not allowing anyone to speak to eTurboNews and made this a condition even at press-conferences he attends.

Consequently, there was no dispute by UNWTO to the items named in this and prior articles on this subject.