Accusing a UNWTO Secretary-General makes him the judge and jury



  1. The UN specialized agencies are autonomous international organizations working with the United Nations.
  2. All were brought into a relationship with the UN through negotiated agreements.
  3. Some existed before the First World War. Some were associated with the League of Nations. Others were created almost simultaneously with the UN. Others were created by the UN to meet emerging needs and it appears the personal needs of a sitting UNWTO Secretary General.

The World is in trouble, specifically, the global world of tourism is devastated by COVID-19. Effective leadership in the World Tourism Organization, Cooperation between UNWTO and WTTC is key, but none of this has been happening since Zurab Pololikasvili became Secretary-General on January 1, 2018.

A perfect crime?

Unfortunately, the one man in charge of UNWTO, Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili managed to play his cards. The only problem is, he was put in charge by manipulation, possible election fraud, and is now in charge to hear and decide on any complaint against himself.

The only sad part is, that most UNWTO member countries have political obligations, and won’t touch this issue. Other countries simply don’t understand it, a few may not care.

Mr. Zurab Pololikasvili most likely would not be Secretary-General Zurab Pololikasvili today, if the 2018 elections were conducted fairly and by the rules.

It becomes clear rules were violated at both the 2017 Executive Council meeting in Madrid, and again at the General Assembly in Chengdu in 2018, allowing Zurab Pololikasvili to be first elected and secondly confirmed. It may have been a perfect crime.

What happened?

The deciding act happened in broad daylight when former Secretary-General Dr. Taleb Rifai was deliberately misinformed by his legal advisor who later received a major promotion by the current Secretary-General Zurab Pololikasvili.

After 3 years eTurboNews finally received a legal analysis of the process and is planning to publish it this week.

Countries had been sending membership fees to UNWTO in Madrid. They had been sending it to an organization that is run by one person and many say run for his own benefit, Zurab Pololikasvili. Zurab Pololikasvili final goal may be to become Prime Minister of Georgia.

Zurab Pololikasvili is the one person who is not only overlooking the UN Affiliated Agency but is also the person who would have the final decision on all issues or complaints. He is the judge and jury in the UNWTO. The UN Oversight committee is not responsible for UNWTO.

What it means?

Even though the issue of fraud in the 2017/18 election could be brought forward, there are no consequences for the accused at this time.

The only consequence would be for the UNWTO General Assembly this year to reject the confirmation of Zurab Pololikasvili for the term of Secretary-General starting in 2022.

It’s not clear when and where this General Assembly will take place. The planned GA for October in Morocco becomes more and more remote.

This may be the plan altogether. With so many African member countries, they may not be able to send a minister to Madrid, if the event was moved back to the place where the UNWTO is headquartered A confirmation would be a lot easier with fewer countries attending a general assembly.

Its only a little more than a month to the Morocco General Assembly, and nothing so far is planned or announced. This may be all plan of a forward planning Zurab Pololikasvili .

What to do when there is an issue with an UN Agency?

The United Nations Office of Internal Oversight Services is an independent office in the United Nations Secretariat whose mandate is to “assist the Secretary-General in fulfilling his internal oversight responsibilities in respect of the resources and staff of the Organization.

This agency however has no jurisdiction over an UN-affiliated agency, including the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)

What is an UN Affiliated Agency like UNWTO?

The UN system is composed of the main Secretariat and separately administered funds and programs and specialized agencies.

For example, funds and programs include the United Nations Children’s Fund and the United Nations Development Program, which have executive boards and executive heads but are under the authority of the UN Secretary-General. In contrast, specialized agencies, such as the Food and Agriculture Organization, the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) have their own governing bodies and executive heads and are not under the authority of the UN Secretary-General.

The agencies, which are legally independent international organizations with their own rules, membership, organs, and financial resources, were brought into a relationship with the United Nations through negotiated agreements.

The World Tourism Organization is the United Nations agency responsible for the promotion of responsible, sustainable, and universally accessible tourism

The UNWTO Secretary-General is the head of this independent UN Affiliated Agency. What it means:

  • A complaint about manipulation, corruption and fraud at the UNWTO Secretary Election in 2017/18 would be decided by the accused.
  • Manipulation and favorism at the 2021 UNWTO Secretary General in 2021 would be decided by the accused.

Unfortunately, the UN won’t look at such a complaint. In the UN Family, specialized Agencies are independent, there is no hierarchy. The UN itself has no authority over the other institutions.  

The Joint Inspection Unit, which is a common body of the UN System could look at it. It would be very unlikely for this body to get involved, It reports to UNWTO itself, and to no one else.

Stay tuned for an upcoming reports on eTurboNews about this issue.

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