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UN spends millions from climate change fund on flights, hotels

New reports show the UN has been spending large amounts of its climate funds on travel. Source: Getty

The United Nations has allegedly been spending its Green Climate Funds on business class travel and lavish hotels, new reports show. 

This year alone, the Green Climate Fund’s core staffing figures reached US$65 million (AU$94.3 million), and its broader administration bill exceeded US$200 million, Sky News revealed. 

It spent over US$3.7 million on airfares and hotels, which is an increase of US$1.6 million on 2018. 

According to reports, billions were also spent assessing climate change proposals that were never viable. 

“Because the proposals currently under review were developed without the benefit of robust guidance and project eligibility requirements, both their quality and their linkage with country strategies and the GCF transformational goals remain variable,” the budget documents obtained by Sky News said.

“This fact has significant administrative budget implications for the efforts of both the Secretariat and the AE.”

But it’s not the first time the UN has been quizzed on its expenditure. 

In 2018, the UN’s environment chief Erik Solheim was grilled in an internal audit after it was revealed he travelled for 529 of the 668 days audited, spending around US$488,517 doing so. 

The audit said he had “no regard for abiding by the set regulations and rules”, and claimed unjustified expenses. 

Solheim told The Guardian UK he had paid back money for ‘instances of oversight’ and made changes where other rules had been broken. 

“The extensive travel patterns of [Solheim] did not set an example for the rest of the staff to follow,” the report said. 

“In 2011 … the secretary general stated that ‘What we demand of others, we must do ourselves’. Such extensive travel therefore presents a reputation risk to the organisation, especially [given] that Unep is supposed to be the lead on sustainable environment matters.”

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