Why do we continue to panda to the WWF?

The latest embezzlement scandal will raise questions about how much we trust unaccountable NGOs with our money

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WWF funding is not simply a black and white issue
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The Commentator
On 23 February 2012 23:41

Not only do Western governments want to tax us to the hilt to pay for reckless corporatist endeavours – now they want you to trust them to outsource jobs to unaccountable non-governmental organisations, too.

So much for the age of transparency.

Norwegian taxpayers will be livid to learn that almost 40 million Norwegian Kroners, nearly £3.5m of their cash has been put directly at risk by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) through ‘financial mismanagement’ in Tanzania.

These contracts are often awarded to ideologically driven organisations like the WWF, in this case for ‘environmental civil society projects’ and assisting in the delivery of local data on forest carbon stocks. 

The Norwegian government has now suspended these two projects while it investigates embezzlement.

This begs a serious question – why do we continue to trust NGOs with opaque processes to perform work that sees so much of Western taxpayers’ money poured into inane projects?  

It is of course in the WWF’s interests to vie for contracts such as these, not just because it has an ideological bias, but also because their very survival depends on money from government sources.

In 2010, WWF received over €88m from ‘public sector finances’ (our money, basically) including reams of cash from DFID, the World Bank and USAID. This accounted for 17 percent of their budget in that year, when they only spent 55 percent of their money on their ‘programmes’. 18 percent of their money was spent on ‘fundraising’.

You get what we’re saying here, right? You and I are paying for WWF to fundraise. As if that wasn’t bad enough, now millions of pounds/euros/dollars (delete as appropriate) are being placed at risk of embezzlement and misappropriation.

WWF along with numerous other NGOs position themselves as an organisation through which governments can carry out their ‘international obligations’ with peace of mind. The reality is that these guys are stifling local competition for these contracts and crowding out free enterprise which would be far better scrutinised – and rightly so. The question must be asked: Who put these guys in charge, anyway?

Kimunya Mugo Munya, the spinner-in-chief for WWF’s outfit in Eastern and Southern Africa informs us that eight staff members have been dismissed as a result of this fraud, with a further one resigning of their own volition. Two senior members of WWF staff have also resigned as a result and we’re supposed to be reassured that ‘WWF International is investing its own funds into further investigations’ – but they’re not your funds are they – Mr. Mugo Munya? They’re ours.

If something like this occurred on the watch of BP or Shell or some other ‘evil oil-grubbing capitalist entity’, the Guardian and the BBC would have front page splashes for days – sending scores of correspondents abroad to root out the corruption.

So why the deafening silence on this?

It’s only a matter of time until we wake up to just how much of our money is squandered on these projects every day. If you thought the EU was bad… you ain’t seen nothing yet.

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