"I am deeply sad", says Pololikashvili to the UNWTO countries


The secretary general assures that the publication of “those communications”, referring to the open letter signed by several former senior officials and a former secretary general and the articles published – he refers to a YouTube video -, “undermine the transparency and credibility of the organization, which is working hard to prepare for the next General Assembly in Madrid. “He assures that the same publications”they also affect UNWTO member countries, who want to see a strong and united organization, and question the decision-making process of their governing bodies. “

And he assures that “this is the reason why I cannot remain silent and I feel obliged to respond”, violating, he says, “the rules of conduct of the international public administration”

The accusations made by the former UNWTO officials are “heartbreaking and alarming“, he assures, adding:” particularly because, having served in the organization for years, better than anyone else they should protect and defend their image and integrity. “

Pololikashvili ensures that any member of the staff of the UNWTO, when formalizing his contract with the organization, “including myself”, he assures, “he undertakes not to unduly interfere in the affairs of the organization or in its governing bodies” once his contractual relationship has ended.

“Unfortunately,” continues the Secretary General, “while preparations are being made for the General Assembly, this promise has been broken not once, but on several occasions.” And he continues: “I deplore that these attacks are nothing more than a sustained attempt to manipulate and hinder processes decision-making of the organization “.

Previous irregularities

“It is even more worrisome when, During the mandate of the former UNWTO representatives who signed the open letter, irregularities were committed and many important member states withdrew, “says the secretary general, adding:” a situation that the organization has been trying to remedy ever since. “

The general secretary also comments on his election by the Executive Committee, pending ratification at the Madrid Assembly. Ensures that both the procedure and the calendar for the nomination of a candidate by the Executive Committee are the responsibility of the Executive Committee itself, and that the General Secretariat has complied at all times with the procedure and the planned schedule.

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Zurab Pololikashvili breaks his silence with a letter to the member countries.

Legal actions

With the title of “Intoxicating through the media“, Zurab Pololikashvili assures, in his letter to member countries, that he has” a history of legal actions “against a media outlet, of which he does not say the name, for various reasons such as the illegal use of UNWTO posters (2017 ), unauthorized recordings of the organization’s governing bodies (2018-19) and defamation against members of the staff (2019).

It also ensures that there are legal proceedings “started in 2018” against “some of the signatories of the letter“in reference to the open letter made public by former senior officials, among whom is Taleb Rifai, former secretary general. He adds that these legal proceedings were initiated” after the first audit carried out by an external entity, KPMG, to me. request when accessing the position “, in order to” identify potential solutions to a severe financial deficit in the organization. “

Pololikashvili also dedicates a few words to “some member countries” that have decided “to communicate unilaterally through a certain means of communication”, something that, he says, “is a cause of special concern”

Just this week Costa Rica and has requested that the vote be secret and nominal in the Assembly, Saudi Arabia, for its part, continues to demand that its proposal entitled “be included on the agenda.Redesigning Tourism for the Future“”, and Kenya aspired to organize the Assembly, after the resignation of Marrakech, which will finally take place in Madrid.

“Unfounded accusations”

“The UNWTO is your organization,” says Pololikashvili-, the one that serves its members and is always open for any clarification expressed appropriately by its member states. “” It is the integrity of all and the decision-making processes through our governing bodies that I encourage to be respected, “continues the Secretary General And all this, to “ensure the proper functioning of the bodies and decision-making, as well as the interests and institutional image of the organization.”

“With regard to the unfounded accusations,” the secretary general tells member countries in which General Assembly document – A / 24/5 (c) – they can find information on “the unprecedented efforts made since 2018 to progressively strengthen the organization’s transparency and accountability“, and also to” establish an internal oversight function that before 2018 did not have the support required by the previous Secretariat. “It does not make any direct reference to the report that the Ethics Officer will present to the Assembly and about which we report here: Internal concern about the ethical drift of the UNWTO.

The Secretary General’s letter to the UNWTO member countries has been sent this Friday, and is the first time that Zurab Pololikashvili refers to the accusations leveled against him and the questioning of his management, since Saudi Arabia’s attempt to take the UNWTO headquarters to Riyadh came to light in August, a move with which he would have agreed. Although it is not a public explanation, but intended for the member countries, who will or will not have to ratify it in the Assembly. Neither in a press conference, nor in public appearances, has the Secretary General wanted to attend to the press, nor has he answered the questions that we have sent him.