Claudia Rosett describes some of the politics behind Zimbabwe's nomination to the UN Commission on Sustainable Development. It seems that one of roots of the UN's problems is that its structure encourages some member nations to spend other members' resources. Third World dictatorships can use their nominal positions to appropriate programs to which they contribute nothing.
One possible solution would cut back the UN's functions to facilitating diplomacy. There isn't any compelling justification for delivering global services through an international bureaucracy. The current army of nongovernment service providers is testimony to the fact that without outside contractors, the UN civil service would be incapable to doing much. So why not cut out the middleman?
Pitting NGOs against the UN for a slice of the money would have the benefit of driving a wedge between these two groups, who now make common cause against the moneybags every year to demand a larger pie. Forcing them to fight over their share might not only create efficiencies through competition it would also reduce a lot of hokum that surrounds the mystique of International Development. Serving the world's poor has always been about the development princes getting rich, either through fat fees or contracts. There's nothing wrong with that. It's the hiding it that's shameful.