12 April 2013
General Assembly
GA/11358

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixty-seventh General Assembly

Plenary

73rd Meeting (AM)


General Assembly Confirms Appointment of Helen Clark to Second Term as UNDP


Administrator, Adopts 8 Texts Recommended by Budget Committee

 


Committee Texts Address Wide Range of Issues, among Them Human Resources

Management Reform, Accountability, Remediation after Storm Sandy, Common System


The General Assembly today confirmed the Secretary-Generalís appointment of Helen Clark to a second term as Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and also adopted eight consensus texts recommended by its Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary), addressing, among other issues, human resources management, progress in setting up an accountability system and the cost to recover from damage to Headquarters caused by storm Sandy last October.


Ms. Clark will begin her next four-year term on 20 April. †She is the former Prime Minister of New Zealand and was first appointed as UNDP Administrator in 2009, becoming the first woman to lead the agency tasked with spearheading efforts to eradicate extreme poverty and promote good governance under its special General Assembly mandate.


Among the texts adopted today was one on human resources management, by which the Assembly addressed management reform, recruitment and staffing, activities of the Ethics Office, the Secretary-Generalís mobility initiative and his policy on disciplinary matters and possible criminal behaviour by staff.


By its terms, the Assembly, stressing the fundamental importance of management reform to enhance the Organizationís efficiency and effectiveness, asked the Secretary-General to report during the main part of its sixty-ninth session on implementation of ongoing reforms, with a focus on whether they were yielding the expected benefits and other concrete improvements.


Further, the Assembly, noting with serious concern the slowness in filling vacant posts and in achieving full gender parity among staff, asked the Secretary-General to report on the reasons for such delays and ways to rectify them.† The Secretary-General was also called upon to implement a more effective tool to ensure an equitable geographical distribution in relation to the posts financed through the regular budget.


By another consensus text, the Assembly, concerned about the ineffectiveness of the United Nations current systems for monitoring and evaluating progress and performance, and the weaknesses in its financial reporting arrangements, asked the Secretary-General to start implementing the results-based management framework in a phased manner and take further steps to ensure the compacts system became a meaningful, powerful accountability instrument.


As part of a wide-ranging text on ďspecial subjectsĒ related to the programme budget for the 2012-2013 biennium, the Assembly authorized the Secretary-General to enter into commitments of up to $6.06 million for construction and mitigation work and up to $131.42 million for remediation work to enable the Organization to recover from storm Sandy.


Further to that text, the Assembly addressed the report of the Board of Auditors on information and communications technology in the Secretariat, the emergency management system, the feasibility study on the Headquarters 2014-2034 accommodation needs, the Organizationís safety and security management system, and the standards of accommodation for air travel.


In a consensus text on the United Nations common system, the Assembly noted the decision of the International Civil Service Commission (ICSC) to conduct a comprehensive review of the compensation package for staff in the Professional and higher categories, and report on its findings during the main part of the sixty-ninth session.


By other terms, it endorsed ICSCís decision to support the recommendation of the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund to raise the mandatory age of separation to age 65 for new staff of member organizations of the Fund effective no later than 1 January 2014, and welcomed the strategic review being undertaken by ICSC on the implications of applying the increased age to current staff members.


Other consensus texts adopted focused on the report of the Joint Inspection Unit, the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals, the report of the Office of Internal Oversight Services, and the budgetary and financial situation of the organizations of the United Nations system.


The General Assembly will reconvene at a time and date to be announced.


Background


The General Assembly met this morning to take action on eight texts that the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) approved by consensus at its first resumed session from 4-28 March (for details, see Press Release GA/AB/4061, issued 28 March).


The first report (A/67/673/Add.1) contains a draft resolution on progress towards an accountability system in the United Nations, by which, the Assembly would endorse the conclusions and recommendations in the ACABQís (Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions) related report and note with concern that the Organizationís current legacy systems for monitoring and evaluating progress and performance, and the weaknesses in the financial reporting arrangements, do not contribute to effective monitoring. †It would ask the Secretary-General to start implementing the results-based management framework in a phased manner by developing an action plan and incorporating into the Umoja design the Assemblyís recommendations in terms of planning, programming, budgeting, monitoring, reporting and evaluation, and to further refine that framework, taking into account lessons learned, challenges and the views of relevant bodies, among other things.


It would ask the Secretary-General to continue implementing the enterprise risk management policy and to take further steps to ensure the compacts system becomes a meaningful and powerful instrument of accountability.


The second report (A/67/677/Add.1) contains a draft resolution on special subjects relating to the programme budget for the biennium 2012-2013, focused on six areas: †information and communications technology (ICT):  report of the Board of Auditors on audit and evaluation of ICT in the United Nations Secretariat; organizational resilience management system:  the emergency management framework; feasibility study on the United Nations Headquarters accommodation needs 2014-2034; revised estimates relating to section 34 of the programme budget for the biennium 2012-2013 for remediation work in the aftermath of storm Sandy; safety and security management system for the United Nations; and standards of accommodation for air travel.


By its terms, the Assembly would endorse the conclusions and recommendations in the reports of the Advisory ACABQ and the Board of Auditors on those subjects.  It would ask the Secretary-General to propose a revised ICT strategy by the Assemblyís sixty-ninth session; include a comprehensive management framework based on well-defined concepts and effective monitoring and evaluation mechanisms in that strategy; and implement his action plan to strengthen information security as a matter of priority.


The Assembly would approve the organizational resilience management system approach as the emergency management framework, as well as ask the Secretary-General to give a detailed accounting of the full cost of that initiative and submit a progress report on its implementation during the first part of the Assemblyís resumed sixty-eighth session.


Further, the Assembly, noting that the Secretary-Generalís expanded study on the Headquartersí long-term accommodation needs was not sufficiently precise or comprehensive to facilitate decision-making by the Assembly, and did not give equal treatment to all the options presented, would ask the Secretary-General to submit a new report with comprehensive information on all viable options.  The Assembly would also decide that the Secretary-Generalís pursuit of negotiations with the intention to keep option 3 viable shall in no way represent a commitment by the Organization and shall be without prejudice to any Assembly decision.  Nor shall it entail legal or financial liability to the United Nations.


The Assembly would authorize the Secretary-General to enter into commitments during the 2012-2013 biennium of up to $6.06 million under section 34, Construction, alteration, improvement and major maintenance, for mitigation work, and of up to $131.42 million to enable remediation work.  It would note that $137.85 million in remediation work was expected to be reimbursed under the terms of the United Nations insurance policies and that the total estimated amount of non-recoverable damages would be no more than $11.07 million.  It would decide to establish a multi-year special account for insurance recovery and expenditures relating to the damage in the stormís aftermath until 31 December 2015, with a possible extension depending on the status of the insurance claims process.


The Assembly, stressing the importance of ensuring full accountability for compliance with safety and security policies and guidelines, and of monitoring managerial performance throughout the United Nations, would ask the Secretary-General to continue to report thereon in the context of his relevant reports.  It would stress that the armed security services from private security companies to secure the Organizationís premises and personnel should be used as a last resort when other alternatives were inadequate.


The Assembly would ask the Secretary-General to report at the start of the Assemblyís sixty-eighth session on the projected total expenditure on air travel under the regular budget, by budget section, including payments under lump-sum schemes, for the 2012-2013 biennium, with corresponding data for the previous two bienniums.  It would decide that for official travellers below the level of Assistant Secretary-General, the standard of accommodation for air travel would be business class for single-leg journeys of nine hours or more and for multi-leg journeys of 11 hours or more, including a maximum of two hours of connection time, provided that the journey to the next destination resumed within 12 hours.


Further, the Assembly would decide that the Secretary-General shall, as an interim measure pending the outcome of the review to be concluded in 2015, revise the provision for determining the travel-related lump-sum payment to ď70 per cent of the least restrictive economy class fareĒ, and it would ask the Secretary-General to provide, in his next report on the subject, an analysis on the impact of implementing that provision and to make more proposals on modifying the lump-sum scheme.


The Secretary-General would take action to limit the use of exceptions to the standards of accommodation for air travel and present proposals for enhancing controls in that area by no later than the Assemblyís sixty-ninth session.  Lastly, the Assembly would decide that the changes implemented by the text would not affect the current standards of accommodation or the daily subsistence allowance of members of United Nations organs or subsidiary organs, committees, councils and commissions.


The next report (A/67/816) has a text on human resources management, which is focused on eleven areas: †human resources management reform; recruitment and staffing; comprehensive assessment of the system of geographical representation; mobility; composition of the Secretariat; consultants; staff-management relations; practice of the Secretary-General in disciplinary matters and possible criminal behaviour; activities of the Ethics Office; and other matters.


By its terms, the Assembly would endorse the conclusions and recommendations in the ACABQ reports on those subjects.  Stressing the fundamental importance of human resources management reform to enhancing the Organizationís efficiency and effectiveness, the Assembly would urge the Secretary-General to ensure that lessons learned from implementing previous reforms were taken into consideration when formulating new proposals, and it would ask him to issue a progress report during the main part of the Assemblyís sixty-ninth session on implementation of ongoing reforms, with a focus on whether they were yielding the expected benefits and other concrete improvements.


The Assembly would ask the Secretary-General to ensure that proposals for the Assemblyís consideration be as detailed and comprehensive as possible and go beyond identifying broad principles, overall direction and key elements.  Noting the Secretary-Generalís efforts to improve the performance appraisal system, in line with paragraph 42 of section IV of its resolution 65/247, the Assembly would express concern over the shortcomings in the current sanctions system for underperformance, which may adversely impact productivity and undermine the Secretariatís ability to implement its mandates.


The Assembly would regret the overall slow progress to date in implementing continuing appointments, and reiterate its request that the Secretary-General report to the Assembly on their implementation in the context of his next report on human resources reform.  It would note with serious concern that the 120-day target for filling a post had not been reached, as well as ask the Secretary-General to investigate the reasons for delays at each stage of the staff selection and recruitment process, report on the outcome of those efforts and propose during the Assemblyís sixty-ninth session appropriate steps to address the issues identified.


The Assembly would confirm that the placement of successful candidates from the young professionals programme should be made at the P-1 or P-2 level, endorse the G-to-N arrangement under the Young Professionals Programme, emphasize that candidates sitting for the programme examination should be neither advantaged or disadvantaged by the geographic location of their exam, and ask the Secretary-General to conduct a comprehensive review of the method and format of the exam, including its cost implications, while ensuring a level playing field for candidates worldwide.


In addition, the Assembly would express serious concern that progress towards the goal of a 50/50 gender balance in the United Nations remained elusive and reiterate its call on the Secretary-General to bolster efforts to attain and monitor gender parity in the Secretariat.  The Assembly would ask the Secretary-General to present proposals to create by its sixty-ninth session a more effective tool to ensure an equitable geographical distribution in relation to the posts financed through the regular budget.


It would note the Secretary-Generalís intention to introduce a managed mobility policy, beginning with a two-year preparation phase, followed by a period of staged implementation, starting from 1 January 2015, and acknowledge that the matter was subject to further Assembly decisions and approval.  It would decide that mobility meant a change in position that involved one or a combination of a change of role, function, department, duty station or a move from the Secretariat to and from a United Nations agency, fund or programme.  The Assembly would ask the Secretary-General to give it a comprehensive report during the main part of its sixty-eighth session on how to further refine the proposed mobility policy, as well as to outline and present an alternative to the proposed framework that would incorporate revised incentives and leverages that promoted geographic mobility.


The Assembly would stress that $1-a-year contracts should only be granted under exceptional circumstances and be limited to high-level appointments and ask the Secretary-General to prepare guidelines on the use of those contracts.  It would ask the Secretary-General to inform the ACABQ on a regular basis about the issuance of such contracts.  The Assembly would ask the Secretary-General to present to it the requirements for Government-provided personnel in the relevant budget proposals and to report thereon.


Further, the Assembly would reiterate its concern over the increased use of consultants, especially for the Organizationís core activities, and ask the Secretary-General to identify in what areas, functions and activities, if any, consultants were hired or rehired for more than one year and to report during the Assemblyís sixty-ninth session on that and its related costs.


On staff-management relations, the Assembly would ask the Secretary-General to revise his bulletin ST/SGB/2011/6 in line with existing staff regulations.  Noting with concern the ongoing backlog of disciplinary cases and that many of them had not been concluded within a reasonable timeframe, the Assembly would urge the Secretary-General to intensify his efforts to complete disciplinary cases in a timely manner and eliminate the remaining backlog of cases as soon as possible.  The Assembly would urge the Secretary-General to encourage senior officials who had not yet publicly disclosed a summary of their assets to do so as soon as possible.  Noting the Secretary-Generalís intention to conduct a comprehensive review of the existing policy for protection against retaliation in the Organization, the Assembly would ask the Secretary-General to expedite development of methods towards that end, and to report thereon during the sixty-ninth session.


On other matters, the Assembly would express confidence that the Secretary-General had complied with the judgements of the United Nations Dispute Tribunal and United Nations Administrative Tribunal with regard to awarding and severance of employment contracts in the Secretariat.  It would ask the Secretary-General to report on improvements in the process for reporting, fact-finding and resolving misconduct on, among other things, the relationship between policy administered by the Ethics Office and the Organizationís various oversight, adjudicative, disciplinary, and dispute resolution mechanisms, and internal mechanisms for reporting misconduct, including through the supervisory chain of command.


The next report (A/67/817) contains a text on the report of the Joint Inspection Unit for 2012 and programme of work for 2013 by which the Assembly would reiterate its request to the executive heads of the participating organizations to fully comply with the statutory procedures for consideration of Joint Inspection Unit reports.  In particular, that would mean submitting their comments, including information on what they intended to do regarding the recommendations for the Unit, distributing reports in time for consideration by legislative organs, and providing information on the steps to be taken to implement those recommendations.


Also by the draftís terms, the Assembly would reiterate its request for the provision of all information requested by the Unit.  In addition, it would request the Unit to consider optimizing the number of projects in its programme of work through prioritization and would reiterate its request to the Unit to continue to focus its reports on important priority items, identifying concrete managerial, administrative and programming questions aimed at providing the General Assembly and other legislative organs of participating organizations with practical and action-oriented recommendations on precisely defined issues.


A report (A/67/678/Add.1) on the United Nations common system contains a text by which the Assembly would note the decision of the International Civil Service Commission (ICSC) to conduct a comprehensive review of the compensation package for staff in the Professional and higher categories, and asked that the Commission in undertaking that review bear in mind the financial situation of the organizations participating in the common system and their capacity to attract a competitive workforce.  ICSC would report on its findings during the main part of the sixty-ninth session.


Further, the Assembly would approve, effective from the school year in progress on 1 January 2013, ICSCís recommendations in paragraph 44 of its report and annex III thereto and note with concern that the number of claims for the education grant has increased by 24 per cent system-wide since the last biennial review in 2009, resulting in a 35 per cent increase in the overall amount of education grant disbursed between 2009 and 2011.  Concerning pensionable remuneration, the Assembly would take note of the decision in paragraph 59 of its report.


It would approve effective 1 January 2013 the revised standards of conduct for the international civil service as contained in annex IV to the Commissionís report, endorse ICSCís decision to support the recommendation of the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund to raise the mandatory age of separation to age 65 for new staff of members organizations of the Fund effective no later than 1 January 2014, and welcome the strategic review by ICSCís Secretariat on the implications of applying the increased age to current staff members.


Concerning contractual arrangements, the Assembly would take note of the decisions in paragraph 104 of its report.  On conditions of service of staff in the Professional category and higher, it would note that tax changes in the comparator administration had resulted in an increase of 0.12 per cent in the salaries of its officials over 2011 levels.


By a draft decision on the budgetary and financial situation of the organizations of the United Nations system (document A/67/662/Add.1), the Assembly would ask the Secretary-General, in his capacity as chair of the United Nations System Chief Executives Board for Coordination (CEB), to coordinate the annual compilation of analysis relating to the financial situation of organizations participating in the common system, including, inter alia, a focus on the budgetary implications on adjustments to all elements of staff costs, for both the most recently-completed calendar year, as well as on the basis of projections for the subsequent calendar year, and to submit the related report to the Assemblyís sixty-ninth session.


By a text on the report of the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) on its activities (document A/67/818), the Assembly would encourage United Nations internal and external oversight bodies to further enhance cooperation through joint work planning sessions, without prejudice to each otherís independence.  It would take note of the OIOS report on its activities from 1 July 2011 to 30 June 2012, note with concern the status of implementation of recommendations contained in that report, and encourage the Secretary-General to call on programme managers to ensure their full implementation.


It would ask the Secretary-General to redouble efforts to implement outstanding and recurring recommendations of the Office dealing with issues of a systematic nature, and encourage OIOS to continue efforts to enhance its audit, investigation, inspection and evaluation functions.  Further, it would note with appreciation the work of the Independent Audit Advisory Committee and endorse the observations, comments and recommendations contained in paragraphs 18, 19, 21, 23, 25, 29, 30, 34 to 40, 44, 46, 49, 52, 54, 56, 58 to 61, and 65 of that bodyís annual report.


The Assembly also would ask the Secretary-General to entrust OIOS with publishing audit reports on the OIOS website on an experimental basis by no later than 1 July 2013 until 31 December 2014.  And it would decide that a final decision on continuing the experiment be made in the context of the review of the OIOS mandate during the Assemblyís sixty-ninth session.


The final report (A/67/676/Add.1) contains a text on the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals by which the Assembly would authorize the activities related to all phases of the construction of the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals, Arusha branch, and authorize the Secretary-General to establish a multi-year special account to record income and expenditures for the construction of the facility.


Also by its terms, the Assembly would request the Secretary-General to entrust OIOS to ensure effective oversight coverage on the implementation of the construction of the facilities.  It also requested the Secretary-General to make further efforts to shorten the duration of construction, to allocate provided resources in the most effective and efficient manner and to submit a progress report.  It would also stress the importance of the leadership and guidance, interaction and coordination between the Secretariat in New York, including the Office of Internal Oversight Services, and the Mechanism, Arusha branch, with clear reporting lines during the implementation of the project.


Action on Committee Texts


Fifth Committee Rapporteur JUSTIN KISOKA of the United Republic of Tanzania introduced its reports.†


Acting without a vote, the Assembly adopted a draft resolution on progress towards an accountability system in the United Nations Secretariat, contained in report A/67/673/Add.1.


Next, by consensus, it adopted a draft resolution on special subjects relating to the programme budget for the biennium 2012-2013, contained in report A/67/677/Add.1.


Also by consensus, the Assembly adopted a draft resolution on Human resources management, contained in report A/67/816.


The Assembly then adopted, again by consensus, the draft resolution contained in the report A/67/817 entitled Joint Inspection Unit.


Continuing, the Assembly adopted without a vote a draft resolution on the United Nations common system: †report of the International Civil Service Commission, contained in report A/67/678/Add.1.


A draft decision on the budgetary and financial situation of the organizations of the United Nations system, contained in report A/67/662/Add.1 was also adopted without a vote.


The Assembly then went on to adopt by consensus the draft resolution contained in report A/67/818, report of the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) on its activities.


The final draft resolution adopted at this morningís session, on the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals contained in report A/67/676/Add.1, also was adopted without a vote.


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