9 October 2008
Press Conference

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

PRESS CONFERENCE BY UNDER-SECRETARY-GENERAL FOR MANAGEMENT

 


Speaking at a Headquarters briefing on management reform this afternoon, Angela Kane, Under-Secretary-General for Management, expressed hope that there would be a final push in the General Assembly to accept the human resources reforms that had been proposed for the Organization.


This was the third year that the issue of human resources reforms was before the General Assembly, Ms. Kane said.  Proposed reforms included the streamlining of contracts from 15 different types to three, and also reducing the number of staff rolls from three to one.  In addition, proposals would harmonize conditions of service for all staff members.


“If we are one UN, we ought to be all treated in the same way, and that is very important to us,” Ms. Kane said.


Another proposal for reform was in the area of recruitment management, which Ms. Kane said was currently in a very difficult state because of lengthy recruitment processes.  However, she said the recruitment process had decreased from approximately 370 days four years ago to about 162 days currently.


Also at the briefing were Jun Yamazaki, Controller, and Sandra Haji-Ahmed, Director, ad interim, Strategic Planning and Staffing Division of the Office of Human Resources Management (OHRM), who both answered questions from reporters.


Responding to a question on accountability, Ms. Kane said there was presently no definition for it.  Some representatives had said to her that it was also a framework or a state of mind; if that was the case, it had to be measurable in some way.


In response to a question on financial disclosure, Ms. Kane said the situation was being monitored very closely.  This year, there were 3,100 participants in the programme, an increase from 2,500 last year.  Those people who had not disclosed were currently being examined by OHRM, and action would be taken.  Sometimes, however, it was a matter of access, and it might be hard for some staff members to download the necessary forms if they were in a remote location.


Asked whether the Secretary-General would take action against those who did not adhere to the financial disclosure requirement, Ms. Haji-Ahmed said OHRM’s role was to review the issue and background information provided, and contact the staff member for his or her explanation.  Depending on the response, a disciplinary or other measure might be imposed.  The disclosures for 2006 were currently being reviewed, and a more complete picture would be available at the end of the year.


Responding to a question about where journalists would be housed during the renovation of the Headquarters building, Ms. Kane proposed a separate briefing on the Capital Master Plan, and said one would be organized soon.


In response to a question on the issue of “add-ons” in the United Nations budget, Mr. Yamazaki said some of the additional items to the $4.2 billion budget arose because the budget was denominated in United States dollars, and when the United States dollar weakened and other currencies strengthened, it automatically meant that there needed to be additional resources to cover that difference.  It was also necessary to look at “add-ons” that arose as a result of inflation, as well as special political missions -- such as those in Afghanistan and Iraq -- which were separate from peacekeeping operations.  The General Assembly would be given an updated figure towards the end of the year, he said.


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For information media • not an official record