|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Sixty-sixth General Assembly
9th Meeting (AM)
Budget Committee Examines Measures Aimed at Streamlining Organization’s
Human Resources Management, Bolster Ethics Bodies
The Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) today directed its attention to a wide range of human resources management issues — from the geographical make-up of the Secretariat’s tens of thousands of staff to the ethical rules guiding the everyday decisions of employees at all levels — as Secretariat officials introduced more than a half dozen reports.
While generally backing the Secretariat’s ongoing efforts to overhaul the way in which the Organization’s vast human resources were managed, Member States voiced their concerns about a lack of equitable geographical distribution and gender balance among the United Nations workforce, especially in senior management slots.
Speaking on behalf of the African Group, the delegate of Côte d’Ivoire said quality staff and available resources were critical for the Organization’s efficient and effective functioning. Noting that women made up just 33 per cent of all posts and 40 per cent of slots in the Professional category and higher, he called on the Secretary-General to ensure that women, particularly those from developing countries and countries with transition economies, secured appropriate representation in the Secretariat.
That mirrored the viewpoint conveyed earlier by Argentina’s delegate, who spoke on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, concerning the staff’s geographical distribution. Both delegates were disturbed that only 2,049 — or less than 5 per cent — of the 43,747 staff in the Secretariat fell under the system of desirable ranges as of 11 June 2011. Argentina’s representative urged the Secretariat to use the openings created by upcoming staff retirements to improve the international character of the Organization and boost the representation of women.
Japan’s delegate urged the Assembly to back the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) recommendation that the Secretary-General provide comprehensive information on measures to address the issue of the high number of geographical posts occupied by staff with no geographic status.
On the issue of ethics, the Philippines’ delegate spoke on behalf of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN), and said he was encouraged by the Ethics Office’s commitment to apply its financial disclosure programme with the aim of mitigating conflict of interest risks. That would in turn strengthen public trust in the United Nations integrity. Noting the 123 cases of misconduct and probable criminal behaviour listed in the Secretary-General’s report, he said: “Any criminal acts or activities must never be tolerated. We urge the Secretary-General to impose appropriate disciplinary action to those proven guilty of wrongdoing”.
Ruth De Miranda, Chief of the Human Resources Policy Service of the Office of Human Resources Management, introduced three Secretariat reports: one on conflict of interest, a second concerning disciplinary matters and possible criminal behaviour; and a third on the composition of the Secretariat. The composition report noted that this year that Office had released an online reporting tool — “HR Insight” — which was based on the human resources data warehouse and also retrieved information from other relevant systems. It gave the Permanent Missions to the United Nations instant online access to report on desirable ranges and staff demographic information.
Collen Kelapile, Chair of ACABQ, said the quantitative measures of the Ethics Office’s work were not sufficient to fully demonstrate where high standards of integrity and a culture of ethics were being promoted. The Advisory Committee called for the development of appropriate evaluation criteria, a move backed by the Group of 77 and China.
The Committee also weighed in on other presentations today, including by Joan Dubinsky, director of the Ethics Office, who introduced the report of the Secretary-General on the Office’s activities; and Mohamed Mounir Zahran, Chair of the Joint Inspection Unit (JIU), who introduced the note by the Secretary-General transmitting the JIU report on inter-agency staff mobility and work/life balance in the organizations of the United Nations system. Yasin Samatar, Programme Officer of the Secretariat of the United Nations System Chief Executives Board for Coordination (CEB), introduced the Secretary-General’s note transmitting his comments and those of the CEB on the JIU’s report.
Representatives from Singapore, Senegal, Morocco, Russian Federation and Viet Nam also spoke this morning.
The Fifth Committee will reconvene at 10 a.m. Thursday, 20 October, to take up the financial situation of the United Nations.
The Committee had before it more than a half dozen reports concerning the management of its human resources, including documents from the Secretariat, the Joint Inspection Unit (JIU) and the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ).
A report from the Secretary-General on Composition of the Secretariat: staff demographics (document A/66/347), lays out a demographic analysis of the composition behind the Secretariat’s 43,747 staff members during 1 July 2010 to 30 June 2011. This figure includes all categories of staff holding permanent/probationary, fixed-term and temporary contracts recruited internationally and locally. It was released on 8 September 2011.
Also before the Committee was the report on the Practice of the Secretary-General in disciplinary matters and possible criminal behaviour, 1 July 2010 to 30 June 2011 (document A/66/135). Section II of the 1,323-page document provides a broad overview of the administrative machinery used in disciplinary matters, so the information provided in sections III and IV can be clearly understood. Section III contains a summary of the cases for which one or more disciplinary measures were imposed by the Secretary-General during the reporting period, while Section IV contains comparative data, reflecting the number of cases referred for action and disposed of during the reporting period. This section includes cases that did not result in the imposition of disciplinary measures. Section V gives information on the Secretariat’s practices on possible criminal behaviour cases.
The Office of Human Resources Management received 123 cases, including 60 for staff based at United Nations Headquarters and offices away from Headquarters, and 63 cases involving field staff. The largest segment of cases, 25, involved fraud/misrepresentation; followed by financial disclosure at 23; computer-related misconduct at 16; and assault, both verbal and physical, at 14.
Also before the Committee was the Secretary-General’s report Personal conflict of interest (document A/66/98), which includes an analysis of what constitutes personal conflict of interest, as well as the legal, management and mitigation aspects. It was issued 27 June 2011.
The report concludes that the potential for personal conflict of interest is a fact of modern organizational life, when staff members can have multiple employment experiences and networks of relationships within and outside the Organization. The potential for conflict of interest evolves with the complexity of the Organization’s staffing, mandates and activities. The current regulatory framework addresses a wide range of personal conflicts of interest. The financial disclosure programme focuses mainly on potential financial conflicts of interest and is complemented through established schemes that address regulated types of conflict of interest.
The Secretariat is continuously reviewing whether the established mechanisms meant to identify and manage personal conflict of interest serve the contemporary needs of the United Nations. The Secretary-General remains fully committed to ensure that United Nations staff members are acting beyond reproach at all times.
The fourth report of the Secretary-General, Activities of the Ethics Office (document A/66/319), was a response to Assembly resolution 60/254 and asks the Secretary-General to report annually on the activities of the Ethics Office and the implementation of ethics policies. The report also includes information on the activities of the United Nations Ethics Committee.
Issued on 23 August 2011, the report is the sixth since the United Nations Ethics Office was created in January 2006 and covers the period from 1 August 2010 to 31 July 2011. The Office received 766 requests for its services during this time, a 78 per cent jump when compared to the average for the preceding three reporting periods and a result of the Office’s efforts to raise awareness of its services among staff members.
To ensure the long-term performance and stability of the United Nations financial disclosure programme, one of the Office’s main responsibilities, the Secretary-General recommends that the existing external review arrangement for the financial disclosure programme be maintained. This arrangement is considered effective in managing conflicts of interest, while bolstering protection of the confidentiality of the information disclosed and keeping programme costs under control.
The Secretary-General also recommends the creation of a new information technology platform for the programme to tap into newer technologies. This would enhance the system’s capacity and performance while ensuring robust data security protection. The Secretary-General requests the Assembly to approve the recommendations and appropriate $398,300 under section 1, Overall policy-making, direction and coordination.
A Corrigendum (document A/66/319/Corr.1) to this report was issued on 22 September 2011. It refers to paragraph 27 and states that the management evaluation unit should read Management Evaluation Unit in the Office of the Under-Secretary-General for Management.
The Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions weighed in on these issues with its report Human resources management (document A/66/511), issued on 11 October 2011.
On the issue of geographic distribution, the Advisory Committee wanted more information on how resolution 65/247 impacts the representation status of Member States on posts subject to geographic distribution within the Secretariat. This would be included in a report on human resources management slated for consideration during the Assembly’s sixty-seventh session. The Advisory Committee noted that with the use of criteria adopted in resolution 65/247, 20 Member States were unrepresented and 56 were underrepresented as at 30 June 2011, up from the previous reporting period.
After reviewing the Secretariat report on Activities of the Ethics Office, the Advisory Committee backs the Secretary-General’s recommendations to maintain the present arrangements in which the review function of the financial disclosure programme is administered by an external vendor, and to develop a new information technology platform.
Yet the Committee believes the proposed budget for the Ethics Office for the biennium 2012-2013, up 17.8 per cent over 2010-2011, is sufficient to cover the $398,300 additional appropriation requested for the development of a new information technology platform. Instead, it recommends that the amount be absorbed and reported in the 2012-2013 performance reports.
Finally, the Committee had before it a note by the Secretary-General (document A/66/355) transmitting to the Assembly a report of the Joint Inspection Unit, Inter-agency staff mobility and work/life balance in the organizations of the United Nations system, (document JIU/REP/2010/8). The note was issued 8 September 2011. Released in 2010 in Geneva after a review carried out in 2009, the JIU report assesses the policies and mechanisms that regulate staff mobility and work/life balance in the United Nations system organizations. It gives participating organizations an independent, external assessment of the issues related to staff mobility and sets out recommendations to harmonize and enhance staff mobility and work/life balance policies and procedures.
The exercise was not a review of the individual mobility policies currently in place within the respective organizations of the United Nations common system or their respective implementation. But the report refers to certain individual cases to illustrate examples or draw conclusions from best practices and lessons learned. The majority of the 10 recommendations direct the United Nations System Chief Executives Board for Coordination (CEB) to take action through its High-Level Committee on Management. Two other recommendations are aimed at the executive heads of the organization of the United Nations Common system.
A second Secretariat note (document A/66/355.Add.1) transmits the Secretary-General’s comments and those of the CEB on the same JIU report. This note, issued 23 September 2011, presents the views of United Nations system organizations on the recommendations provided in the report. These views were based on the inputs provided by member organizations of the CEB, which welcomed the report and noted that it underscored many of the ongoing issues that were being reviewed and discussed within various human resources forums, including the International Civil Service Commission (ICSC) and the Human Resources Network of the CEB.
Introduction of Reports
RUTH DE MIRANDA, Chief of the Human Resources Policy Service of the Office of Human Resources Management introduced the Secretary-General’s reports on conflict of interest (document A/66/98), his practice in disciplinary matters and possible criminal behaviour for the period from 1 July 2010 to 30 June 2011 (document A/66/135) and his report on the composition of the Secretariat (document A/66/347).
She said the first report, on personal conflict, gave comprehensive information on the main types of conflict of interest within the Organization and administrative steps to address them. Such steps included schemes to govern conflicts relating to general and financial conflicts of interest, and conflicts resulting from receipt of gifts, honours, awards, favours or remuneration from governmental or non-governmental sources; from engaging in outside occupation or employment and other activities; and stemming from personal relations. The report also discussed possible legal implications, including disciplinary proceedings where a conflict of interest was not disclosed through appropriate channels, or applicable post-employment restrictions for staff serving in particularly sensitive functions such as procurement.
Furthermore, the report described steps to manage and mitigate conflict, such as recusing and removing a staff member from any decision-making role or instructing him or her to discard certain interests held, as well as making changes in reporting lines or specific non-disclosure agreements related to confidential information.
The second report, on disciplinary measures, was issued in response to paragraph 16 of Assembly resolution 59/287, which required information each year about all actions taken in cases of established misconduct and/or criminal behaviour and any disciplinary action or appropriate legal action, she said. The first part of the report provides an overview of the legislative framework and current procedures for handling disciplinary matters.
That report noted that, during the reporting period, the Office of Human Resources Management disposed of 271 cases, including cases referred to the Office before and during the reporting period, she said. Of those, disciplinary measures were imposed in 117 cases; administrative measures were imposed in 19 cases; 80 were closed with no disciplinary or administrative action; in 38 cases, no disciplinary action was initiated; and in 26 instances, the cases were closed upon separation of the staff member prior to or after being referred to the Office.
The third report, on the composition of the Secretariat, noted that this year the Office of Human Resources Management launched the first release of an online reporting tool called “HR Insight”, which was based on the human resources data warehouse and retrieved information from other human resources systems, including the Integrated Management Information System (IMIS) and Nucleus, she said. HR Insight gave all Permanent Missions instant online access to report on desirable ranges and staff demographic information.
JOAN DUBINSKY, Director of the Ethics Office, introduced the report of the Secretary-General, Activities of the Ethics Office (document A/66/319), the sixth annual report on the Office’s activities since its creation on 1 January 2006. The Office had recorded a 78 per cent jump in requests for its services, including but not limited to conflicts of interest advice, protection against retaliation, procurement-related advice, policy review, outreach and training. She said that the increased level of consultation had benefited the Organization as it served to reduce the risk of inappropriate behaviour that could negatively impact its reputation. The increased demand could be attributed to a renewed focus on staff outreach and the Office had carried out numerous field mission visits during the previous 12 months and interacted with more than 900 staff members. The Office conducted 54 presentations to various United Nations offices, compared with eight during the 2009-2010 reporting cycle.
There were advances in the Ethics Office implementation of the Organization’s protection against retaliation policy as interim protection had been provided for two staff members, pending the completion of independent retaliation investigations. After one investigation had wrapped up, she said that the Ethics Office determined that retaliation had occurred in one case and it issued recommendations pertaining to corrective and disciplinary measures. An alternative investigating panel was also established for the first time to investigate two prima facie retaliation case determinations where, due to an inherent conflict of interest, the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) could not have conducted those investigations. Those developments demonstrated that the Organization’s protection against retaliation policy remained robust, effective and adequately resourced, she said.
After an internal High-Level Advisory Group review of the United Nations financial disclosure programme, one of the Office’s main responsibilities, the Secretary-General recommended that the existing external review arrangement for the financial disclosure programme be maintained. That arrangement was considered effective in managing conflicts of interest and protecting the confidentiality of disclosed information, she said.
The Secretary-General further recommended that a new information technology platform be created for the programme, which had to be impenetrable to attacks in order to ensure the programme’s stability and protect confidentiality. The total required funding for a new information technology platform was $597,400, which would provide for the new system’s design, development, integration and implementation, she said. One third of this amount, or $199,100, would be met from funds received in reimbursement for services provided to funds and programmes. The Assembly was requested to appropriate the remaining $398,300 under the programme budget for the biennium 2012-2013, she said.
COLLEN KELAPILE, Chair of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ), introduced the Advisory Committee’s report on human resources management (document A/66/511). He said that the Advisory Committee reiterated its previous recommendation that the Secretary-General should supplement data presented in his report with an analysis of demographic trends and their underlying causes. Noting the lack of change from the previous period in the number of women against Professional-level posts, the Advisory Committee recommended that the Secretary-General increase efforts to improve the representation of women, particularly at senior levels.
Weighing in on the Secretary-General’s practice in disciplinary matters and possible criminal behaviour, he said the Advisory Committee noted divergent practices in apparently similar instances of misconduct and said it expected disciplinary measures to be applied consistently and proportionately, he said. In comments related to the Secretariat’s report on personal conflict of interest, the Advisory Committee reiterated its previous recommendation on the proposed amendment to staff regulation 1.2 (m) and underscored the importance of the financial disclosure programme as a way to mitigate the risks of personal conflict of interest.
After reviewing the Secretariat’s report on the activities of the Ethics Office, the Advisory Committee noted an overall increase of 78 per cent in service requests to that Office as compared with the preceding three reporting periods, he said. Noting that quantitative measures of the work accomplished were not sufficient to fully demonstrate where high standards of integrity and a culture of ethics were being promoted, he said the Advisory Committee called for the development of appropriate evaluation criteria.
Concerning the Financial Disclosure Programme, the Advisory Committee believed the cost per file reviewed by the external vendors was too high and it encouraged the Secretary-General to explore all available ways to obtain such services at a lower cost, he said. It also backed the Secretary-General’s call for a review of the criteria for filing eligibility in order to control future increases in the programme’s cost and his proposal to continue the outsourcing arrangements for the review function.
MOHAMED MOUNIR ZAHRAN, Chair of the Joint Inspection Unit (JIU), introduced the entity’s report, Inter-agency staff mobility and work/life balance in the organizations of the United Nations system, contained in document A/66/355. The report aimed to assess the policies and mechanisms that regulate staff mobility and work/life balance in the United Nations system. It gives participating organizations an independent, external assessment of the issues related to staff mobility and sets out recommendations to harmonize and enhance staff mobility and work/life balance policies and procedures.
The report contained 10 recommendations, which appeared in the statement’s annex, and a set of proposals addressed to the Governing Bodies, the United Nations System Chief Executives Board for Coordination and Executive Heads. “Staff mobility is key to achieving organizational goals: it is fundamental to deliver where the services of organizations are required and to react to emergencies or global challenges,” he said, adding that enhanced system-wide mobility would help staff understand the complexities and peculiarities of various United Nations systems organizations and contribute towards “Delivering as One”. The diversity of the various organizations in the United Nations system led the report’s authors to conclude that there was no “one mobility scheme fits all organizations”.
The financial implications of mobility also needed to be fully considered when launching new staff mobility initiatives, he said. Those included easily recognizable costs such as travel and household removal, as well as hidden costs such as the time taken for staff to learn and adapt to new undertakings or comply with administrative procedures related to relocation. New inter-agency mobility initiatives could and should be built on existing inter-agency mobility that happened spontaneously based on staff initiatives.
The harmonization of business practices among organizations was crucial to facilitate inter-agency mobility and the report’s authors backed the advancement towards a common set of staff regulations and rules for the whole United Nations common system with enhanced mobility as an important component, he said.
YASIN SAMATAR, Programme Officer of the Secretariat of the United Nations System Chief Executives Board for Coordination, introduced the Secretary-General’s note (document A/66/355/Add.1) transmitting his comments and those of the CEB on the JIU’s report. The comments generally focused on the feasibility of implementing some of the JIU’s recommendations, dual career support and medical services. Agencies welcomed the recognition within the report that a “one-size-fits-all” approach was not applicable to staff mobility due to differing operational requirements across agencies with diverse mandates. He said that agencies agreed with the JIU that a dual-career approach was important to attract qualified staff, but they felt the Unit should have also recommended the strengthening of local networking among international organizations.
While largely accepting most of the JIU’s recommendations, the CEB expressed concern over implementing them, he said. For example, on recommendation 3, whichcalled for the development of a single set of staff rules for all United Nations agencies, the Board felt that could be difficult to achieve in cases in which rules required action by governing bodies. While the Board supported recommendation 5, which called for a review of internal rules to put all candidates on an equal footing when applying for posts, it believed that procedure could be difficult to apply in cases in which a staff member’s post was abolished and said that the staff member concerned should be given preference.
Speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, SEBASTIÁN DI LUCA ( Argentina) said the Group had repeatedly backed the Secretary-General’s efforts to transform the management of human resources. The well-being of all international civil servants was very important to the Group. “We support all reform measures aimed at establishing a highly motivated, vibrant and dynamic workforce for our Organization,” he said.
On the issue of geographical distribution of staff, the Group repeated its request that the Secretary-General intensify efforts to achieve equitable geographical distribution and gender balance among the staff, as mandated by the Assembly, especially in senior management positions. The Group noted that the number of staff under the system of desirable ranges was 2,049 out of the total global Secretariat staff, which tallied 43,747 in June 2011. That represented less than 5 per cent of the total number of staff. He urged the Secretariat to use future staff retirements to improve the international character of the Organization and boost the representation of women.
The Group welcomed initiatives to promote a culture of ethics at senior management levels and noted the increased number of service requests lodged with the Ethics Office from August 2010 to 31 July 2011. Yet, he said, the Group believed the jump in service requests and case reviews were not sufficient indicators to fully determine if the objectives of promoting a high standard of integrity and culture of ethics were being achieved. The Group asked the Secretary-General to devise appropriate evaluation criteria for this purpose.
Regarding the ethics question, he said the Group of 77 welcomed the Ethics Office’s efforts to promote a culture of ethics among staff members at all levels across the Secretariat. It expected that efforts to create awareness of the financial disclosure programme among the staff, and procedures to support compliance, would translate into full compliance with the filing obligations, he added.
BROUZ COFFI ( Côte d’Ivoire), speaking on behalf of the African Group, said quality staff and available resources were critical for the Organization’s efficient, effective functioning. He reiterated his delegation’s request that the Secretary-General bolster efforts to achieve equitable geographical distribution and gender balance among staff, particularly in senior management posts. He noted that women occupied just 33 per cent of all posts and 40 per cent of posts in the Professional category and above. He called on the Secretary-General to ensure that women, particularly those from developing countries and countries with economies in transition, were appropriately represented in the Secretariat.
Concerning geographical distribution, he regretted that as of 11 June only 2,049, less than 5 per cent, of the total of 43,747 staff in the Secretariat were under the system of desirable ranges. He asked the Secretary-General to make every effort to ensure an equitable geographical distribution within the Organization so as to reflect its international character. He said the African Group welcomed the Ethics Office’s efforts to promote a culture of ethics among staff management, particularly senior management. He concurred with the Advisory Committee’s view that the reported increase in service requests received and the number of cases reviewed were insufficient indicators to determine fully whether higher standards of integrity and a culture of ethics was being achieved. He asked the Secretary-General to devise evaluation criteria to that end. He lauded the release of the HR Insight online reporting tool and expressed hope that the information provided on that website would be updated monthly.
LIBRAN N. CABACTULAN ( Philippines) spoke on behalf of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and said he was encouraged by the Ethics Office’s commitment to administer the financial disclosure programme with the aim of identifying, managing, and mitigating conflict of interest risks in order to strengthen the public trust in the integrity of the Organization. He commended the outreach efforts of the Office and noted the 78 per cent up-tick this year for ethics-related advice. He also noted the 123 cases of misconduct and probable criminal behaviour listed in the Secretary-General’s report. “Any criminal acts or activities must never be tolerated. We urge the Secretary-General to impose appropriate disciplinary action to those proven guilty of wrongdoing,” he added.
Regarding the Secretariat’s composition report, ASEAN said it contained useful demographic and mobility data, but lacked substantive analysis of the data and urged the Secretariat to provide more verbal analysis and explanations. He said that ASEAN believed that Member States should play a more active role in human resources management reforms. It believed that all efforts had to be taken to recruit nationals of the countries represented in the United Nations, especially developing countries which were underrepresented or unrepresented. ASEAN agreed with the Advisory Committee’s recommendation that more women should be recruited, especially in senior-level positions, he said.
PHILIP ONG ( Singapore) said that, as the Organization’s operations had become increasingly complex, human resource management must be efficient and responsive so as to ensure the United Nations was flexible and that it supported Member States’ goals. Systemic flaws and inadequacies that arose periodically must be promptly addressed. Any human resource reform must be geared towards building a culture of accountability and transparency into the system. In that regard, he welcomed the introduction of the HR Insight reporting tool. He also called for continuous efforts to promote high standards of integrity, personal accountability and a strong culture of ethics within the Organization. The Ethics Office was central to human resources reform. He commended it for proactively raising awareness of ethics services through broadened outreach initiatives. He welcomed the initiative to develop a briefing package on ethics for senior management and supported the Advisory Committee’s recommendation to extend that briefing to all incoming Directors.
Staffing in the Secretariat should accurately reflect Member States’ diverse character, he said. That was pertinent, particularly since 40 per cent of posts subjected to the system of geographic ranges were not filled by staff having geographic status. A more equitable representation should not be an end in itself, but the Organization could and should bolster efforts to recruit talented, well-qualified people worldwide in line with established recruitment procedures. He also called for greater efforts to improve gender balance, particularly at the senior level. Promotion of diversity and gender balance in the United Nations would send a clear signal to many national civil services. Human resource management was a vital tool for change management across the United Nations system in a fair, transparent way.
ABDOU SALAM DIALLO (Senegal) lauded the Secretary-General’s various measures to improve human resources management, including the new Inspira system aimed at giving men and women equal employment opportunity and at expediting recruitment procedures, as well as the programme for junior professionals. He supported the application of financial transparency tools and said they should be extended to all senior managers. Efforts would only meet expectations if they were accompanied by professional training programmes. He expressed hope that the Secretary-General’s proposals on human resource management would allay delegates’ concerns regarding resolution 63/250. The Secretary-General should show greater willingness to install policies that promoted access for women, particularly from developing countries, notably in Africa, to senior Secretariat posts. Regretting the absence of women among the list of Under-Secretaries-General and Assistant Secretaries-General, he said more women should be promoted to those posts.
Turning to the issue of equitable geographic representation, he expressed worries that most nationals presently holding posts in some nations currently with equitable geographic representation would retire from the Organization within four years. For example, 40 per cent of Senegal nationals in the Professional category and above would retire within four years. Of that figure, 70 per cent were in Director-level posts. He requested information on the Secretary-General’s measures to ensure that citizens from developing countries would not be absent from decision-making posts in the Organization. He asked the Secretary-General to define a comprehensive strategy to address the problem of recruiting staff in language services, including in the French section.
TAKASHI KANAMORI ( Japan) shared the Advisory Committee’s concern that approximately 40 per cent of posts subjected to the system of geographic ranges were not filled with staff having geographic status. He was particularly concerned that 403 posts were temporarily filled by non-geographical and other staff. Staff should be selected for regular-budget posts through the established recruitment procedure under ST/AI/2010/3, with due regard to geographic diversity, rather than through temporary vacancy announcements. He expressed strong hope that at its current session, the Assembly would endorse the Advisory Committee’s recommendation that the Secretary-General provide comprehensive information on measures to address the issue of the high number of geographical posts occupied by staff having no geographic status.
He recalled that Assembly resolution 65/247 had asked the Secretary-General to, as a one-time exceptional measure until 31 December 2012, make efforts to place in P-3 posts national competitive recruitment examination candidates who were on the roster as of 31 December 2009 and who showed an interest in and were qualified for such positions. The results on table 27 of the Secretary-General’s report on the composition of the Secretariat were “somewhat disappointing”; only five candidates were placed in P-3 posts from 1 July 2010 to 30 June 2011. He called on the Secretary-General to show strong leadership to ensure that the Office of Human Resources Management and the executive offices of every department or office worked closely to expedite placement of the remaining P-2 and P-3 candidates.
BRAHIM BENMOUSSA ( Morocco), endorsing the statement made earlier on behalf of the African Group, said human resources management was a very important agenda item. It was key for the staff, as well as the proper functioning of the Organization as it met its objectives. The optimal effectiveness of the United Nations depended on the efficient and streamlined management of its human resources.
Morocco backed the best working conditions for staff so they could carry out their tasks. The delegation backed the equitable geographical distribution of staff and urged the Secretary-General to take measures to promote women at all levels. More staff members from developing countries needed to reach senior-level posts. The number of underrepresented countries had to be addressed, he added.
VLADIMIR N. PROKHOROV ( Russian Federation) said the management of human resources and continued reforms were very important issues for the Organization. It was important to increase the effectiveness of the Organization’s human resources policies and meet the needs of its personnel. Attention also needed to be paid to the financial ramifications of reforms and the financial capacity of Member States. The Committee had to carefully study the proposals before it. The key Assembly resolutions on reform needed to be taken into account. It was expected that the Secretary-General would look at the impact that the resolutions had on the selection of staff.
The Russian Federation delegation agreed with the need for more women and a wider geographical distribution of staff in the Organization. But those efforts should not obscure a key priority of the Charter, the selection of the most qualified candidates. The competency, equal geographic distribution, and integrity of staff were all very important issues. He also pointed to the need to examine the parameters of regulations surrounding conflicts of interest for staff. The protection of staff from abuses in administrative issues was important. Attention also needed to be paid to staff moving from the United Nations to commercial entities.
BUI THE GIANG ( Viet Nam) said the United Nations must have the capacity and tools it needed to implement current and future mandates. To accomplish that, it must have a high-quality workforce to ensure it functioned in an integrated, responsive and efficient way and that its staff met the highest standards of ethics, discipline, fairness, transparency, accountability, high performance, managerial excellence, and respect for diversity. On equitable geographic and gender distribution, table 10 of the Secretary-General’s report revealed that in 2011 women accounted for 24 per cent of Under-Secretaries-General and 23 per cent of the Assistant Secretaries-General.
He said that women held 24 per cent of D-1 posts 28 per cent of D-2 posts. Gender parity had only been achieved at the P-1 and P-2 level in 2011. He called on the Secretary-General to redress that imbalance, as well as to ensure staffing between the developed and developing countries was in conformity with the principle of equitable geographic distribution. He expressed support for the concept of mobility, but said that must be applicable to people at Headquarters and those in field offices as well. The JIU report revealed that there was no “one-size-fits-all” approach to mobility since organizations’ mandates varied. He reiterated that human resources management reform was indispensable to effectively respond to the evolving and complex needs of the organization.
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