Welcome to the United Nations. It's your world.

Network of Departmental Focal Points

List of departmental Focal Points  [ Updated February 2010 ]

In 1994, the value of a Secretariat-wide network of Departmental Focal Points for women was recognized.  The terms of reference of the Departmental Focal Points were first issued in the form of a memorandum dated 27 June 1994 from the Assistant Secretary-General for Human Resources Management to the heads of departments.  The revised terms of reference was issued on 20 December 1999 as a Secretary-General's Bulletin.

Role of the Focal Points

The main role of the Departmental Focal Points is to inform and assist the Focal Point for Women in keeping abreast of opportunities to improve the status of women in their departments or offices.  In addition, they assist the Focal Point and the Office of the Human Resources Management in identifying qualified women for departmental vacancies. They also brief management and staff on current General Assembly mandates, the Secretary-Generals strategies and organizational policies for improving the status of women, and they mentor and counsel staff of their departments

The Terms of Reference

Their basic functions include:  to support the Head of Department or office or regional commission in fulfilling his or her responsibilities for the achievement of gender equality; any mechanism to advise the head of department or office on the selection of staff for vacant posts in the Professional category and above; to serve as ex officio members of  any mechanism advising on special post allowances for staff in the professional and general service and related categories; to assist the Special Adviser on Gender Issues in monitoring efforts to achieve gender equality; to assist the Special Adviser in the development of policies and programmes for the achievement of gender equality; to counsel and advise women staff within their department or office on issues affecting their career development or conditions of service; to meet with managers and staff in the department to discuss the implementation of the special measures; and to serve as ex officio members on local appointment and promotion committees at offices away from UN headquarters. 

Selection Process

Departmental focal points are appointed by the Head of Department, following staff-management consultations at the departmental or office level. Alternatively  either the head of department or the staff representatives of the department may request a secret-ballot election, which shall be organized under the supervision of representatives of both staff and management of the department or office concerned.

Departments shall select at least one departmental focal point and one alternate.  Currently, the larger departments (DESA and DGAACS) have two representatives and two alternates. 

Representatives and alternates participate equally in the focal point meetings and discussions.  However, if the representative is present, he or she has the right to vote on a proposal.  The alternate may only vote in the absence of the representative.