Press Releases

    GA/AB/3496
    8 March 2002

    FIFTH COMMITTEE BEGINS CONSIDERATION OF HUMAN RESOURCES MANAGEMENT OF UNITED NATIONS

    NEW YORK, 7 March (UN Headquarters) -- As the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) began its consideration of human resources management this morning, it focused on the reports concerning gratis personnel, streamlining the existing rules and procedures, the conditions of service of the members of the International Court of Justice and the judges of the two International Tribunals, the composition of the Secretariat, and the proposed change in the mandatory age of separation of staff from the Organization.

    Introducing the reports before the Committee, the Director of the Operational Services Division, Office of Human Resources Management, Dennis Beissel, said that increasing the mandatory age of separation from 60 to 62 would have minimal impact on the age profile of the Secretariat, career development opportunities, geographical distribution and gender balance. It would have a somewhat positive effect on the actuarial balance of the Pension Fund and staff morale, as all staff would be treated equally regardless of their entrance-on-duty dates, provided that their acquired rights were respected.

    Disagreeing with those conclusions, the representative of the Republic of Korea said that the analysis of the Secretariat was incomplete, biased and overly simplistic. It was not clear how the appraisal was reflecting concerns about the steady outflow of young professionals from the Organization and the need for rejuvenation of the Secretariat. He did not understand how the Secretariat came to the conclusion that the possible impact of the new measures would be minimal, although the number of staff affected would amount to some 6,000. Member States needed a general idea of the possible implications before a final decision was taken on the matter.

    Introducing the reports of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ), its Chairman, Conrad S.M. Mselle, referred to the Advisory Committee’s recommendations on the matter. Should the Assembly decide to extend to 62 the mandatory age of separation for staff appointed prior to 1990, the effective date of implementation should be set at three months subsequent to the adoption of such a decision. The extension of the age of separation should not apply to staff who had already reached age 60 at the effective date of implementation, or to staff who had already been extended beyond the age of 60.

    On another report, he noted that a total of 3,054 consultants and 1,314 individual contractors were hired during 2000 at a cost of some $42 million. The ACABQ recommended that the Assembly take note of the Secretary-General’s report, and requested that the next report include a precise definition of consultants and contractors.

    Responding to delegates’ comments regarding the need for the ACABQ to present its reports in writing, Mr. Mselle assured the delegates that the Advisory Committee had always put great emphasis on submitting reports in writing. Reports submitted orally were unavoidable exceptions dictated by the circumstances. A report of the ACABQ submitted orally by its Chairman was a formal communication to the General Assembly, containing formal advice or recommendations.

    The representatives of Syria and Cuba, however, insisted that reports should be presented in writing. While the ACABQ reports could be presented orally as an exception, such exception should not become a rule.

    Under the agenda item on the scale of assessments for the apportionment of expenses of the Organization, Committee Chairman Nana Effah-Apenteng (Ghana) proposed a draft resolution by whose terms the Assembly would decide to consider the question of the arrears of the former Yugoslavia at its fifty-seventh session, taking into account the views of the Committee on Contributions. The Committee on Contributions would be requested to consider the question and report on it to the General Assembly at its fifty-seventh session.

    [Following last year’s admission of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to membership in the United Nations, the membership of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia -- the State admitted to the United Nations in 1945 -- was automatically terminated. Now a decision must be made regarding that country’s outstanding dues, which amount to some $16.22 million. The Assembly has an option of approving a write-off of those dues, or seeking payment from the five successor States -- Croatia, Slovenia, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.]

    A report on the conditions of service for officials serving in the International Criminal Tribunals for the Former Yugoslavia and Rwanda was introduced by Jan Beagle, Director of the Specialist Services Division of the Office of Human Resources Management. A representative of Botswana also spoke.

    The Committee will continue its work at 10 a.m. tomorrow, 8 March, when it is scheduled to conclude its general discussion of human resources management issues.

    Background

    This morning, the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) was expected to begin its consideration of several reports under the agenda items on review of efficiency and human resources management.

    Regarding the use of gratis personnel, the Committee had before it the Secretary-General’s annual report (document A/56/839), indicating, inter alia, their nationality, the duration of their service and the functions performed. (The frequency of reporting was changed from quarterly to annual, commencing with the period 1 January to 31 December 2001.)

    According to the report, the number of type I gratis personnel (interns, associate experts and technical cooperation experts obtained on a non-reimbursable loan) has decreased by 29.4 per cent -– from 265 personnel on 31 December 2000 to 187 on 31 December 2001. The overall decrease can be attributed to the 51.8 drop in the number of associate experts. During the same period, the number of interns went up from 39 to 68, and the number of technical experts from eight to 14.

    The total number of type II gratis personnel at the end of 2001 amounted to three -– a decrease of 93 per cent compared with the total of 43 as at 30 September 2000. The engagement of 40 type II gratis personnel (forensic investigators) engaged by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia was discontinued in 2001. The status of two Korean economists engaged by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) was modified in 2001 from type II to type I (technical assistance). The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights engaged one type II gratis staff member as an indigenous people’s rights lawyer. One type II hydrology expert was engaged in 2001 by the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA); and one health economist by the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).

    On the conditions of service of judges of the International Court of Justice, the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (document A/C.5/56/CRP.1), the Committee had before it a Secretary-General’s report which was first summarized on 7 December 2001 (see Press Release GA/AB/3485). Among the issues addressed in the document are the judges’ salaries, education grants, travel expenses, medical insurance, pension payments and special allowances of the Presidents.

    In a related report (document A/56/7/Add.2), the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) states that it has no objection to the Secretary-General’s proposals to continue applying the same floor/ceiling mechanism as far as the judges’ emoluments are concerned, following the introduction of the euro, and to extend to the members of the Court and judges of the Tribunals the increase in the level of education grants, effective 1 January 2002. The ACABQ recommends against the proposal to increase the level of the special allowance for the Court’s President, and for its Vice-President when acting as President.

    The Advisory Committee further reiterates its view that the members of the International Court of Justice should cover the total cost of their participation in the health insurance plans, and that the Organization should not have to contribute to that cost. The ACABQ has no objection to the proposed change in the home-leave travel of the judges of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda to take account of the hardship classification of the duty station. Regarding pensions to be paid to former members of the International Court of Justice, the Advisory Committee points out that such entitlements are established at the time of retirement. The Assembly has already approved a recommendation that pensions be automatically revised by the same percentage and at the same time as salary adjustments. This recommendation continues to provide the necessary protection against an increase in the cost of living. The Advisory Committee does not recommend any change in the current arrangements with regard to the pension benefits of judges of the two Tribunals.

    Regarding the educational grants for ad litem judges, the Advisory Committee recalls that, in the past, it had recommended that they should not be entitled to receive an education allowance, given the uncertainty of the length of their appointment. This recommendation was endorsed by the Assembly in its resolution 55/249 of 12 April 2001. The Advisory Committee finds no justification for changing its position on the matter.

    Also before the Committee was the Secretary-General’s annual report on the composition of the Secretariat (document A/56/512), which covers the period from 1 July 2000 to 30 June 2001. According to this document, as of 30 June 2001 the total number of staff holding appointments of one year or more amounted to 35,441, including 14,874 staff assigned to the Secretariat and 20,567 to other entities of the United Nations. The number of staff appointed to posts subject to geographical distribution is 2,445.

    At the end of the reporting period, 18 Member States were unrepresented, compared with 21 in June 2000: Andorra, Bahrain, Brunei Darussalam, Guinea-Bissau, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Monaco, Nauru, Palau, Qatar, Republic of Moldova, Samoa, Sao Tome and Principe, Tajikistan, Tonga, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates and Uzbekistan. The list of under-represented countries in the meanwhile had increased from eight to 10: Austria, Brazil, China, Greece, Japan, Kuwait, Norway, Portugal, Republic of Korea and Saudi Arabia. Seventeen Member States were over-represented: Belgium, Cameroon, Chile, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Kenya, Lebanon, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Russian Federation, Senegal, Sweden, Thailand, Uganda and Ukraine. All other States were within range.

    Contained in document A/C.5/56/L.7 is a list of the United Nations Secretariat, which the Secretary-General submits to the General Assembly for its information. The document gives the names of staff by office, department and organizational element. It also lists functional titles, nationalities and grades of all staff members holding an appointment of one year or more as at 1 July 2001.

    The Committee also had before it a report of the Secretary-General on the mandatory age of separation (document A/56/701). When the General Assembly adopted resolution 55/258 of 14 June 2001, it requested the Secretary-General to study the implications of fixing the mandatory age of separation for staff members appointed prior to 1 January 1990 at the current age of 62 years.

    The report concludes that fixing the mandatory age of separation at 62 would have only a minimal impact on the age profile of the Organization, geographical distribution, gender balance, career development and the Pension Fund. Vacancies arising from sources other than mandatory separation offer better opportunities for achieving the Organization's goals in those areas. A change in the mandatory age of separation would positively affect the actuarial situation of the Pension Fund, especially if the other common system organizations would adopt the same policy. It would also have a positive impact on staff morale, as all staff members would be treated equally, regardless of their date of entrance on duty, provided that their acquired rights are respected. (Acquired rights include the right to early retirement at 55 years and the option to separate at age 60 with full retirement benefits.)

    In the event that the General Assembly decides to fix the mandatory age of separation for staff members appointed prior to 1 January 1990 at 62 years, the report attaches a draft amendment to regulation 9.5 of the Staff Regulations. Should the Assembly decide to approve the draft amendment, the Secretary-General would propose that the effective date be set three months after the date of adoption of the decision.

    Also before the Committee was a conference room paper on the mandatory age of separation (documents A/C.5/56/CRP.1 and Add.1), which provides additional information on a number of issues involved, including responses to questions of the ACABQ by representatives of various United Nations bodies.

    Based on the answers contained in the document, in order to ensure equitable treatment of staff the Secretariat proposes that, should the Assembly decide to fix the mandatory age of separation at 62, the new regulations should apply only to staff who have not reached the age of 60 at the effective date of the Assembly’s decision. In order to allow for appropriate human resources planning, the effective date should be set no less than three months after the date of adoption of the decision.

    In a related report (document A/56/846), the ACABQ expresses its view that, should the Assembly decide to extend the mandatory age of separation for staff appointed prior to 1990 to 62, the effective date of implementation should be set at three months subsequent to the adoption of such a decision. In the Advisory Committee’s opinion, any decision should contain language to the effect that the extension of the mandatory age of separation should not apply to staff who had already reached age 60 at the effective date of implementation, or to staff who had already been extended beyond the age of 60, subject to the prerogative of the Secretary-General to extend the age limit in exceptional cases, in accordance with staff regulation 9.5.

    Also before the Committee was a report of the Secretary-General on the amendments to Staff Rules (document A/56/227), which provides the full text of amendments to the Staff Rules, some of which have been provisionally promulgated. The Secretary-General plans to implement the amendments that have not been so promulgated as from 1 January 2002. The report provides the rationale for every amendment included. The Secretary-General recommends that the General Assembly take note of the amendments to the Staff Rules contained in an annex to the report.

    The Committee had before it a note by the Secretariat on the streamlining of rules (document A/C/5/56/3), which is submitted in response to a request by the Assembly in its resolution 55/258. The note provides details of obsolete or redundant documentation, which has been eliminated so far in the context of the streamlining of the rules.

    The note explains that, for many years, policies, rules and procedures were issued by various officials in a number of instruments, including Secretary-General's bulletins, administrative instructions, information circulars, personnel directives or internal guidelines. There was no systematic review of those instruments, which proliferated and remained in place regardless of whether they were still needed or had become inconsistent with subsequent documents. As a result, it was often difficult for staff, administrators and managers to know what the rules were and for the Organization to hold anyone accountable for the proper application of those rules.

    In 1997, the Secretary-General, at the suggestion of the Legal Counsel, issued a bulletin which rationalized the system of administrative issuances and established procedures for the promulgation of those issuances, the note says. Under the new system, "rules" or "imperatives" can be promulgated only through a Secretary-General's bulletin or an administrative instruction. Personnel directives can no longer be issued, and all existing ones lapsed on 31 December 1999. Information circulars can only contain general information or an explanation of established rules, but can no longer establish new rules.

    Also before the Committee was a report of the Secretary-General on the placement of staff members serving in the Executive Office of the Secretary-General (document A/56/816). In 1997, an Assembly resolution stipulated that the discretionary power of the Secretary-General of appointment and promotion outside the established procedures should be limited to his Executive Office, to the under-secretary-general and assistant secretary-general levels, and to special envoys at all levels. The present legislation covers appointment to the Executive Office, but does not give the Secretary-General authority for assignment from that Office when the services of staff are no longer needed.

    According to the report, to ensure that opportunities for staff separated from their assigned posts to come to the Executive Office are not jeopardized, the Secretary-General should be given discretionary power for outposting staff. The Secretary-General proposes the implementation of a system that would allow him to place staff members who serve in his Executive Office in suitable vacant posts in the Secretariat, either before or after they have been advertised. The Secretary-General seeks the Assembly's approval of his proposal.

    According to the Secretariat’s note regarding a comprehensive study of the question of honorariums payable to members of various main and subsidiary organs of the Organization (document A/56/311), the Secretary-General submitted his last report on the matter in document A/53/643. The document concluded that authority for the payment of honorariums rests solely with the General Assembly. Accordingly, it may wish to consider whether payment of honorariums should be extended to the members of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and the Committee against Torture. As the level of such payments was last revised in 1981, the Assembly may also wish to increase them by 25 per cent.

    The document also refers to the recommendations of the Advisory Committee on the matter, which are contained in document A/54/7. The ACABQ recommends increasing the honorariums by 25 per cent, stating that should the Assembly decide to increase the rates, it should be done with effect from 1 January 2000. Although the Secretary-General’s report was before the Assembly at its fifty-fourth session, it was neither formally introduced nor debated. Thus, although the Assembly endorsed the recommendations of the Advisory Committee on the budget for 2000-2001, no specific reference was made to the issue of honorariums. In order to provide a definitive and clear answer on the matter, the Assembly has been requested to indicate whether it endorses the recommendations on such payments.

    The Committee also had before it a report of the Secretary-General on consultants and individual contractors (document A/56/834) for the year 2000. It is submitted pursuant to Assembly resolutions 53/221 of 1999 and 55/258 of 2001, in which the Secretary-General was requested to report on consultants hired by the United Nations during the previous year. Data was collected from two different systems during the reporting period -- the legacy system for the earlier part and the Integrated Management Information System (IMIS) during the latter part. Since the two data collection systems are significantly incompatible, the issuance of the report was delayed. Statistical tables appearing in an annex to the report provide an overview of the use of consultants and individual contractors in 2000.

    According to the report, some 3,054 persons were engaged as consultants in 2000. Of that number, about 828 persons, or 27.1 per cent, were women, 51 were retirees, 190 were non-retired former staff aged 60 years or over and 16 were non-retired staff under age 60. Some 4,173 contracts were issued for consultants during the year. Also in 2000, some 1,314 persons were engaged as individual contractors for a total of 2,471 contracts. Of the total individual contractors, just over half (662) were women, 33 were retirees, 75 were non-retired former staff members aged 60 years or over, and eight were non-retired former staff under age 60.

    A comparison with 1999 data shows an increase in numbers of both consultants (317 or 11.6 per cent in 2000) and of individual contractors (383 or 41.1 per cent). The average contract duration in 2000 for consultants has increased by 16 days and for individual contractors by 15 days. The total number of consultants and individual contractors as compared with 1999 data shows a 19 per cent increase. Three is a 21.3 per cent increase in the number of contracts, a 28.8 per cent increase in days worked, and a 28 per cent increase in fees in 2000 as compared to 1999.

    Combined expenditures in 2000 on consultants –- some $33 million -– and individual contractors -– about $8.9 million –- amounted to some $41.9 million, the report says. Since 1999, total fees have increased by about $5.6 million (20.5 per cent) for consultants and by some $3.5 million (67.4 per cent) for individual contractors. Consultants were engaged from 152 different countries -- six more than in 1999. Eleven countries accounted for 45.5 per cent of all consultants engaged: Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, Ethiopia, France, Germany, India, Netherlands, United Kingdom and United States.

    Agenda Items

    Under the agenda item on the scale of assessments for the apportionment of expenses of the Organization, the Committee Chairman, NANA EFFAH-APENTENG (Ghana) proposed a draft resolution by whose terms the Assembly would decide to consider the question of the arrears of the former Yugoslavia at its fifty-seventh session, taking into account the views of the Committee on Contributions. The Committee on Contributions would be requested to consider the question and report on it to the General Assembly at its fifty-seventh session.

    [Following last year’s admission of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to membership in the United Nations, the membership of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia –- the State admitted to the United Nations in 1945 -– was automatically terminated. Now, a decision must be made regarding that country’s outstanding dues, which amount to some $16.22 million. The Assembly has an option of approving a write-off of those dues, or seeking payment from the five successor States –- Croatia, Slovenia, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.]

    It was decided that the text would be issued as an official document and circulated in all the official languages for adoption by the Committee at its next meeting.

    As the Committee turned to the next item on its agenda, JAN BEAGLE, Director of the Specialist Services Division of the Office of Human Resources Management, introduced the Secretary-General’s report on the conditions of service and compensation of members of the International Court of Justice and the judges of the International Tribunals, which contains recommendations regarding salaries, benefits, travel expenses, pensions and education grants for those officials. She said that a thorough review had been undertaken of the issues raised. The Secretary-General recommended that the salaries of the members of the Court, the judges of the two Tribunals and the ad litem judges should be maintained at their current level.

    She said that in presenting information about recently approved increases in the level of education grants in five currency areas for Professional and higher categories of United Nations staff, the Secretary-General further proposed that they should be extended, under the same conditions, to the members of the Court and the Tribunals’ judges. The report also addressed other conditions of services of those officials.

    The Chairman of the ACABQ, CONRAD S.M. MSELLE, introduced a related report of the Advisory Committee (document A/56/7/Add.2).

    RAFIAH SALIM, Assistant Secretary-General for Human Resources Management, informed the Committee that a throat ailment prevented her from introducing reports today.

    DENNIS BEISSEL, Director of the Operational Services Division, Office of Human Resources Management, then introduced the Secretary-General’s report on gratis personnel.

    Mr. MSELLE, Chairman of the ACABQ, orally introduced the related report of that body. The ACABQ had noted that the number of type I gratis personnel had decreased by some 29.4 per cent from 265 as of December 2000 to 187 by 31 December 2001. During the same period, the number of type II gratis personnel decreased by 93 per cent from 43 to three. The Advisory Committee had observed that the functions of a health economist in the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), performed by one of the type II gratis personnel, were mandated activities that should have been carried by the regular budget. In view of the fact that the other two type II gratis personnel also appeared to fulfil criteria for type I gratis personnel, the ACABQ requested that the next report on the subject should contain a more precise application of the definition of the two types of gratis personnel. The Advisory Committee recommended that the Assembly take note of the Secretary-General’s report.

    Responding to the delegates’ comments regarding the need for the ACABQ to present its reports in writing, Mr. Mselle reiterated his position that the ACABQ had authorized its Chairman to report orally "for reasons having to do with the most effective and efficient management of time and other resources" available to both the ACABQ and the Fifth Committee. Once the ACABQ had reported, whether in writing or orally, it was for the Fifth Committee to decide how to proceed on the item on which the ACABQ had reported. A report of the ACABQ submitted orally by its Chairman was a formal communication to the General Assembly, containing a formal advisory communication or recommendation. It was for the Fifth Committee to inform the General Assembly whether or not that formal advisory communication or recommendation should be accepted. The mere publication of advisory instruments did not in and of itself make them formal. On the contrary, those instruments were published either in the summary record or subsequently as official documents of the General Assembly, because they were formal submissions from the Advisory Committee.

    He recalled that it had been customary for the Fifth Committee to refer to oral reports and related recommendations of the ACABQ in the reports it submits to the Assembly. Those reports of the Fifth Committee, on items reported on by the ACABQ, would be remiss if they were not to reflect fairly and accurately the facts in the proceedings of the Fifth Committee. The Committee had the power to accept or not to accept a report or a recommendation of the ACABQ. The report of the Fifth Committee to the Assembly, however, would not be factual if any of these actions were not reflected in the report, including an indication of the report or recommendation of the ACABQ that had been so treated by the Fifth Committee.

    He said he had decided to make a statement on the matter for the record and to assure the Committee that the Advisory Committee had always put great emphasis on submitting reports in writing. Reports submitted orally were exceptions that could not be avoided, because of the circumstances and constraints he had mentioned.

    ABDOU AL-MOULA NAKKARI (Syria) thanked Mr. MSELLE for his comments and noted his statement that the ACABQ had always focused on presenting its reports in writing. He understood that, in exceptional cases, oral reports could be presented, but an exception should not become the rule. Many resolutions had dealt with the issue of official documents and, according to procedure, all of them should be issued in all six official languages for the Committees to act upon. Every department should present explanations for delays in issuing the reports. As for the Advisory Committee presenting its reports, such issues should be governed by relevant Assembly resolutions and the rules of procedure.

    LOIPA SANCHEZ LORENZO (Cuba) supported the position that the ACABQ reports should be submitted in writing. Taking into account the workload and time pressure, some of its comments could be presented orally. Her delegation believed, however, that given the importance of the Advisory Committee as an expert body contributing to the work of the Fifth Committee, it should, in most cases, submit its reports in writing.

    Mr. BEISSEL then introduced the reports of the Secretary-General on human resources management on behalf of the Assistant Secretary-General for Human Resources Management.

    Regarding the proposed change in the mandatory age of separation of staff to 62, he said that the views of the International Civil Service Commission and the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund had been sought on the matter. According to their responses, the change would have minimal impact on career development, geographical distribution, gender balance and age profile of the Organization. It would have a somewhat positive effect on the actuarial balance of the Pension Fund, especially if other common system organizations would adopt the same policy. It would also have a positive effect on staff morale, as all staff would be treated equally, regardless of their entrance-on-duty dates, provided that their acquired rights were respected.

    Regarding the staff serving in the Secretary-General’s Executive Office, he said that the Secretary-General had been exercising his discretionary power regarding placement and promotion of such staff members, but the present legislation did not give him authority for assignment from that Office when the services of staff were no longer needed. The Secretary-General was requesting discretionary authority to release such staff and placing them in vacant posts before or after they had been advertised. Consultations with heads of departments and services concerned would be required. Promulgation of such a policy would not require changes in the existing rules and regulations.

    The report on consultants and individual contractors had been somewhat delayed, he added, but it had benefited from the latest information. Overall, there had been an increase in both categories of employees in 2000.

    Orally introducing the related report of the ACABQ, Mr. MSELLE welcomed the expansion of the report’s format, which was in line with prior requests of both the Assembly and the Advisory Committee. As a result of changes in the data-gathering methodology in 2000, the database had been recalibrated, resulting in a retroactive clean up of data, particularly for 1999, allowing for valid comparisons between the data corresponding to 1999 and 2000. Noting that a total of 3,054 consultants and 1,314 individual contractors were hired during 2000, at a total of $42 million, the Committee requests that the next report include a precise definition of consultants and contractors. The Advisory Committee recommended that the Assembly take note of the Secretary-General’s report.

    He said a written report of the ACABQ on the mandatory age of separation had been submitted, and he drew the Committee’s attention to its recommendations in paragraph 10 of the report.

    COLLEN VIXEN KELAPILE (Botswana) asked for clarification on several points in the report on the composition of the Secretariat, including why the ECA appeared in both the categories for departments and for offices with low and medium strategic replacement needs.

    JEONG-SIK KANG (Republic of Korea) said he attached great importance to the issue of raising the age of mandatory separation to 62. Such a change would have far-reaching implications for human resources management, directly impacting factors such as the age profile of the Secretariat, geographical distribution, gender balance and staff morale related to career development opportunities. In addition, it would have financial repercussions for the Pension Fund and staff-related costs.

    He expressed his strong disappointment at the manner in which the Secretariat had addressed the issue. The analysis of the Secretariat was incomplete, biased and overly simplistic. For some time, the Committee had heard concerns about the steady outflow of young professionals from the Organization and the need for rejuvenation of the Secretariat. It was not clear how those concerns were reflected in the Secretariat’s appraisal. He did not understand how the Secretariat came to the conclusion that the possible impact of the new measures would be minimal, although the number of staff affected would amount to some 6,000.

    While it was not easy to quantify the potential financial repercussions, an estimate could have been calculated by means of reasonable statistical assumptions, he added. Member States needed a general idea of the possible implications before a final decision was taken on the matter. Other important issues needed to be addressed as well, such as the effect on geographical distribution and career development. More time and input from the Secretariat were needed to determine the potential impact of any change. Moreover, the issue should not be dealt with independently, but in the context of the ongoing discussion of human resources management reform.

    Responding to the issues raised, Mr. BEISSEL said he would be glad to provide answers to the questions asked by the representative of Botswana in informal consultations. To the representative of the Republic of Korea, he said the central fact was that the number of vacancies (almost 2,500 as of last June) and additional positions as a result of resignations and other reasons, testified to the fact that there were still plenty of opportunities to accomplish many human resources objectives. Some minimal effects of the changes would be felt in the first two years after their implementation, but not in the future. Those were simple factual conclusions of the Secretariat, and he would further address the matter in informal consultations.

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