? – As Delivered –
I have the honour to speak on behalf of the Member States of the European Union.
The Acceding country Croatia*, the candidate countries Turkey, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, Montenegro* and Serbia*, the country of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidate Bosnia and Herzegovina, the EFTA country Liechtenstein, member of the European Economic Area, as well as the Republic of Moldova, align themselves with this statement.
At the outset, I would like to thank Under Secretary General Mr Yukio Takasu for introducing the Secretary General’s reports on Human Resources Management reform and human resources management and the Director of the Ethics Office, Ms Joan Elise Dubinsky, as well as the Chair of the ACABQ, Mr Collen Kelapile, for introducing their respective reports. I would also like to thank Mr Gerard Biraud for presenting the reports of the JIU and Ms Paulina Analena, Vice-President of the Staff Management Committee for her statement.
The EU Member States have long been staunch supporters of Human Resources Management reform and continue to be so. The goal of making the work of the United Nations more effective and efficient by implementing a modern human resources system and by fostering an organisational culture that enables staff at all levels to contribute to their greatest potential, is one we fully subscribe to. Human resources reform cannot be achieved overnight as we have always recognised. But an on-going effort to implement and consolidate past reforms and build on them in taking forward new measures, is key to ensuring that the full benefits of previous reforms are realised and that the overall aim of Human Resources Management reform which is – to quote the Secretary General – the creation of “a global, dynamic and adaptable workforce”, is fully achieved.
In this regard, we welcome the overview report of the Secretary General which shows some progress has been made. We also welcome his proposals on managed mobility. But before coming to this new proposal, I should like to stress the need to further address the underlying challenges of Human Resources Management in the Organisation.
Two years ago we made important progress when resolution 65/247 was adopted, including on contractual reform, where Member States decided on the process for granting continuing appointments and the one-time review for conversion to permanent appointments. We welcome the progress made on the latter, but are concerned as to the slow implementation on the awarding of continuing contracts.
On other issues, we note measures taken in an attempt to improve performance management such as the work done on a rewards and recognition framework. But we are concerned that new approaches to ensuring robust performance management are not being embraced by staff or managers in practice. We also see a clear need for significant improvement in tackling underperformance. We look forward to the results of the further work the Secretary General proposes in order to address this and urge that it be taken forward speedily.
We would also like to highlight a particular and continuing concern that yet again we see only little improvement in the time taken to recruit staff. This lack of progress is unacceptable and must hamper the day to day functioning of the Organisation. We are equally concerned that there has been no improvement in the gender imbalance in the Secretariat and hope that the comprehensive strategy the Secretary General plans to undertake will be able to address this seemingly intractable problem.
There are many other issues we do not have time to go into here but look forward to addressing in our forthcoming discussions. These include the report on the activities of the ethics office where we note a number of positive developments; the use of flexible working; and the potential liabilities for the Secretariat from its provision of administrative services to other UN entities. These and many other issues will require our full attention.
Turning to mobility, we are on record as strong proponents of the principle of managed mobility. We agree with the ACABQ view that a better managed organisational mobility programme has the potential to contribute to delivery of mandates and respond better to the career aspirations of staff. We therefore support the Secretary General’s proposed framework for mobility and career development, bearing in mind that any mobility programme should also account for budgetary constraints and existing mobility patterns, and take note of the suggested timeframe for its implementation. In this regard, we have queries on a number of aspects of the present proposal which we look forward to discussing on the basis of detailed analyses as requested by the ACABQ. These include costs, where a fuller explanation of the financial implications of the proposals will be needed; the implications for externally recruited candidates; and the role of staff in decision-making structures of the proposed mobility framework, which seems to us to go beyond what we would expect as appropriate involvement of staff representatives.
In the context of the mobility proposal, and also in the context of the overall improvement of the management of the Organisation, we should also like to raise the question of workforce planning. This needs to be significantly enhanced with a much wider focus than, for example, retirement forecasting. It needs to involve a real evaluation of staffing needs, with an examination of where staff are needed, correct grading and staff numbers. Only through such “right-sizing” can we all be confident that staff resources are being best utilised to deliver for the entire membership.
In conclusion, Mr Chairman, I would like to reaffirm that the Member States of the European Union stand ready to engage constructively in the forthcoming informal consultations to ensure that current and future Human Resources Management reform meets the needs of both the Organisation and its staff.
I thank you, Mr Chairman.
* Croatia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.