Press Releases

    7 November 2002



    NEW YORK, 6 November (UN Headquarters) -- Following are the remarks of Deputy Secretary-General Louise Fréchette to the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) of the General Assembly in New York on 6 November:

    I am pleased to introduce the statement of the United Nations System Chief Executives Board on the report of the International Civil Service Commission (ICSC).

    As the Secretary-General indicated when he addressed the Commission at its last session in July, the ICSC plays a key role in supporting the process of reform. Changes are being made throughout the United Nations system to modernize human resources management, to build results-oriented cultures, and to promote accountability, continuous learning and managerial excellence. Executive Heads are keenly aware that the capacity to attract, develop, motivate and retain high quality staff will be a crucial factor in the success of this transformation.

    The United Nations common system needs a pay-and-benefits system that supports these objectives. However, the current system falls short. Executive Heads have repeatedly expressed their concern over its lack of competitiveness, flexibility and responsiveness. United Nations organizations are no longer competitive in the international public labour market. The issue is not whether we can recruit someone –- rather, it is whether we can recruit the best. Our pay system does not contribute to improved performance or more effective management.

    It is not only the Executive Heads who hold these convictions. You yourselves, the Member States, have also emphasized the importance you attach to these goals. As you are aware, in resolution 55/258, the Assembly endorsed the recommendation of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions that a competitive package of conditions of service is a prerequisite to the successful achievement of human resources reform.

    Executive Heads welcome the proposals of the Commission to reform the system. These proposals are innovative and forward-looking. They complement management reforms already being carried out, and would provide new tools with which to facilitate mobility, build competencies, strengthen management and leadership, encourage and reward high performance, and address problems involving recruitment and retention, especially at senior levels.

    Executive Heads look forward to working with the Commission to gradually implement the proposals, and fine-tune them as necessary, in the same spirit of openness that characterized the process by which the proposals were developed.

    Executive Heads look forward to further proposals from the Commission, particularly with regard to updating the Noblemaire principle, to achieve greater competitiveness.

    Finally, Executive Heads strongly support the ICSC’s recommendation that there be a differentiated salary increase for the professional and higher categories. This fully accords with the methodology approved by the General Assembly. It also responds to many resolutions requesting the Commission to address the long-standing imbalance in the current margin.

    The Secretary-General’s new "agenda for further change" stresses that the goals set out in the Millennium Declaration can be achieved only if the United Nations has a world-class staff equal to the challenges of our times. The recommendations that the ICSC has put before you have the potential to strengthen the international civil service and improve staff morale. The Secretary-General and Executive Heads ask for your support in making the organizations of the system more effective instruments for peace and development.

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