6 November 2003



NEW YORK, 5 November (UN Headquarters) -- In order to maintain the Organization’s efficiency and effectiveness and make the United Nations a model for study and emulation, it was necessary to establish a credible system to evaluate performance and improve the conditions of service of international personnel, Nigeria’s representative told the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) this morning, as it concluded its consideration of the United Nations common system.

Addressing the Committee, representatives of Japan and Nigeria stressed the importance of the ongoing review of pay and benefits within the United Nations system and proposed ways of improving the remuneration of staff. Nigeria’s delegation expressed concern that the proposed broadbanding/performance pay system did not seem to have mechanisms to clearly describe the advertised job to an interested applicant.  For example, in the broadband system to be tested, a P-3, P-4 or P-5 vacancy would be announced only as a Band 2 vacancy.  How would that help applicants?  How would the Organization be better placed to attract the best candidates for that particular post?  Additionally, lateral job changes would be made without the need to reclassify jobs, and there would be fewer vertical job changes.

Japan’s representative supported, in general, the introduction of a broadbanding system and pay-for-performance, but pointed out that a fair and reliable performance appraisal system was indispensable for introducing changes in that regard.  The pilot study should be carried out in a cost-neutral way.  It was also necessary to review the system of comparing remuneration of the United Nations and United States federal employees, especially the grade equivalency and level of margin.

Responding to comments and questions from the floor, Chairman of the International Civil Service Commission (ICSC), Mohsen Bel Hadj Amor, said that under article 11 of its Statute, the Commission had the authority to establish the level of hazard pay.  Having given careful consideration to the matter following the Assembly’s request to reconsider its decision, however, the Commission had upheld, by consensus, its opinion on the need to increase the level of hazard pay for locally recruited staff to 30 per cent of the midpoint of the salary scale.  In particular, it was necessary to address the discrepancy in the hazard pay of the General Service and Professional categories of staff.  At present, the amounts received by General Services and related staff were significantly less than the $1,000 per month received by the Professional and higher categories for the same level of hazard.


In response to Monday’s comments by the President of the Federation of International Civil Servants’ Associations (see Press Release GA/AB/3587 of 3 November), he recalled that the Commission, in its 2002 annual report, had recommended a differentiated salary increase that would take the margin to its desirable midpoint of 115.  However, the Assembly, after careful consideration, had decided to adopt a scale resulting in an estimated margin of 112.2 for 2003.  Contrary to what the President of the Federation had stated, regular adjustments of the base/floor salary scale had never been intended as a means to grant salary increases to Professional staff.  Those adjustments were introduced only to track the movement of salaries in the comparator civil service.

[Under the current methodology, the salary scale is set by reference to that of the comparator civil service in Washington, D.C.  In accordance with the accepted practice, the desirable midpoint of United Nations officials (P-4, step VI, at the dependency rate) has been set at 115 per cent of corresponding salaries of their counterparts in the United States federal civil service.]

The Committee also concluded its consideration of a report on the salary and retirement allowance of the Secretary-General and the Administration of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and took up the financing of International Trade Centre UNCTAD/WTO and admission of the International Criminal Court to membership in the United Nations Pension Fund.

Documents were introduced by Director of the Office of Programme Planning and Budget Division, Warren Sach; Chairman of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ), Conrad S.M. Mselle; and Deputy Chief Executive Office of the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund, John Dietz.

The Committee will hold elections to fill vacancies in subsidiary organs at 9:30 a.m. Friday, 7 November.


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