13 October 2005

Secretary-General, in Message to Field Staff Union's Annual Conference, Asks for Cooperation in Implementing World Summit Decisions

NEW YORK, 12 October (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the text of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's video message to the annual conference of the United Nations Field Staff Union in Brindisi, Italy, today, 12 October:

Every one of you makes a vital contribution to our global mission of peace.  All of us here at Headquarters owe you a debt of gratitude.

Even greater is our debt to those who are no longer with us -- those who gave their lives serving the United Nations.  That debt can never be repaid.

This is a time of change for our Organization, which makes great demands on all of you.  I commend you all for your efforts to meet those demands.

In the past year, we have taken several steps to make our field missions more effective.

The Department of Peacekeeping Operations has piloted the first Senior Leadership Induction Programme.  We are finalizing an anti-fraud and corruption policy, and robust new protections for whistleblowers.

To strengthen accountability, and crack down on sexual exploitation and abuse, we have introduced a single standard of conduct, which applies to all staff -- peacekeeping personnel and others.  I count on you all to remember -- and, when necessary, to remind each other -- that you are there to help and serve the local population.

Last, but certainly not least, we are taking steps to introduce recreational activities and to improve working and living conditions in all missions.

There will be more changes in the months ahead.  As you know, we are currently discussing contractual arrangements, placement and promotion, the administration of justice, and conditions of service.  In all of these areas, my goal is to ensure that you have the support and conditions you need to carry out your work.

I count on the Field Staff Union to help move this reform agenda forward.

And I count on all of you to work with me in implementing the important decisions taken at last month's World Summit.  These include steps to improve peacebuilding, increase funding for humanitarian emergencies, and bolster police capacity for peacekeeping operations.  There was also a breakthrough on the responsibility to protect.  For the first time, the entire UN membership accepted that it has a collective responsibility to protect populations from genocide, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.  This could help us to respond more rapidly, and more effectively, to the Bosnias, Rwandas and Darfurs of the future.

Those decisions will directly affect your work, and they leave us a lot of work to do.  Once again I thank you for your commitment, and for all that you do to make the ideals of the United Nations a living reality.

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