Remarks by Andrew Haviland, before the UNDP/UNFPA Executive Board on the UNOPS Post Reclassification Proposal

Andrew Haviland
New York, NY
January 20, 2009


Mr. President,

We want to thank UNOPS management for all its hard work in putting together the proposal on post reclassification. We recognize the envisioned post reclassification is an effort to better meet the needs of the organization.

We also recognize that staff is an important factor in ensuring the success of the organization. In this regard, we fully understand the need to compensate staff appropriately and in accordance with established UN standards.

The comprehensive and substantial post reclassification proposed by UNOPS is a significant decision for the Executive Board and one that we should not take lightly or in haste.

This is the first time that this matter has been brought before the Board for formal consideration, and the United States believes it would be prudent to delay a decision until at least the next Board meeting in June.

Delay would enable all Board members to work closely with UNOPS in seeking further clarification and assurances. In particular, the United States would like UNOPS to take into full account the recommendations of the ABACQ regarding its proposal.

Moreover, the request by UNOPS to upgrade a significant number of positions within its organization comes in the midst of an extremely challenging time of global economic crisis.

As Board members, we need to be mindful of broader perceptions and potential consequences for the UN that such a comprehensive and costly reclassification would have at a time when budgets are very strained and jobs are being lost worldwide.

We wish to assure the staff of UNOPS that we recognize its hard work and valuable contributions in helping to turn around the organization. We urge all members of the board to work closely with management to ensure that going forward, UNOPS has competitive post classifications to ensure that it can remain an effective partner in the UN system.

Thank you.


PRN: 2009/027