Statement by Michael Scanlon, United States Representative to the Fifth Committee, on Agenda Item 123 - Human Resources Management in the Fifth Committee

Micheal Scanlon, U.S. Representative to the Fifth Committee
New York, NY
March 13, 2009


Mr. Chairman,

My delegation would like to thank Assistant Secretary-General Catherine Pollard and Ms. Susan McLurg, Chairperson of the ACABQ, for presenting their respective reports on Human Resources Management.

We would like to applaud the approval during the Fall session of the General Assembly of meaningful reform in Human Resources Management. The adoption of resolution A/RES/63/250 addresses many of the issues raised in the Secretary-General’s reports on HRM, particularly in the areas of contractual arrangements and harmonization of conditions of service.

The streamlining of contracts aims to simplify what has been an overly complex array of hiring mechanisms and provides clear distinctions between the types of contracts that will be used based on the nature of the appointment. Conditions of service go hand-in-hand with streamlining of contracts. This Committee must now consider the proposed amendments to the staff regulations as necessitated by our action on contractual arrangements and conditions of service. The proposed amendments as listed in the Secretary-General’s report A/63/694 will affect many UN staff, particularly staff at field duty stations.

We note the concerns expressed in the ACABQ’s report with respect to the amount of detail provided on the context of the proposed amendments, the drafting and approval process, transitional measures, and the explanations and commentary that accompany the proposed text of the amended regulations. Our deliberations should help to determine what further information is needed. We further note the Advisory Committee’s view that the amendments to the regulations should address other issues covered by A/RES/63/250, such as accountability and performance appraisal. In our view, while this is a desirable goal, given the amount of time available we should consider the implementation of the new system of contracts and conditions as of July 1, 2009 to be our highest priority.

Mr. Chairman,

It is clear that there is a need for some revisions to the proposed new staff regulations and my delegation looks forward to working with other Member States so that the new regulations required as a result of Resolution A/63/250 with respect to contracts and conditions of service can go into effect as scheduled on July 1, 2009. The draft regulations include language pertaining to the issuance of continuing appointments and in this regard it is important to recall the language in Section II, paragraphs 3 and 4 of A/63/250 stating that criteria and regulations concerning continuing contracts are to be taken up during the forthcoming Fall session. In the interim, the Secretary-General should not appoint any staff to continuing contracts before January 1, 2010.

Also, we trust that the Secretary-General will not grant permanent appointments to any current staff who do not have such an appointment or to any newly engaged staff, pending the new system coming into effect, taking into account paragraph 23 of the resolution relating to candidates from the National Competitive Recruitment Examination and staff from language services.

Finally, we trust that the Secretary-General is now implementing the provisions of the resolution dealing with temporary appointments, particularly paragraph 8 of the resolution regarding the benefits and allowances that staff on temporary contracts receive, and paragraph 14 relating to the practice of assigning staff from Headquarters to missions on travel status for a period of more than three months.

We are confident that we will be successful in approving amendments to the staff regulations and that the new system of contracts and conditions of service will go into effect as planned.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.


PRN: 2009/047