31 October 1996
Mr. Morteza Mirmohammad
Representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran
to the Fifth Committee
Agenda Item: 120
Human Resources Management
October 31, 1996
In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
I thank Assistant-Secretary-General for Human Resources Management for his statement on this agenda item.
My delegation associates itself with the statement made by Costa Rica on behalf of the G 77 and China.
In his report, A/C.5/51/1, the Secretary-General proposes to manage the human resources of the Secretariat in a global and universal manner by applying various norms and standards inscribed by various General Assembly resolutions and decisions namely, those pertaining to the formulation of the status of women, provision of a global strategy for managing career planning, the development of human resources management in a multi-lateral environment and the policy of equitable geographical representation of established posts. At the same time, a system of delegation of authority and ensuring accountability of the programme managers in managing their staff resources is being instituted.
In the management of these two separate issues, it is not easy to conclude whether OHRM has indeed developed the required specific guidelines to properly translate the universal rules established by the General Assembly for use by the programme managers and whether any systematic monitoring mechanism has been put in place to ensure the proper implementation of the relevant General Assembly decisions and resolutions at the departmental levels. If the system of delegation of authority is to succeed, it is imperative that the mangers are systematically trained and empowered to handle their authority with utmost care. In the absence of these elements, the Secretary-General may find it difficult to provide adequate assurances that the global Secretariat will maintain its universality and will, as required, reflect and represent the interest of all its membership.
It would also seem that the report is short of addressing the tasks originally assigned to the Office for Human Resources Management namely, performing functions related to the administration of the staff, provision of support services to the managers in staff development, establishing a long overdue system of career development, projecting the need of the Organization and securing the required skills and expertise from as broad a number of countries as possible. Moreover, it does not make a reference to development, or present of a comprehensive career system for the staff of the Untied Nations, despite the frequent requests by the General Assembly since a decade ago. Instead, in promoting the new performance appraisal system, the report gives the impression that by introduction of this new tool for evaluation of staff conduct, the requirements for career considerations and development has been superseded.
The policy of not offering career opportunities to the employees of the Organization may tilt the scale in favor of fixed-term and non-career staff, depriving the Organization from a core institutional capacity essential for its continuity and effectiveness. This policy is not in line with the recommendations of the high-level Working Group of Experts or the “G-18″ which were endorsed by the GA resolution 41/214. By the same token, reduction of established posts from the programme budget and increasing resorts to ad hoc funds provided by Governments, deprive developing countries from being properly represented in staff positions. It is also harmful that the new mechanism for redeployment and dismissal of staff recognizes no distinction between the career international civil servants and those of the short-term staff with temporary appointments, as envisaged in the established rules and regulations. Logically speaking, until such time that the report of the Secretary-General on the programme budget for 1996-1997 has not been approved, the Secretary-General should be requested to return the staff, affected by the reduction project,to their original posts and functions. Accordingly, any further redeployment of staff should be postponed until such time that the General Assembly has approved the future submission by the Secretary-General.
As it became evident from the deliberations of the Sixth Committee of the General Assembly which reviewed the legal implications of the proposals on the reform of the internal system of justice , there are certain reservations on the proposed system of arbitration. Therefore,it is expected that the Secretary-General, taking into account the recommendation of the Sixth Committee, provide, on a priority basis, a new set of proposals for consideration by the General Assembly at its resumed 51st session.
With regard to improving the status of women in the Secretariat, the report of the Secretary-General states that the objective of 35.1 percent representation of women in the Secretariat has been achieved. The question arises whether in light of the new policy of downsizing and the resultant loss of a considerable number of women staff at various levels, the latest statistics presented by the Secretary-General do already take into account the impact of recent downsizing on the overall representation of women in the Secretariat.
In connection with the Secretary-General’s report on the composition of the Secretariat in document A/51/421, I would like to make the following observations:
My Government has noted that the desirable range for Iran in 1996 has been suddenly reduced to 9-19, as compared to the previous estimate of 16- 23 posts. In an effort to seek clarification on this issue, we had written to the Assistant-Secretary-General for Human Resources Management in August 1996. Yet, I regret to state that, todate, my delegation had not received any answer or even an oral explanation to that effect. In the absence of a response from the Secretariat, my delegation deems to be bound to request this information on the floor of the 5th Committee.
I venture to remind this committee that the Islamic Republic of Iran is among those countries which are not adequately represented in the Secretariat, and in spite of steady increase in our contribution for the regular budget in previous scales, no single Iranian has been recruited to the Secretariat within almost two past decades.
Table 4 of document A/51/421 shows that as of 30 June 1996, Iranian nationals held 17 positions in posts subject to geographical distribution – 7 of which were women. The cut-off date for statistics presented, however, conceals a subsequent reduction in our representation which is more disturbing to my delegation. Since that date, two senior Iranian staff have been separated and two more, have been afflicted by the application of administrative instruction, St/A1/415, and are still awaiting placement. We, therefore, request the Secretariat to take necessary steps to ensure that the Iranian representation will not fall below the mid-point figure, which is indeed considered too low.
We would also like to take this opportunity to support the position of the G-77 and China, expressed clearly by Costa Rica, on the question of involuntary separation of staff. In any event, we firmly believe that the principle of equitable geographical representation should be adhered to, both at the time of increasing and decreasing the staff of the Secretariat. Therefore, special measures should be taken in order not to adversely affect the representation of those countries which are under-represented or are within range. In doing so, if any post is deemed to be cut, the Secretariat should start with the nationals of over-represented countries.