Security and safety of staff
Statement by Ms. Marlene Sequeira, President, to the Sixth Session of the High-Level Committee on Management
The Coordinating Committee for International Staff Unions and Associations of the United Nations System wishes to pursue the dialogue with the HLCM. Some items of the agenda before us are considered crucial by our membership; some are of the utmost importance for both federations and will be dealt with either by CCISUA or by FICSA, since we both share the same views on the issues.
Security and safety of staff
After the tragedy suffered by the Organization in Baghdad and the loss of our colleagues, many questions remain unanswered. CCISUA and FICSA met, in Geneva, with the Assistant Secretary-General and United Nations Security Coordinator, Mr. Tun Myat. After answering some of our concerns, he informed us that a status of security review of all UN facilities was planned. We wish to know where we stand on this issue.
I was also invited to a meeting organized in Geneva by a Panel on Iraq
headed by Mr. Ahtissari. I heard several colleagues pointing to the
weaknesses of the security system in Baghdad and I wish to ask why the
following elements were absent:
(a) Evacuation plan;
(b) Video cameras surveillance
(c) Metal detectors;
(d) Coordination between international security staff and administration;
(e) Secured layout of offices;
(f) Security of local staff.
Why was not the international security staff involved in the recruitment of local security personnel?
There follow a few suggestions brought to our attention by staff members who have experience in mission assignments:
United Nations, Room S-0525, New York, NY 10017, USA . Tel. 1(212) 963.3796, 1(212) 963.7076, Fax 1(212)963.3367
Palais des Nations, bureau C-527, 1211 Genève 10, Suisse . Tél.
41(22) 917-3400, Fax 41(22) 917-0070
(a) Secured transport to and from the hotels;
(b) To send staff experienced in after war context;
(c) Scout a mission duty station by staff specialized in evacuation plans, first aid and fire, before sending staff;
(d) Insist on the technical aspect of the mission by sending specialists to put in place a security concept;
(e) Lastly, send the staff.
Not the other way around, as was the case for Baghdad.
Human Resource Development: measures to improve system-wide mobility
CCISUA has repeatedly stated that a system-wide mobility must take into account a balanced mobility between organizations of the system. There appears to be more mobility from specialized agencies towards the United Nations than the other way around. Could we have some figures for all grades in the professional category?
Mobility of staff is perceived as a sanction when it is presented as a must for a promotion. What measures do you intend to take to enhance the perception of mobility for all staff including general service staff?
CCISUA is extremely interested in the mobility of general service staff. There does not seem to be any proposal on that issue. In duty stations where several agencies have headquarters and/or offices, the question of inter-agency mobility of GS staff must be considered. It is in the interest of the Organization and its staff to offer training and careers to facilitate a greater movement and a greater versatility of the support staff. The present situation one GS force attached to one organization, with no possibility of transfer to another organization, unless the GS separates is detrimental to all. The working conditions are worsening: lack of job security; lack of the necessary feeling of belonging to a wider system, with the negative effect of narrowing the scope of the United Nations vision; building frustrations; work-related illnesses; and so on. Improving systemwide mobility for the General Service staff is highly pertinent in todays world. CCISUA wishes to underline the need for HLCM to undertake a study of the issue.
Recognition of domestic partnerships
CCISUA will support FICSA position on the issue of recognition of domestic partnerships.
CCISUA is very much in favour of an urgent Secretariat-wide action on dual careers/spouse employment. Research indicates that spouse/dual career issues are the biggest barrier to mobility. This applies, in particular, to inter-agency mobility. Is there any specific proposal from management on spouse employment? Work permits probably also need comprehensive, in addition to bilateral, approach (for example, Austria does not issue work permits for UN spouses). Due consideration should be given to re-negotiation of host agreements. What is the frequency of re-negotiation of these host agreements over, for example, the last ten years? Have any clear alternative strategies be considered? For example, in ICTY, the host agreement has been renegotiated two years ago and full work permits have been obtained for all spouses and work permits of up to 10 hours per week for dependants over the age of 18.
A staff survey was sent to various agencies located in Bangkok. I believe that a summary of the findings has been given by UNDP to Ms. Bertini. I have also a few copies with me should you be interested to consider the results of that exercise.