UN Special No 638 March-Mars 2005
ÉDITORIALAttention danger !
Watch out !
INTERVIEW«Quitter au bon moment»
“Quit when things look good”
PERSONNELConseil du Personnel: bilan et perspectives
Roses & Cactus
Caisse des pensions
Don´t forget to go to vote
N´oubliez pas d´aller voter
WHO pensioners in Denmark
59th GA approved recommendations of the ICSC
Long Service Award medals
Allegations over Iraq oil-for-food programme point to a drive to tarnish image of the UN
ARTSLe Club de musique de l´ONUG
L´art au Palais des Nations
Exposition: Michaud Michel
GLOBEMeditations, three forms of love: Eros, Philos, Agape
No Rest for the Racing Mind
Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM)
Swiss campaign for new 0.5 alcohol level
Savoir et développement
Gagarine Times: journal russe et francophone
Un exemple de solidarite
Qui sont-ils? Habitants des profondeurs
Poem: The Angry Sea
SERVICESEtudes architecturales au Palais des Nations
Draughtsmen at the Palais des Nations
La reconnaissance vocale
LOISIRSLac Cornu et les Lacs Noirs
Lac Cornu and the two Lacs Noir
N° 638 Mars 2005
“Quit when things look good”
Why do you accept an interview now that you are quitting the Staff Council and refused to be interviewed when you were elected as Executive Secretary (ES)?
For two reasons: First, I like to do something different. Normally, UN Special interviews newly elected ES. I refused at that time because I had nothing new to say, apart from repeating what my predecessors had said. Second, we have a saying: as soon as you leave, the tea will become cold behind you. I accept this interview in order to keep the tea warm for a little while longer, so to speak.
Then, why don’t you stay on so that the tea remains warm all the time?
In the first place, the Executive Secretary is not a permanent post, although I have no doubt about being reelected in the competition. Secondly, please allow me quote another Chinese proverb: one should quit the stage while the applause continues. I decide to stop now because I feel great and have nothing to regret. Otherwise I would stay on until I accomplish what I wanted to achieve.
Do you mean you have achieved what you wanted? In other words, you think that you have made some achievements?
Sorry, I fall into my own trap. Before answering your question, let me
say this: my reply will either sound immodest or admitting myself useless
and having done nothing. In the first case, I would appear unlike a
Chinese because being modest is one of our characteristics. In the second
case, I would do injustice not only to myself but also to other
Council members in general and Bureau members in particular. Yet I
can't leave your question unanswered.
What is your one-year experience as Executive Secretary?
It is a challenging job. It is said that this post is a special training
course of the United Nations where you learn practically everything,
good or bad, within the system. I became a unionist more than 15
years ago and for years I have been in the Executive Bureau, therefore,
I'm not completely new to the job. The only difference is that the
Executive Secretary has to be responsible for all the decisions right or
wrong. I'm a chess lover. I often regard being ES as playing chess.
When you make a move, you need to foresee several moves ahead,
especially if your counterpart has more means and more resources
than you do. Nowadays, Staff representation business is different from
your days when you were a Bureau member or the President. I remember
that at that time, there were different electoral lists but no "opposition".
After an election all lists generally worked together in harmony.
Presently, Staff representatives, in particular the Executive Secretary
and also the deputy ES, have to negotiate with an Administration
which is always reluctant in making concessions, while at the same
time, have to face a blind opposition. I mean that they oppose anything
you do. If you say this is white, they will automatically say it's black. In
this sense, we are doing not bad.
Then, why do you stop while you think you are doing well?
As I said at the beginning that you quit when things look good. In this way you don't feel ashamed. Moreover ES is a post that many people envy. Personal ego and jealousy are part of human nature. We should also give others a chance. Besides, I wish to do something else.
As you know, the election of participants' representatives on the
United Nations Staff Pension Committee (UNSJPC) will be held soon.
Both you and myself as well as Mrs. Gantet, Mrs. Fleury et Mr. Mporamazina
are candidates from UNOG. All five of us or whoever among us
if elected have a very important responsibility to defend our pension
interests. Since the US dollar devalues rapidly, we painfully see our
pension evaporate day by day. We must do something about it. We all
know that we should not put all eggs in only one basket, yet we rely on
only one currency, the US dollar. This system should be changed, other
currency or currencies should be introduced, for example, the euro.
This sounds naive or impossible now, but may be the only way to protect
our pension from shrinking. I'd better I stop here, otherwise I will
be accused of doing an electoral campaign for myself.