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Statement by the Chinese Delegation at the Fifth Committee of the 61st Session of the UN General Assembly on Common System

2006-10-25 00:00

Mr. Chairman,

The Chinese delegation would like to thank Chairman Amor for his introduction to the work of the Commission in 2006 and the representative of the UN System Chief Executives Board for his remarks. We have also listened very attentively to the statements by the representatives of the Federation of International Civil Servants' Association (FICSA) and the Coordinating Committee for International Staff Unions and Associations of the UN System (CCISUA).

Mr. Chairman,

The Chinese delegation has read carefully the Report of the International Civil Service Commission for the Year 2006 (A/61/30). We are pleased with the fruitful results achieved by the Commission. China associates itself with the statement by the representative of South Africa on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, and now my delegation would like to make a few comments on the following issues.

In response to the request made by the General Assembly in resolution 59/266, the ICSC reviewed the proposal of converting appointments from 300 to 100 series and the feasibility of harmonizing conditions of service at non-family duty stations in the field. Taking into account the new proposals by the Secretary General in his report on the management reform of the Secretariat such as streamlining contractual arrangements and harmonizing conditions of service, the Commission deemed it necessary to review the conditions of service for staff in field missions once again under the new circumstances and decided to establish a working group to conduct the related study and submit a report afterwards.

The Chinese delegation welcomes the establishment of the working group by the Commission to conduct a feasibility study on the necessity of harmonizing entitlements and benefits across the common system. With respect to the proposal in the Secretary General's report on streamlining contracts, namely replacing existing three types of contracts with one; the proposal of establishing a standing professional peacekeeping force and the one on staff mobility schemes, due to the fact that such reform measures will have a direct impact on the existing conditions of service across the common system, we suggest that the Commission review these issues from the perspective of the common system, conduct a comprehensive study, bearing in mind the requirements involved in contract streamlining and harmonization of conditions of service, and submit a report thereon to the General Assembly for its consideration.

We hope that in its study, the working group will take into consideration the following factors: possible budgetary implications of the proposed reform measures; cost-effectiveness, namely, simplification of management cannot be the single-minded focus to the extent of ignoring the high cost it entails; continuity in the implementation of existing management reform measures and the connection of the proposed reform measures with current management practices with a view to safeguarding the legitimate interests of staff members; compatibility with other related management reform measures and sufficient institutional guarantee during implementation, such as a transparent, fair and equitable management mechanism, accountability and effective judicial relief to safeguard the rights and interests of staff members.

On contractual arrangements, the 2005 report of the ICSC proposed a normative framework for three types of contracts, namely temporary appointment, fixed-term appointment and continuing appointment. The Chinese delegation believes that reform of contractual arrangements must aim at improving performance, enhancing efficiency, maintaining the dynamics of the work force and satisfying the operational requirements of our organization. Replacement of permanent contracts with continuing appointments must reflect the spirit of performance management so as to avoid turning the latter into de facto permanent contracts. The practice of automatic conversion to continuing appointment after a single appraisal has a very strong flavor of permanent appointments. Therefore, China would like to emphasize that continuing appointments should be granted through transparent and open procedures on the basis of regular performance appraisals with specific intervals and clear criteria.

On the development of the Senior Management Network (SMN), we have noted that the membership to the Network is position-based and the selection of positions for inclusion in the Network is the prerogative of chief executives, based on managerial responsibilities and accountabilities involved. It is our view that, to avoid subjectivity in the selection process, the inclusion in the SMN should be based on objective and clearly defined criteria, follow the principle of geographical and gender balance so as to give full expression to cultural diversity and meet the requirements of the organization. Meanwhile, it is necessary to develop corresponding managerial tools to support system-wide leadership capacity-building. Such work should be carried out within existing resources instead of incurring new resource burdens to member states.

As an independent expert organ under the General Assembly, the ISCS plays a pivotal role in regulating and coordinating conditions of service across the UN common system. It is our hope that in the process of modernizing UN human resources management, the ICSC will continue to play its important role in building up the common system by strengthening its communication and coordination with the chief executives of all agencies in a concerted effort to fulfill the objectives of the United Nations.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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