Remarks at a Meeting of the Fifth Committee on the UN Common System

Ambassador Cherith Norman Chalet
U.S. Representative for UN Management and Reform
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York City
November 2, 2018


Thank you, Mr. Chair.

My delegation would like to thank Mr. Kingston Rhodes, Chair of the International Civil Service Commission, Mr. Chandru Ramanathan, Acting Controller, and Mr. Babou Sene, Vice Chair of the ACABQ for introducing their respective reports. We would also like to acknowledge the statements of the staff representatives today.

Mr. Chair, the International Civil Service Commission was established to ensure consistency and continuity in the regulation and coordination of the conditions of service of the United Nations common system. My delegation has long supported the Commission’s critical work in ensuring that staff compensation is simplified, streamlined, modern, and fair.

While my delegation believes that the UN must attract, develop, and retain capable and high-performing staff members for this Organization to implement its many mandates, any change to the conditions of service for UN staff must also be evidence-based and in touch with global marketplace realities.

As it simplified and modernized professional-level staff compensation, the adoption of General Assembly resolution 70/244 represented a landmark result in streamlining UN compensation and reducing certain elements that had unjustifiably ballooned. Less than three years later, this Committee must now consider proposals on new allowances and increases to existing allowances. The United States is concerned with these increases and will therefore carefully consider the rationale, justification and methodology behind the proposals before us this session, including how these recommendations fit into the broader ongoing UN reform efforts and previous decisions on rationalizing conditions of service.

In the same vein, my delegation takes exception to recent salary bonuses paid to World Intellectual Property Organization staff. Such arbitrary measures undermine the common system and the holistic approach that the Commission and member states must take when considering any recommendations on the conditions of service.

Mr. Chair, in the 72nd session, the General Assembly supported the Commission’s decision to reduce the post adjustment in Geneva. We urge the Executive Directors of the organizations that have not yet implemented the Commission’s recommendation on post adjustment as well as the age of separation to do so without further delay.

We also welcome the Commission’s report on diversity and reiterate that the UN common system should reflect the principles espoused in Article 101 of the UN Charter. In parallel, we look forward to the outcome of the Commission’s General Service-level review.

Mr. Chairman, my delegation will engage constructively on this agenda item and in finding ways to best support the 24 organizations of the UN common system.

Thank you very much.