Remarks in a Meeting of the Fifth Committee on Agenda Item 145: UN Common System

Ambassador Patrick Kennedy
Senior Advisor for UN Management and Reform
New York, New York
November 16, 2021


Mr. Chairman, I would like to thank the distinguished Chair of the ICSC, the Chief of Service of the PPBD, the Vice Chair of the ACABQ, and the representatives of the three employee staff organizations, for their comprehensive presentations today. I would also like to convey on behalf of my government, my sincere gratitude to all Secretariat staff who are supporting us today and throughout these negotiations.

Without a doubt, as has been said repeatedly and bears repeating, personnel are the United Nations system’s most important asset. The United States has always committed to ensuring that staff are supported, empowered, and compensated in a fair and transparent manner. Working together with all stakeholders – including organizations of the UN common system, staff federations, Member States, and the International Civil Service Commission – we have sought to maintain and advance two core principles: One: maintaining and strengthening the high standards of and support for the international civil service staff; and, two, protecting the integrity of the UN common system compensation practices from influences that work against transparency and accountability.

In the course of this session, we look forward to thoroughly reviewing the recommendations of the International Civil Service Commission that call for decisions by the General Assembly and the legislative organs of the other participating organizations. In addition, we wish to highlight several issues that are of paramount importance to the integrity of the UN common system.

Last year, the General Assembly unequivocally reaffirmed ICSC authority to establish post adjustment multipliers for duty stations in the United Nations common system. It is clear that re-establishing a unified salary scale for professional staff in the UN common system and addressing the issue of divergent jurisprudence remain shared priorities for the Member States, and we stand ready to support further steps to achieve these objectives.

We also look forward to discussing additional measures to increase transparency on compensation matters through access to better data on UN system-wide costs, and encouraging further alignment of ICSC methodology with international best practices, especially on such issues as using external data to establish salary scales and post adjustments.

We once again reiterate our sincere gratitude to the dedicated women and men serving in the UN common system.

Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.