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Transcript of the video message on human resources reform

1 Jul 2009
Susana Malcorra

Near-verbatim transcript of video messages by USG Susana Malcorra
and OIC of FPD Paul Johnson to all field staff on the new contract reform 

Hello colleagues,

I am Susana Mallcora, the Head of the Department of Field Support and here is my colleague Paul Johnson, Officer in Charge of the Field Personnel Division. We are here today to speak with you about some big changes that are taking place this very same day. We are implementing as of July 1st the HR reforms that the General Assembly had adopted back in December.

This is a very important day for you all, for us all.  Today for the first time, our personnel in the field becomes fully integrated to the Secretariat and after going through the review boards you will be considered as part of the Secretariat staff. Your career will not be limited to the mission where you are in. Your career will be fully integrated to the full alternatives the Secretariat can give you.

So this is really a big step forward.  It is our staff in the field, the ones who really have been in the most difficult duty stations, who have been exposed to the most difficult duties that are now becoming full staff of the UN Secretariat. Together with this of course there are also changes regarding conditions of service and contracts. This will have an impact directly on you. And I am sure you a very worried about this particular impact. And I just want to reassure you that we have made all considerations so that you have not a negative impact on your income. Most of you will have an overall impact positive.

Of course the package proposed by the Secretary-General was not adopted in full and there are pieces to it, which are very important to you that have been left behind. Particularly, aspects related to non-family duty stations, to the fact that your families stay away from you. I have to tell you that we are working very closely with the Department of Management and OHRM to go back to the General Assembly next year and propose adjustments to the basic package adopted so that you will all come very close to what it is that our colleagues in the funds and programmes receive as recognition to our work. This is something that we will work strongly on and we will keep you informed but I am sure that is something specific on this matter, Paul will be able to tell you some further details. Paul …

Paul Johnson:

Thank you Susana. For over the past six months we’ve been providing a wealth of information to you and your colleagues in the field missions about the new conditions of service. Through faxes, through video conferences, through discussions, through frequently asked questions and other exchanges, we have explained the new conditions of service, particularly those allowances and benefits that you might not previously have been familiar with. We continue to encourage you to educate yourself as we move forward, so that you become well versed in these new conditions of service that you will be entitled to starting the first of July.

Your HR specialists, together with the HR specialists in the Field Personnel Division, the specialists in Office of Human Resources Management and in the accounts division have been working very diligently over the past six months to make this transition as successful as possible. Rewriting regulations, revising administrative issuances, looking at the way we have always done business to determine how we should do business when it comes to taking care of staff and their entitlements. These are things that we hope will show immediate benefit as we move into this new era.

As with any new system, there are going to be problems.  So, what we have also done is to put in place some mechanisms whereby if you have a problem you can bring it to our attention with the minimum of bureaucracy.  Your first point of contact is going to be the human resource specialist locally in the mission and they will be able to log your problem in a way that both you and I will be able to track the follow-up and resolution of your concerns.

Now, as we move forward beyond this period we also look forward this year to putting in place mechanisms that will help you exploit the mobility that is inherent in the HR reforms adopted by the General Assembly. We believe the General Assembly will provide us with the resources whereby we will be able to offer those who have been serving in field missions or their current assignment in field missions for three years or longer, new opportunities which to expand their professional understanding and their competence.

Now in all these matters, we invite you to continually stay abreast of developments by referring to the Serving As One webpage on the intranet and also the Field Personnel Division webpage that is attached to the DPKO/DFS website. Susana…

Susana Malcorra:

Thank you Paul. And just let me finish here by wishing you the best, by conveying the message from the Secretary-General that he hopes that this translates to you in a very favourable way. And that he will always be behind our field personnel because you are all really in the frontier of what the United Nations has to deliver.

Thank you.