STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA BY MS NADA TARBUSH, FIRST SECRETARY, MISSION OF THE STATE OF PALESTINE TO THE UNITED NATIONS, ON AGENDA ITEM 140: HUMAN RESOURCES MANAGEMENT, AT THE FIFTH COMMITTEE DURING THE MAIN PART OF THE SEVENTY-FOURTH SESSION OF THE UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY (New York, 13 November 2019)
1. I have the honour to speak on behalf of the Group of 77 and China on agenda item 140 entitled "Human Resources Management".
2. The Group expresses its appreciation to Ms. Elia Yi Armstrong, Director of the Ethics Office, as well as Mr. Cihan Terzi, the Chair of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions, for introducing their respective reports.
3. The Group of 77 and China believes that Human Resources Management is of utmost importance for the Organization. As we enter the 74th Session, this item remains a priority for the Group. We hope this year the Committee will be able to find common ground and adopt a resolution on this subject. Our group is committed to make its best efforts in order to achieve a positive result. We therefore note with great concern that not all relevant reports have been issued in a timely manner, imposing additional challenges on the Fifth Committee.
4. The Group supports the Secretary-General's efforts to improve human resources management. We acknowledge that the delivery of UN mandates hinges on the quality of its staff and the availability of adequate resources. We therefore support reforms that contribute to a highly motivated, diverse and dynamic workforce for our Organization, with a view to making it more representative of the multi-cultural and geographically broad membership. The ideal work environment should also be fair, transparent, accountable, and responsive to the needs of its Member States.
5. We regret that, since our last deliberations on this item, and despite repeated requests by our Group to take appropriate measures towards attaining the goal of equitable geographical representation in the United Nations Secretariat, no comprehensive proposals to this end are being presented to this Committee. We once again urge the Secretary-General to implement a comprehensive strategy to ensure equitable geographical representation in the Secretariat through the increase of the representation of developing countries, in particular at senior levels, in order for the United Nations to have a truly global Secretariat adequately representing the diversity of its Member States, a condition necessary for the United Nations to succeed in implementing its global mandate.
6. The Group places great importance on the advice and guidance to staff on ethical issues provided by the Ethics Office. The protection of the core values of the Organizations and the adherence to the highest standards of ethical conduct is paramount to building a United Nations that achieves its goals in an irreproachable manner and becomes a model of transparency and public administration.
7. The Group commends the Office on the conduction of ethics briefings for groups and individuals at Headquarters and in the field and appreciates the high level of participation, which reached more than 31,000 UN staff. The Group further welcomes the remarked decrease in the average number of days taken to conduct preliminary reviews of the protection against retaliation cases. Likewise, the Group notes with appreciation the continued expansion of the number of staff covered by the financial disclosure programme and further encourages more senior officials to disclose the summary of their assets.
8. At the same time, the Group takes note of the proposals of the Secretary-General for strengthening the independence of the Ethics Office, restating measures that had been proposed in his 2018 report (A/73/89). The Group acknowledges the need for a strong and reliable Ethics Office. Nonetheless, as in last year, we will seek further clarifications regarding the measures contained in the item "Observations and Conclusions" of the report, as recommended by the Advisory Committee. Taking into consideration the very important role of the Ethics Office, the Group is of the view that revisions to its stature, reporting line and governance structure would have significant consequences for the Organization as a whole. Therefore, further analysis of such proposals is necessary.
9. In conclusion, I wish to emphasize that Human Resources Management remains a priority for the Group. We reaffirm our commitment to engage in a constructive debate to foster substantive progress on this issue.
I thank you, Mr. Chair.