STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA BY MS MEGAYLA AUSTIN, MINISTER COUNSELLOR OF THE PERMANENT MISSION OF GUYANA TO THE UNITED NATIONS, ON AGENDA ITEM 140: HUMAN RESOURCES MANAGEMENT, AMENDMENTS TO STAFF REGULATIONS AND RULES, AT THE FIRST PART OF THE RESUMED 74TH SESSION OF THE FIFTH COMMITTEE OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY (New York, 11 March 2020)
1. I have the honour to speak on behalf of the Group of 77 and China under Agenda item 140: Human Resources Management, Amendments to Staff Regulations and Rules.
2. At the outset, allow me to thank Ms. Catherine Pollard, Under-Secretary-General for Management Strategy, Policy and Compliance, and Mr. Abdallah Bachar Bong, Chair of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions, for introducing the related reports.
3. The Group appreciates the efforts of the Secretariat to undertake a comprehensive review of the Staff Regulations and Rules, with a view to simplify and streamline the regulatory framework for the management of human resources. Greater consistency and less duplication in the regulations and rules will help to support management reform. However, the Group notes that there is a lack of clarity in the presentation of the amendments, given that multiple reports which do not supersede each other are being considered at the same time. In addition, some proposals appear to subvert the hierarchy of norms in the United Nations, thus giving rise to more confusion instead of clarity. Notwithstanding this, the Group will study all proposed amendments carefully, and will engage on this item constructively.
4. The Group welcomes proposals that are clearly compliant with General Assembly resolutions, such as the proposal to include a provision on employment and accessibility for staff members with disabilities. However, the Group notes with concern that several proposals touch upon sensitive and complex policy issues that have not yet been reviewed or agreed on by the General Assembly.
5. As some of these proposals would substantively alter existing human resources policies, they should be presented in the relevant policy reports for the consideration of the General Assembly. The Group stresses that amendments to the staff regulations and rules should not be used as a backdoor to enact policy changes that have yet to be approved.
6. The Group notes the strong emphasis placed on the principle of “equitable distribution of the positions between men and women” in the context of staff selection and retention. Let me be clear: the Group firmly supports gender parity and does not condone discrimination on the basis of gender. As highlighted by the Secretary-General, “gender inequality is the overwhelming injustice of our age”. While the Group appreciates steps taken to improve gender parity at all levels in the United Nations, the Group stresses that equal attention must be paid to the principle of equitable geographical representation, in accordance with Article 101 of the Charter. The Group looks forward to discussing this in more detail during the informal consultations.
7. The Group also notes that some of the proposed amendments, such as the proposed change to special post allowance, would result in financial implications or increased expenditures. The Group looks forward to learning more about the expected financial impact of the proposals.
8. In conclusion Mr. Chair, the Group of G77 and China would like to assure you of its readiness to engage constructively with a view to concluding this important agenda item in a timely manner.
I thank you.