STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA BY AMBASSADSOR BOUBACAR DIALLO, G-77 COORDINATOR, PERMANENT MISSION OF THE REPUBLIC OF GUINEA TO THE UNITED NATIONS, ON AGENDA ITEM 138: PROPOSED PROGRAMME BUDGET FOR 2022, CONDITIONS OF SERVICE OF THE INTERNATIONAL CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION (ICSC) AND THE ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON ADMINISTRATIVE AND BUDGETARY QUESTIONS (ACABQ) (New York, 28 October 2021)
1. I have the honor to speak on behalf of the Group of 77 and China on agenda item 138: Proposed Programme Budget for 2022, conditions of service of the International Civil Service Commission (ICSC) and the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ).
2. At the outset, the Group would like to thank, Mr. Larbi Djacta, Chair of the International Civil Service Commission, and Mr. Abdallah Bachar Bong, Chair of the Advisory Committee for Administrative and Budgetary Questions, for their reports and support to the work of the Organisation.
3. The Group also thanks Mr Chandramouli Ramanathan, Controller and Assistant Secretary-General, for presenting the report of the Secretary-General on conditions of service and compensation for officials, other than Secretariat officials, serving the General Assembly.
4. The Group of 77 and China attaches great importance to the work of the International Civil Service Commission and Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions.
5. Against this backdrop the Group took note of the following areas with regards to the report of the Secretary General on the conditions of service and compensation for full-time members of the International Civil Service Commission and the Chair of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions, in particular their entitlements and compensation:
- Annual net salary;
- Special annual allowance;
- Retirement benefits;
- Pensionable remuneration;
- Coverage of illness, injury or death attributable to service with the UN;
- Subsistence allowance when conducting official business travel away from Headquarters;
- Travel entitlements, etc.
6. Although some positive adjustments on some of the above for the fulltime members of the ICSC and Chair of the ACABQ have improved, much still needs to be achieved. The Group appreciates the central role played by the ICSC in maintaining and strengthening high standards in the international civil service, as a means for the Organization to attract and retain a workforce known for its excellence and skills. We also appreciate the constructive recommendations on policies, budgets and administrative practices of the ACABQ. However, the Group remains concerned with regard to the working conditions of the Advisory Committee and all its members.
7. The Group notes that the volume and complexity of the Advisory Committee's workload has increased significantly in recent years. As a consequence, the Committee met for 44 weeks this year; an equivalent of 10-11 months this year. Such operational requirements demand the full-time presence of Committee members in New York, yet, the conditions of service of those members of the Committee on "travel status" equates them to members of UN bodies that have annual meetings of only two to four weeks.
8. We also note that members of the ACABQ from developing countries oftentimes do not rely on material support from their Capitals and must deliver their paramount work without access to medical insurance or education allowances. By granting them entitlements such as these, the General Assembly would enhance the work of the Committee and benefit the entire Organization.
9. The question of the conditions of service and existing operational arrangements of the ACABQ first arose eight years ago. We do note that the Secretary-General indicated then in his report the fact that the workload of the Committee had progressively increased in complexity, requiring additional time for its consideration as reflected in many reports.
10. As a way to resolve this, the Secretary-General pointed out the potential benefits of the establishment of the Committee as a standing committee. The Group concurred then - and still does - with the views of the Secretary-General with regard to establishing the ACABQ as a standing committee, due to its increasing workload and complexity of issues considered by the Committee and the fact that current operational arrangements including the conditions of service of its members in the Committee are not aligned.
11. Noting that this issue on the ACABQ has been on the agenda of the Fifth Committee since the 67th session with no changes since then, the Group will once again propose that the ACABQ be established as a standing committee and that its members have the status of officials other than Secretariat officials performing functions for the Organization on a full-time basis.
12. The Group of 77 and China remains committed to participate constructively in any efforts towards resolving this matter and urges all delegations to engage positively and constructively in order for an agreement to be reached during this main session.
I thank you.