STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA BY MR. MUHAMMAD JAWAD AJMAL, FIRST SECRETARY, PERMANENT MISSION OF PAKISTAN TO THE UNITED NATIONS, ON AGENDA ITEM 143: HUMAN RESOURCES MANAGEMENT, DURING THE FIRST PART OF THE RESUMED SEVENTY-SIXTH SESSION OF THE FIFTH COMMITTEE OF THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY (New York, 9 March 2022)
1. I have the honor to deliver this statement on behalf of the Group of 77 and China on the Agenda item 143: Human Resources Management, for the first part of the resumed 76th session of the Fifth Committee.
2. Our Group wishes to thank Ms. Martha Helena Lopez, Assistant Secretary General for Human Resources Management, for introduction of the Secretary General's reports on Composition and Disciplinary matters and Ms. Elia Armstrong for the introduction of Secretary General's report on Ethics Office. We would also like to thank Mr. Abdalla Bachar Bong, Chairperson of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) for introducing the related report.
3. The Group takes note of ongoing efforts to reform human resources management in the organization, which is a key component of the overall UN reform efforts. We commend the progress made thus far, especially with regards to the simplification and streamlining of rules and policies and changes in conditions of service. We also welcome the steps taken to strengthen internal anti-corruption measures and to ensure a safe environment for staff to report misconduct, as well as efforts to prevent and respond to sexual exploitation, abuse and harassment in the workplace.
4. The Group believes that the United Nations must be premised on a geographically diverse and gender-balanced, international and talented workforce that is truly representative of all the peoples that the Organization serves. The principles of equitable geographical representation and gender parity are cornerstones to the G-77 and China.
5. Persistent imbalance in equitable geographic representation in the Secretariat remains a major concern to the Group, especially given the reference in the UN Charter (paragraph 3, Article 101) to "the importance of recruiting staff on as wide a geographical basis as possible". We deem this principle essential for ensuring the international character of the Organization, and that it truly represents all its member states holistically.
6. The Group further reiterates our serious concern that efforts made to reach out to potential candidates from unrepresented and underrepresented countries, particularly developing countries, has not been successful.
7. We urge the Secretary-General to step up his efforts towards achieving equitable geographical representation across the UN staff, especially at senior levels. Due attention needs to be given to TCC/PCC representation. The Group also recalls the system of desirable ranges, established in 1960, which measures progress towards achieving a wide equitable geographical distribution of the staff of the Secretariat. We stand ready to engage in negotiations to advance the sixty-year-old mechanism and are willing to embrace changes for the advancement of our organization.
8. The Group wishes to welcome the continuous increase of the number of female staff members, but notes with concern that the overall number of women in senior positions remains below 50%. It is also disheartening to see that the percentage of women from developing countries in senior positions is disproportionately low.
9. We are concerned that the average age of Secretariat staff members continues to reflect an upward trend, and that the entry level positions, particularly at P1 and P2 levels, continue to fall, which limits the space for achieving important human resources targets, including the rejuvenation of the organization and acquiring fresh talents from the different regions of the world, especially from unrepresented and underrepresented developing Member States.
10. Furthermore, we wish to reiterate that language skills constitute an important factor in the selection processes, and the need to respect the equality of the two working languages of the Secretariat, and that good command of the official languages in specific duty stations should be given due consideration during the recruitment process.
11. Our Group notes that the Secretary-General presented an overview of human resources management reform for the period 2019-2020 and an outlook beyond, focusing on three integrated, coherent and interdependent outcomes, namely agility, diversity and accountability, with an aim to lead to impact for the Organization.
12. It is imperative that the staff implementing the mandates of the United Nations is doing so in a rule-based environment which also exemplifies diversity, flexibility and dynamism, an environment that motivates and facilitates the staff members to put out their best efforts in serving the rest of the world.
13. The Group of 77 & China intends to engage actively in the upcoming consultations with a view to ensure continuous progress in the implementation of the human resources reform initiatives to build a strong and forward-looking Organization that thrives in a challenging and fast-changing environment. The Group believes that the reform of the human resources function is a key pillar of the overall reform of the United Nations. We look forward to a productive discussion and thorough consideration, in order to ensure that the final outcome will effectively guide the Secretariat in its endeavors to address the persistent challenges, many of which have been recurring over the previous sessions.
I thank you Mr. Chair.