Background

The Chair of the High-level Committee on Management, Francis Gurry, introduced the report of the Committee on its twenty-sixth session, held on 10 and 11 October at the United Nations Office at Geneva. The twenty-sixth session of the Committee was primarily focused on how the Committee is translating into action the strategic priorities included in its strategic plan for 2013-2016, which the Committee adopted and the Board endorsed at their first regular sessions in 2013.

The Chair of the Committee focused his briefing on the work of the Committee in the area of human resources management. Among the current top priorities for the Committee, one key priority is to engage in a dialogue with the International Civil Service Commission (ICSC) in the context of its review of the conditions of service for United Nations system staff, with the aim of developing a proposal for a competitive and simplified compensation package that enables organizations to attract and retain staff of the highest calibre and reduces transaction costs.

Discussion

In the ensuing discussion, Jose Graziano da Silva stressed the vital need for containment of staff costs, which represent 75 per cent of the regular programme of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). He also emphasized the need for more flexibility and discretion for executive heads to tailor the compensation package for specific purposes, especially to encourage staff mobility, and to maintain staff in the most difficult field duty stations. Finally, he expressed the wish that the current compensation package review would lead to a system that is extensively simplified and less expensive to administer.

The Secretary-General thanked the Chair of the Committee for his briefing, noted that the concerns expressed by the Director-General of FAO were fully shared and acknowledged the letter received from the Geneva group, noting the words of appreciation by the Member States towards the work of the Committee in promoting a more joined-up approach to change across the United Nations system and in finding efficiency savings while improving delivery.

Action

The Board took note of progress and endorsed the conclusions of the High-level Committee on Management at its twenty-sixth session (CEB/2013/5), and adopted the CEB statement on the ICSC review of the common system compensation package (see annex II).