Introductory note. The International Civil Service Commission (ICSC), established pursuant to General Assembly resolution 3357 (XXIX) of 18 December 1974, is the body charged, under its statute, with the regulation and co-ordination of the conditions of service of the United Nations common system. It consists of fifteen members appointed by the General Assembly of whom two (the Chairman and Vice-Chairman) serve full-time. The Commission meets twice a year for three weeks (exceptionally four weeks) at the headquarters of one of the common system organizations, in principle at least once a year at UN New York (see timetable of ICSC sessions, Annex I).

(1) By resolution of 13 February 1946 (GA/RES/13(I) Section III), the General Assembly of the United Nations decided that "an International Civil Service Commission shall be established by the Secretary-General, after consultation with the heads of the specialized agencies ... to advise on methods of recruitment ... and on the means by which common standards of recruitment in the Secretariat and in the specialized agencies may be ensured".

(2) Basic agreements between specialized agencies and UN also provided that they would "consult together concerning the establishing of an International Civil Service Commission to advise on the means by which common standards of recruitment in the secretariats ... may be ensured".

(3) By decision of ACC in July 1948, the body referred to in paras. (1) and (2) above became the International Civil Service Advisory Board (see Section 1.5).

(4) The first suggestion that an "international public service commission", with real powers, be created appeared in an ACC document for ICSAB on the subject of Management-Staff Relations in 1969 (see ICSAB/XVII/R.4, para. 26).

(5) At the 31st session of CCAQ in March 1970, on the proposal of WHO, it was agreed (CO-ORDINATION/R.798, para. 68) to recommend to ACC that a proper study of the desirability and feasibility of such a commission be made by a suitable consultant and this was accepted by ACC (CO-ORDINATION/R.812, para. 46).

(6) At its 33rd session in March 1971, CCAQ reviewed the study made by the consultant and prepared a special report to ACC on the implications of the proposal to create such a commission (CO-ORDINATION/R.863, para. 11 and Addendum 2).

(7) The matter was also discussed informally with ICSAB at its 19th session in June 1971 and ICSAB issued a statement of its views as Annex II to its report ICSAB/XIX/1.

(8) Further consideration of the idea moved to the forum of the Special Committee for the Review of the United Nations Salary System which had been established by General Assembly resolution 2743(XXV) of 17 December 1970. In response to an invitation from that Committee to comment on possible modifications to the common system, the executive heads of most of the organizations of the common system made a joint reply in which one important suggestion was that an international civil service commission be created (see Report of the Special Committee, Volume II, pages 43-45, issued as General Assembly document Supplement No. 28 (A/8728)).

(9) The Special Committee included in its recommendations to the General Assembly a specific proposal that such a commission be created (Report of the Special Committee, Volume I, pages 46-50, Supplement No. 28 (A/8728)).

(10) By resolution 3042(XXVII) of 19 December 1972 the General Assembly accepted this recommendation of the Special Committee and decided in principle to create the Commission with effect from 1 January 1974. It invited the governing organs of the specialized agencies to comment on the proposal and requested the Secretary-General and ACC to submit to the 28th session of the Assembly in 1973, through ACABQ, a draft statute and specific budgetary and staffing proposals.

(11) In consequence, CCAQ, at its 37th session, in February 1973, developed a further special report for ACC (CO-ORDINATION/R.984, Addendum l) which included a draft statute for the Commission.

(12) This draft statute was the single agenda item of ICSAB at its 21st session in May 1973 (ICSAB/XXI/1).

(13) It was also the principal item of the agenda of a special session of CCAQ in June 1973, which examined ICSAB's conclusions and presented to ACC a further report and recommendations including refinements in the draft statute (CO-ORDINATION/R.999, paras. 3-25).

(14) The draft statute in final form, together with proposals regarding the budget for the Commission and the appointment of its members, and ICSAB's report were presented to ACABQ and the General Assembly in document A/9147 of 20 September 1973.

(15) Because ACABQ had difficulty in agreeing its report to the Assembly, the documentation reached the Fifth Committee only at the end of November and then only with a transmittal from ACABQ posing certain questions of principle regarding the powers and status of the members of the Commission (Document A/9370 of 30 November 1973).

(16) Following limited debate the Assembly decided "to defer the consideration of this question until its twenty-ninth session and requests the Secretary-General in the meantime to communicate the text of the Commission's draft statute to Governments for comment ..." (document A/9463 of 17 December 1973, para. 46(a)).

(17) At its 39th session (spring 1974) CCAQ again prepared a special report for ACC commenting on the developments at the 28th session of the General Assembly (1973) and anticipating possible reactions of governments before or during the 29th session (1974) (CO-ORDINATION/R.1031/Add.l).

(18) ICSAB at its 22nd session (July 1974) confirmed the comments it had made in the report of its 21st session (ICSAB/XXI/1) and expressed its concern for the urgent establishment of the Commission.

(19) By resolution 3357(XXIX) (December 1974) the General Assembly of the United Nations approved the statute of the International Civil Service Commission and the administrative arrangements for its coming into being. At the same session the Assembly appointed the Commission members. The Commission held its first session at UN Headquarters in May 1975.

(20) At its 41st session (March 1975), CCAQ considered the question of what proposals, if any, should be made to ICSC in its first year of operation. It was agreed that the initial submission should be solely a factual description of the major elements of the salary and allowance conditions for Professional staff (CO-ORDINATION/R.1087, para. 28).

(21) At its 43rd session (March 1976: CO-ORDINATION/R.1145, para. 6), in response to a question which had been raised by ACABQ, CCAQ agreed that no transfer of posts from the agencies could be expected to cater for future increments of staffing for the secretariat of ICSC.

(22) At its 47th session (August 1977: CO-ORDINATION/R.1237, para. 45) CCAQ discussed a communication from the Federation of Associations and Unions of International Civil Servants (FAUICS) and agreed to inform ICSC that the organizations saw no basis in the existing provisions governing inter-agency co-ordination on personnel matters for FAUICS to participate in the work of ICSC. The Commission at its 6th session (August-September 1977) considered FAUICS's request to participate and decided that, subject to possible review, written statements submitted by it would be distributed to the Commission; representatives of FAUICS would not be eligible to attend the Commission's meetings or address it under rule 37 of its rules of procedure (ICSC/R.96, paras. 48, 49).

(23) At the same session, CCAQ also agreed that the organizations should continue their practice of dealing pragmatically with the question of principle involved in authorizing official travel of staff representatives to attend meetings of ICSC (CO-ORDINATION/R.1237, para. 46).

(24) In comments on the third annual report of ICSC (1977) (UN document A/32/30), adopted in draft form by CCAQ at the second part of its 47th session (October 1977), ACC expressed the view that the pace at which the review of the elements of the UN salary system was being carried out would need to be adjusted to take account of the capacity of the organizations to participate in it. It accordingly suggested that, when assigning to ICSC any tasks in the regulation and co-ordination of conditions of service, the General Assembly take into account their administrative implications for all the organizations (CO-ORDINATION/R.1237/Add.l, Annex II; issued in final form as UN document A/32/362).

(25) At its 16th session (July 1982), ICSC considered requests from the Federation of Associations and Unions of International Civil Servants (FAUICS) and from the Co-ordinating Committee of Independent Staff Unions and Associations (CCISUA) to participate in the work of the Commission. It found that there was no reason to amend the resolution reflected in para. (22) above vis-à-vis FAUICS. With regard to CCISUA, it agreed to admit its representatives without prejudice to a final ruling to be taken on the basis of further study. CCISUA was subsequently admitted on the same basis to participate in the work of the 17th session (March 1983).

(26) At its 18th session (July 1983) the ICSC decided on certain criteria that should be met by staff representative bodies seeking admission. On the basis of these criteria it issued a standing invitation to CCISUA to participate in its work, and reiterated its rejection of the request for access from FAUICS.

(27) At its 59th session (September 1983) CCAQ(FB) invited the Executive Secretary of the Commission, in the context of the budget proposals he would submit for 1986-1987, to consider proposing a programme of meeting locations and to provide in his estimates for the costs of sessions which would not be held at offices of the UN (ACC/1983/21, para. 8).

(28) In a report on "Staff costs and some aspects of utilization of human and financial resources in the United Nations secretariat" (JIU/REP/84/12), two JIU Inspectors questioned some decisions and recommendations of ICSC. (See section 2.2, paras. (29) and (30)).

(28) In their "Follow-up report on staff costs in the United Nations Secretariat" (JIU/REP/85/8) the Inspectors made further comments on the same subject.

(30) Following discussions which lasted over several sessions concerning personnel arrangements for the ICSC secretariat, CCAQ agreed at its 65th session (July 1986: ACC/1986/10, paras. 123-126) to participate on an ex officio basis in the work of a body to deal with the appointment and promotion of ICSC secretariat staff at the P-1 to P-4 levels. In doing so, the Committee reaffirmed its earlier position that ICSC secretariat Professional staff should to the maximum extent possible be appointed on the basis of secondment from UN common system organizations.

(31) At the 25th session of the Commission (March 1987), the working methods of ICSC were discussed. CCAQ made a statement explaining its views on the subject (ACC/1987/4, Annex III).

(32) At its 67th session (July 1987: ACC/1987/10, paras. 153-154), CCAQ reviewed, at the request of the Organizational Committee, the consultation procedure instituted by ACC for the appointment of members of ICSC. CCAQ recommended that ACC should reconfirm the calendar for the selection of candidates it had approved in 1982, subject to the first three steps of the procedure being advanced by two to three months (see Annex VII to ACC/1987/10). By ACC decision 1987/21, ACC approved the amended calendar at its second regular (October) session in 1987.

(33) In its resolution 42/221 of December 1987 the General Assembly asked ICSC to undertake a self-evaluation study with a view to enhancing its work. CCAQ commented on several aspects of this process at its 68th and 69th sessions (February-March and July 1988: ACC/1988/4, paras. 157-164; ACC/1988/12, paras. 123-135). It expressed the hope that the Commission arrive at an improved presentation of its annual reports, that it revert to consensus procedures and that its procedures allow for meaningful participation by organizations and staff. It expressed its confidence in the integrity of the Commission's staff and did not support suggestions that it have a separate remuneration system. Nor did it favour the appointment of alternate members to the Commission, or a rotating chairmanship. It recalled earlier CCAQ suggestions for streamlining the Commission's work programme and setting clearer priorities (see para. (31) above), and urged that its staffing levels be reduced. ICSC itself considered its functioning at both its 1988 sessions (27th and 28th); it decided to shorten its report and improve its format, and undertook to brief members more fully on issues, to conduct more discussion in open sessions, and to make it easier for CCAQ and staff representatives to participate effectively. At the same time the Commission expressed regret at the decision of FICSA and CCISUA in March 1988 to suspend their participation in all its activities on the grounds that it had abdicated its responsibility as a technical and impartial body (A/43/30, paras. 9-14; see also section 14.3). For its part the General Assembly (resolution 43/226) asked the Commission to expand the review of its functioning and to present proposals to the Assembly at its 45th session; invited it to review its rules of procedure to allow for "the fullest possible" consultations with organizations and staff representatives and "to the greatest extent possible" their presence in its deliberations; asked the Secretary-General to propose an appropriate deadline for the submission of candidates for appointment to the Commission, to allow for full and timely consultations; and urged FICSA and CCISUA to resume participation in the Commission's work at the earliest possible opportunity.

(34) CCISUA subsequently decided to participate, on a provisional basis, in the working group established by ICSC for the comprehensive review of conditions of service for the Professional and higher categories (A/44/30, vol. I, para. 20).

(35) At its special (1989) session (January: ACC/1989/2, paras. 3-7) CCAQ noted that the question of participation of staff representatives in ICSC had two facets: the immediate need to ensure their participation in the comprehensive review of conditions of service of staff in the Professional and higher categories, and the broader issue of the functioning of ICSC. The Commission should seize the present opportunity to engage in a genuine dialogue with organizations and staff, and should demonstrate still further openness in its relations with its interlocutors. There should be full and frank debate in open session, and executive sessions should be kept to the bare minimum. The Committee returned to these themes, in the context of the comprehensive review, at its 70th session (March1989: ACC/1989/6, paras. 14-16).

(36) ICSC addressed some of these issues at its second special and 29th sessions (January and March 1989). In particular, it decided that the examination of facts and the consideration of relevant information and alternatives would take place in open session; executive sessions would normally be limited to taking decisions, and the time spent in them would be minimized (A/44/30, vol. I, paras. 18-24).

(37) At its 71st session (July-August 1989: ACC/1989/14, paras. 135-138) CCAQ confirmed the validity of proposals endorsed in 1982 by ACC for the selection of candidates for ICSC. These provided inter alia that "ACC should take the initiative in suggesting replacements for members whose terms of office are coming to an end. This would also help to ensure that there is an open consideration of qualified candidates for each vacancy, instead of the more or less automatic re-appointment of outgoing members or replacements from the same country (desirable as this may be in some cases)". CCAQ added that the organizations should try to ensure that, within the established regional framework, there was a competition for each vacant seat (see also ACC/1989/6, paras.101-103; ACC/1989/13, paras. 6, 7).

(38) At the same session CCAQ took note of information provided in a report on personnel arrangements for the ICSC secretariat (ACC/1989/14, paras. 139, 140).

(39) The working methods of ICSC (see paras. (33)-(35) above) were again discussed by CCAQ at its 72nd session (February-March 1990: ACC/1990/4, paras. 167-173), in the context of a communication from FICSA to the effect that it would be willing to participate in the discussion of ICSC agenda items only through tripartite working groups, all of whose members would serve as official members. CCAQ had difficulty with this position: while it favoured tripartite working groups, they would have to be limited to major issues as their application to all agenda items would be unmanageable. Moreover, participation in such groups could be on an individual basis only or dialogue would be restrained and consensus-building prevented. This aspect of ICSC's work was also reviewed by the Commission at its 31st session; following consultations with both CCAQ and staff representatives the Commission took a number of decisions affecting its future working methods: as a general rule, on all issues affecting conditions of service staff representatives might attend the Commission's meetings, including those at which decisions were taken; on major issues the Commission could establish tripartite working groups whose nominees would participate in their personal capacity and try to reach consensus; draft decisions of ICSC would be made available simultaneously and in a timely manner to members, to CCAQ and to the staff representatives (for the full text of these decisions see the Commission's report for 1990 (A/45/30), paras. 13-15).

(40) For CCAQ comments at its 72nd and 73rd sessions on the work and mandate of ACPAQ, see section 2.4, para. (91).

(41) The broader issue of the functioning of the Commission, on which the General Assembly had revised an earlier request to ICSC to consider its own functioning by inviting the Secretary-General to report on the matter (resolution 44/198), was considered by CCAQ at its 73rd session (July 1990: ACC/1990/10, paras. 94-99). The Committee reviewed the history of the Commission and of how it had functioned since its inception, as well as some suggestions for improvement. It decided that a document containing suggestions and ideas in seven main areas should be put before ICSC and before the staff bodies for their comment. Following consideration of that document in ICSC (which in the meantime had expressed its wish to be involved at all stages of the Secretary-General's review) CCAQ agreed to prepare a discussion paper incorporating the views of both the Commission and the staff representatives for consideration by ACC at its October1990 meeting, in line with a decision taken by ACC in May (decision 1990/8; see also A/45/30, paras. 17-19).

(42) For the Commission's reaction to non-implementation by the Secretary-General in 1990 of its recommended General Service salary scale for New York, see section 2.3.

(43) At its 74th session (March 1991: ACC/1991/5, para. 15) CCAQ reiterated its view that the ICSC secretariat should bring to the Commission's attention, in addition to resolutions of the UN, those of other organizations of the common system which had relevance to its work programme.

(44) At its 74th session CCAQ finalized its comments on ICSC's functioning (ACC/1991/5, paras. 7-12). In particular it called attention to increasing politicization, a lack of appreciation for differences among organizations, an overburdened work programme and a regulatory approach to issues. ACC adopted CCAQ's findings and forwarded its report to the forty-sixth session of the General Assembly in A/46/275. In Volume II to its 1991 Annual Report to the General Assembly, ICSC discussed its functioning and provided detailed comments on the 13 specific ACC recommendations (A/46/30, vol. II). The General Assembly limited itself to taking note of the ACC and ICSC reports on the matter and to affirming the validity of ICSC's statute (resolution 46/191).

(45) At its 77th session (July 1992: ACC/1992/23, paras. 99-102) CCAQ reviewed a paper by the ICSC secretariat on the impact of the biennialization of the Fifth Committee's work programme on the work of ICSC. CCAQ expressed concern that the new arrangements would delay the work of other organizations' governing bodies, particularly with regard to the annual review of the base/floor salary scale. The Committee emphasized the importance it attached to general personnel management and performance evaluation in ICSC's work programme and urged every effort be made to put the Commission's time to more efficient use. ICSC informed the General Assembly that it would seek exceptions to the biennial consideration of certain issues and requested the Assembly to agree to examine adjustments to the base/floor salary scale on an annual basis (A/47/30, para. 28). The General Assembly concurred (resolution 47/216 I C).

(46) At the 36th session of ICSC in July 1992, the representatives of FICSA and CCISUA decided, as a result of decisions taken by ICSC on the review of the General Service methodology, not to continue to participate in the work of the session. An extraordinary Staff Assembly was held during the session which adopted a resolution strongly urging that no change be made in the methodology for determining the pensionable remuneration of General Service staff or in the salary survey methodology for that category of staff. It also urged the Commission to recommend to the General Assembly measures to restore the competitiveness of United Nations salaries (A/47/30, paras 9 & 10).

(47) At its 78th session (March 1993: ACC/1993/6, paras. 10-15) CCAQ discussed General Assembly resolution 47/216, which urged all organizations to ensure that ICSC was invited to be represented at all meetings where proposals relating to salaries, allowances and benefits were to be discussed. CCAQ recognized that it was for each organization's governing body to decide if, when and in what capacity ICSC should be invited. Because of a lack of clarity in the wording of some of ICSC's recommendations and decisions, the Committee requested that in future they should cite the relevant article of the ICSC Statute and be subject to prior consultation with CCAQ.

(48) At the same session CCAQ reviewed the results of the comprehensive monitoring of the implementation of ICSC's decisions and recommendations and welcomed the qualitative assessment provided (ibid., paras. 123-126). ICSC took note of various elements of the report, requested ILO to conform to the common system with respect to steps beyond the salary scale and addressed a number of other requests to organizations and to its secretariat (ICSC/37/R.18, paras. 180-181). It made a report to the General Assembly on the implementation under each article of its Statute (A/48/30, para. 261).

(49) After informal contacts between CCISUA and the Chairman of ICSC, CCISUA resumed participation in the work of the 38th session of ICSC in July 1993. Since FICSA stated preconditions to its resuming participation in the work of ICSC, the Commission, while providing certain information requested by FICSA, asked its Chairman to continue his informal contacts with a view to a resumption of FICSA's participation in the work of the Commission (ibid., paras. 11 & 12). FICSA resumed full participation in the work of the Commission at its 39th session in March 1994 (A/49/30, paras. 10-11). After ICSC's 40th session FICSA again withdrew. At its 41st session ICSC recognized that it was most important that all parties showed goodwill, mutual respect for and trust in one another and wished to find ways to demonstrate more clearly its responsiveness to the concerns of individual agencies and decided to revert to the matter at its next session (ICSC/41/R.19, paras. 84-85). CCISUA withdrew after ICSC took decisions on two items at its 42nd session (A/50/30, para. 9). The General Assembly, noting that both FICSA and CCISUA had suspended participation in the work of the Commission, called upon them to resume their participation in a spirit of co-operation and non-confrontation (resolution 50/208 IV).

(50) At its 82nd session (April 1995: ACC/1995/5, paras. 20-47) CCAQ reviewed requests by the General Assembly (resolution 49/223) to consider the consultative process of the Commission and by ACC (ACC/1995/4, para. 26) to examine broader issues relating to the functioning of ICSC and other inter-agency financed bodies. CCAQ, in reviewing options for the improvement of the consultative process and the functioning of the Commission, agreed on criteria against which each option should be measured. The options were to improve the effectiveness of the Commission within its present structure, to revise its structure or to replace it with direct negotiation with Member States. The Committee concluded that structural reform would be required, implying statutory change. Within the framework of long-term reform of the Commission, the Committee agreed to put forward two alternatives, a tripartite element within the current framework of the Commission. Based on Article 3 of the ICSC Statute, a guideline of the qualities required of Commission members would be drawn up; each of the consultative partners would, however, determine its own appointment procedures. Whichever alternative was preferred, two technical advisory bodies might be established: the first consisting of specialists in human resources management and the second of statisticians who would advise on post adjustment and other methodological issues. In the short-term, the Committee endorsed proposals put forwarded by the ICSC secretariat on the subject and added a number of additional ideas. At its 42nd session in July 1995 ICSC decided to implement a considerable number of measures to improve its effectiveness. (A/50/30, paras. 37-50 & 54-56).

(51) Also at its 82nd session the Committee took note of the findings of the ICSC secretariat its on-going review of the implementation of ICSC decisions and recommendations, which confirmed the high level of adherence to them by the organizations. Arising out of its review, the Committee decided to inform the Commission that the use of personal promotions and of supplementary payments were symptomatic of difficulties with remuneration levels and that it believed the question of personal promotions needed further review (ACC/1995/5, paras. 137-138). For ICSC's comments on language incentives, long-service/merit steps, job classification and personal promotions see sections 2.9, 2.14, 9.1 and 9.3 respectively. At the same session CCAQ noted that it had not had an opportunity to review the proposed programme budget in the light of the proposed programme of work and made a number of proposals for its adjustment, including the streamlining and automation of its processes and, in particular, the establishment of work plans for each component element of the secretariat. ICSC endorsed the resource requirements included in the budget (ICSC/41/R.19, para. 380).

(52) At the first part of its 83rd session (July 1995: ACC/1995/19, paras. 21-28) CCAQ reviewed three options for structural reform of ICSC put forward by the meeting of senior common system administrators in June 1995 which had also agreed to support the additional reforms adopted by CCAQ at its 82nd session (see para. 50 above). CCAQ decided to inform the members of the Commission of the outcome of the meeting. It supported ideas for changes in the functioning of the Commission put forward by its secretariat and urged that, in years in which there was to be no major report to the General Assembly, the sessions should be less formal and study and analyse the issues in depth.

(53) At the second part of its 83rd session (September 1995: ACC/1995/19, paras. 108-113) CCAQ considered a proposal of the Meeting of Senior Administrators that ACC provide ICSC, in the context of Chapter III of the ICSC Statute, with an analysis of the global core issues on which ICSC should concentrate. The Committee recognized that the tendency had been for ICSC to apply the same regulatory and detailed treatment of all issues under its consideration. A majority considered that ICSC and its secretariat had to play a leadership role in the human resources management area. Noting that ICSC would itself review this matter at its next session, the Committee decided that it would revert to this matter at its 84th session.

(54) At the end of ICSC's 42nd session, CCAQ made a statement commenting formally on the adoption of the ICSC session report, which had given rise to serious concerns on the part of the Committee (ICSC/42/R.19, para. 63).

(55) At its first high level meeting (June 1995: ACC/1995/CCAQ/SM/2, paras. 26-38) CCAQ-HL had addressed the request of the General Assembly that the staff bodies, organizations and the ICSC review the consultative process of the Commission and put forward alternatives for structural reform. It decided to propose that ACC should work with Member States to delink the process of appointment of ICSC members from the process of elections to other UN subsidiary bodies, develop a profile of the qualities required of ICSC members, limit the terms of such members and provide an analysis of global core issues on which ICSC should concentrate. CCAQ-HL also agreed to support a number of reforms with respect to the functioning of the Commission. ICSC decided to implement a number of measures to improve its effectiveness and to introduce, on a trial basis, revised arrangements for the timing and length of its sessions (A/50/30, paras. 54-56). The General Assembly by resolution 50/208 IV welcomed the changes and requested ICSC to enhance further the transparency of its work and ensure that its reports contained clear and readily understandable explanations of its technical recommendations.

(56) In its opening statement at its 84th session (April 1996: CCAQ(PER)/84/Rev.1, annex IV) CCAQ expressed concern at the reactions of the General Assembly to ICSC's 1995 report, referring to the incomplete nature of the Commission's considerations on the Noblemaire principle and its technical recommendations. CCAQ requested ICSC to revert to its previous practice of reflecting the consensus views in the body of the report and dissenting views or comments in an appendix. CCAQ also informed ICSC that ACC intended to request the General Assembly to arrange the work programme of its Fifth Committee so that the ICSC annual report could be considered at clearly pre-set time so that the Committee's deliberations would be dedicated exclusively to the ICSC report for an appropriate period. This would mean that the report would have to be available in all languages at the appropriate time and might require the timing of the ICSC sessions to be changed.

(57) At its 85th session (July 1996: ACC/1996/14, para. 8) CCAQ requested ACC to propose to the General Assembly that, as part of the reforms being undertaken throughout the common system, sessions of ICSC be limited to one per year and the work programme of ICSC adjusted accordingly.

(58) At its 86th session (April 1997: ACC/1997/6, paras. 124-131) CCAQ noted that the management audit of all aspects of the work of ICSC secretariat offered the opportunity to provide comments on alternative ways in which its work could be organized. CCAQ had argued for two substantive units, one for operations and the other for all policy and research matters, as well as for increased attention to be paid to new approaches to the field of human resources management. The Committee reiterated its preference for ICSC sessions to be held in headquarters cities to reduce costs but had no objection to fact finding missions by members of ICSC. It supported the proposal for a legal officer post to be added to the secretariat but saw the post as a guarantee that all ICSC's decisions were legally sound to avoid appeals against them rather than to defend the Commission against decisions taken in the past. Attention should be paid to the possibility of raising income through the sale of salary survey, post adjustment, subsistence or other data.

(59) At the same session, CCAQ fully supported the establishment of a working group, as proposed by CCISUA and FICSA, to review the functioning of ICSC and proposed that the group should be chaired by an eminent and independent person not immediately connected to the Commission, the administrations or the staff bodies (ibid., paras. 132-136). After informal consultations, ICSC, by consensus, accepted proposed terms of reference for the group to be chaired on a rotating basis and assisted by a facilitator (ICSC/45/R.13, para. 40 & annex III).

(60) At its 87th session (July 1997: ACC/1997/13, paras. 22 & 27) CCAQ noted that the meeting of the working group had not been able to meet as expected as neither staff body was able to participate. It concluded that ICSC should be invited to convene the group at a later date and that every effort should be made to nominate a facilitator with the approval of all parties. CCAQ was also concerned with the need to clarify the respective roles and responsibilities of the consultative parties in ICSC which should be developed in conjunction with the meeting. ICSC requested its secretariat to make arrangements for the group to meet early in 1998 and considered that the date of the meeting and the facilitator should be agreed on at least two months before the meeting (A/52/30, paras. 37-40).

(61) Also at the 87th session (July 1997: ACC/1997/13, paras. 96-98) CCAQ met with representatives of the United Nations Board of Auditors carrying out a management audit of the ICSC secretariat and outlined a number of concerns expressed by CCAQ(PER), CCAQ(FB) and CCAQ-HL and decided that the secretariat should prepare a set of documents on them for submission to the Auditors.

(62) At its 88th session (April 1998: ACC/1998/5, para. 5) CCAQ took note of the report of the working group on the consultative process and working arrangements in ICSC and decided to report to the Commission that the proposals of the group should be seen as a package and that most of the recommendations could be implemented by ICSC itself. The appointment of ICSC members remained of the utmost importance and CCAQ would so report to ACC. ICSC agreed to changes to its rules of procedure and decided to seek a legal opinion on them. ICSC also decided that the changes would not go into effect until the staff representatives resumed active participation in the work of ICSC. ICSC decided it would be inappropriate to comment on the appointment of its Members but took note of the views of CCAQ and staff representatives on the working group on the composition of ICSC with draft criteria for their selection(A/53/30, annex II, appendix III). ICSC concurred with the working group's emphasis on an independent secretariat that possessed high technical competence but did not agree that the secretariat should only present technically competent data and various options and not be called on to make recommendations (A/53/30, paras. 44-64). The General Assembly by resolution 53/209 III & IV took note of the changes in the rules of procedure and decided to revert to a number of issues related to the ICSC and its working methods in the context of its consideration of the Secretary-General's recommendation for the review of the Commission.

(63) Also at the 88th session CCAQ noted that the completed Board of Auditors' management audit report on the secretariat of ICSC contained a number of factual errors and did not appear to have dealt in any detail with the concerns raised by CCAQ (April 1998: ACC/1998/5, para. 42).

(64) At the same session CCAQ, after an exchange of views on the concerns raised by the inter-agency meeting of legal advisers with respect to ensuring the legality of ICSC decisions prior to their implementation, noted that ACC had requested that meeting to prepare formal proposals on the matter. CCAQ encouraged its members to maintain close links with their legal advisers in order to provide a human resources input to the proposals (ibid., para. 43).

(65) At its 89th session (July 1998: ACC/1998/9, para. 45) CCAQ expressed its concern that the management audit carried out by the Board of Auditors had not covered issues related to the work of the ICSC secretariat but appeared to take issue with matters reviewed by the Commission and approved by the General Assembly. ICSC observed to the Assembly that the audit was not a management audit of the secretariat but called into question decisions of both ICSC and the Assembly. Notwithstanding these observations ICSC was able to respond positively to most of the Board's recommendations (A/53/30, paras. 17-37). The General Assembly by resolution 53/209 VII took note of the report of the Board of Auditors and of ICSC's response and requested the Board to conduct audits of the ICSC secretariat on a periodic basis.

(66) By its resolution 52/12B, section H, the General Assembly requested the competent intergovernmental bodies to consider the modalities for "a review of ICSC including its mandate, membership and functioning in order to increase its effectiveness in meeting the challenges facing the United Nations system." ACC, at its second session in 1998, had endorsed proposed Terms of Reference for a Review Group to undertake this review. The Review Group's report would be submitted no later than 30 November 1999.

(67) In a memorandum dated 11 June 1999, the United Nations Legal Counsel informed the Chairman of ICSC that the ACC had endorsed an amendment to the ICSC statute proposed by the legal advisers of the United Nations system and requested the Commission to place it before the General Assembly for its consideration. In ACC's view the proposed amendment would enable the organizations and the Commission to request an advisory opinion from an ad hoc panel on the legality of a decision or recommendation by the Commission under the authority of its statute before the decision was made, or at least before it was implemented by the organizations. One member favoured the establishment of advisory panels under certain conditions but most members opposed their establishment. ICSC decided to submit to the Assembly the observations of the Commission members on the proposal (A/54/30, paras. 206-215). The Assembly took note of the comments of ICSC and confirmed the Statute (resolution 54/238 IV).

(67) At its 4th high-level meeting (July 2000: ACC/2000/21, para. 14) CCAQ-HL reviewed the work of the ICSC and considered that the Commission did not enjoy the full confidence of the management and staff of the common system since it did not appear to have sufficient technical expertise and had not kept pace with human resources management trends. Its preoccupation remained that of cost containment rather than the effective and flexible management of human resources. As a result, organizations were finding ways of introducing reforms without addressing their implications for the common system. The Committee confirmed that in taking account of these concerns, the Secretary-General's Report to the General Assembly at its fifty-fifth session should be forward-looking and focus on ways in which the ICSC might better serve the diverse management needs of the organizations and make a concrete contribution to the ongoing reform processes. It concurred with the proposed approach that the UN Secretary-General, when introducing the report in the Fifth Committee, be joined by as many of his colleagues, Executive heads, as possible and noted that the matter would be before ACC's second session in 2000, which would enable executive heads to lend their support to the Secretary-General's proposals in moving forward on the reform of the International Civil Service Commission.

(68) At its July 2004 meeting (CEB/2004/HLCM/25, para. 19) the HR Network considered the report of the Panel on the Strengthening of the International Civil Service. The matter is reported in Section 11.2, para. (23).

(69) At its 8th session (October 2004: CEB/2004/6, paras. 34-36) HLCM considered the report of the Panel and the comments of the Commission on thereport of the Panel. The matter is reported in section 11.2, para. (24).

(70) At its February 2005 meeting (CEB/2005/HLCM/8, para. 2) the HR Network was informed of the outcome of the CEB session with regard to its consideration of the discussions at the 59th session of the ICSC on report of the High Level Panel on the Strengthening of the International Civil Service. The matter is reported in section 11.2, para. (25).

(71) Also at the meeting (ibid., para. 27) the Network considered the issue of Governance arrangements with regard to collaboration between the ICSC and the HR Network. The establishment by the ICSC of inter-sessional working groups, composed of representatives of the Commission, the organizations and the staff, which focussed on specific issues of critical importance to all concerned, constituted an important feature of the Network's collaboration with the ICSC. The Network noted the suggestion made by UNDP to facilitate the continued active involvement of organizations in working groups established by the ICSC through the increased use of forward planning and alternative mediums, such as video-conferencing. The ICSC should be asked to give greater attention to the issue of budgetary implications, the possible combination of working groups requiring participation by the same representatives and a more strategic selection of venues.

(72) At its July 2005 meeting (CEB/2005/HLCM/27, para. 15) the HR Network took note with appreciation of the report on the implementation by organizations of decisions and recommendations of the ICSC. ICSC decided to: (a) take note with interest and satisfaction of the responses provided by the organizations for the 2005 exercise; (b) request an update of mobility policies in organizations in 2007; and (c) request its secretariat to review the status of National Professional Officers and to present a report on the use of this category at the Commission’s summer 2006 session (A/60/30, para. 268).

(73) At its 14th session in 2007 in Geneva (CEB/2007/HR/14, paras.84-85), the HR Network agreed to work closely with the ICSC Secretariat to improve the collection of data. On the subject of standards of travel, the decision needed to be taken by the General Assembly. The Network should reinforce these recommendations with the support of the WHO report and the JIU recommendation.

(74) Further, at the same meeting, the Commission decided to:
• request its secretariat to provide further analysis of the items reported on, including a full review of:
o Mobility policies;
o Use of appointments of limited duration;
o Performance management systems in the organizations;
• refrain from reporting to the General Assembly on the item until further analysis was conducted.

(75) At its 14th session in 2007 (CEB/2007/6, paras.20-21), HLCM welcomed ICSC’s initiative for strengthening its partnerships with CEB, the organizations and staff representatives, as this would enable the Commission to focus on issues of higher value to organizations.

(76) The Committee welcomed the decision to hold shorter ICSC sessions and emphasized the need for flexibility, given the different mandates and functions of member Organizations. Appreciating the new outreach strategy outlined by the Commission, the Committee encouraged the ICSC to continue dialogue with its key stakeholders.

(77) At its twentieth session (CEB/2010/5, paras.80-89), HLCM requested the HR Network for an overview of all issues under consideration by the ICSC, with implications and next steps, in order to determine when the HLCM needs to be engaged.

(78) At the HR Network’s twenty first session (CEB/2011/HLCM/HR/9, paras.20-22) took note of the ICSC’s decision to:
(a) Request its secretariat to develop a web-based questionnaire with a view to providing more robust reporting and more meaningful analysis on the decisions of the legislative/governing bodies of the organizations;
(b) Request its secretariat to continue to provide guidance to organizations in the implementation of the Commission’s decisions;
(c) Create a working group to examine and update the ICSC Standards of Conduct in accordance with the request from the General Assembly.