The Constitutional Background
(1) The Charter of the United Nations was signed in San Francisco on 26 June 1945 and entered into force on 24 October 1945.
(2) Article 57 says:
"l. The various specialized agencies, established by intergovernmental agreement and having wide international responsibilities, as defined in their basic instruments, in economic, social, cultural, educational, health, and related fields, shall be brought into relationship with the United Nations in accordance with the provisions of Article 63.
"2. Such agencies thus brought into relationship with the United Nations are hereinafter referred to as specialized agencies."
(3) Article 63 says:
"1. The Economic and Social Council may enter into agreements with any of the agencies referred to in Article 57, defining the terms on which the agency concerned shall be brought into relationship with the United Nations. Such agreements shall be subject to approval by the General Assembly.
"2. It may co-ordinate the activities of the specialized agencies through consultation with and recommendations to such agencies and through recommendations to the General Assembly and to the Members of the United Nations."
(4) Article 103 of the Charter says:
"In the event of a conflict between the obligations of the Members of the United Nations under the present Charter and their obligations under any other international agreement, their obligations under the present Charter shall prevail."
(5) In accordance with Articles 57 and 63 of the Charter, agreements have been made between UN and the specialized agencies. An agreement has similarly been made between UN and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which is not a specialized agency within the meaning of the Charter. The Interim Commission for the International Trade Organization/General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (ICITO/GATT) has undertaken to co-ordinate its administrative arrangements in much the same way as the other organizations. Except where otherwise stated, the term "specialized agencies" used in this Handbook covers all organizations.
(6) While there are some differences in wording in the agreements, they all, with the exception of the agreements with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the International Development Association (IDA) (the latter three usually referred to as the (World Bank), contain, inter alia, articles on the following lines:
"l. The United Nations and the International Labour Organisation recognize that the eventual development of a single unified international civil service is desirable from the standpoint of effective administrative co-ordination, and, with this end in view, agree to develop common personnel standards, methods and arrangements designed to avoid serious discrepancies in terms and conditions of employment, to avoid competition in recruitment of personnel, and to facilitate interchange of personnel in order to obtain the maximum benefit from their services.
"2. The United Nations and the International Labour Organisation agree to co-operate to the fullest extent possible in achieving these ends and in particular they agree to:
(a) Consult together concerning the establishment of an International Civil Service Commission to advise on the means by which common standards of recruitment in the secretariats of the United Nations and of the specialized agencies may be ensured;
(b) Consult together concerning other matters relating to the employment of their officers and staff, including conditions of service, duration of appointments, classification, salary scales and allowances, retirement and pension rights and staff regulations and rules, with a view to securing as much uniformity in these matters as shall be found practicable;
(c) Co-operate in the interchange of personnel when desirable, on a temporary or permanent basis, making due provision for the retention of seniority and pension rights;
(d) Co-operate in the establishment and operation of suitable machinery for the settlement of disputes arising in connexion with the employment of personnel and related matters."
"Administrative and Technical Services
"l. The United Nations and the International Labour Organisation recognize the desirability, in the interest of administrative and technical uniformity and of the most efficient use of personnel and resources, of avoiding, wherever possible, the establishment and operation of competitive or overlapping facilities and services among the United Nations and the specialized agencies.
"2. Accordingly the United Nations and the International Labour Organisation agree to consult together concerning the establishment and use of common administrative and technical services and facilities ... in so far as the establishment and use of such services may from time to time be found practical and appropriate ..."
"Budgetary and Financial Arrangements
"1. The International Labour Organisation recognizes the desirability of establishing close budgetary and financial relationships with the United Nations in order that the administrative operations of the United Nations and of the specialized agencies shall be carried out in the most efficient and economical manner possible, and that the maximum measure of co-ordination and uniformity with respect to these operations shall be secured.
"2. The United Nations and the International Labour Organisation agree to co-operate to the fullest extent possible in achieving these ends and, in particular, shall consult together concerning the desirability of making appropriate arrangements for the inclusion of the budget of the Organization within a general budget of the United Nations. Any such arrangements which may be made shall be defined in a supplementary agreement between the two organizations..."
The organizations covered by such relationship agreements with UN (ILO, FAO, UNESCO, ICAO, WHO, IMO, UPU, ITU, WMO, WIPO, IFAD, UNIDO, IAEA and GATT) are usually referred to as the "common system".
(7) The agreements between UN and IBRD and IMF contain a simpler and more general article saying:
"The United Nations and the Bank(1)* will consult from time to time concerning personnel and other administrative matters of mutual interest, with a view to securing as much uniformity in these matters as they shall find practicable and to assuring the most efficient use of the services and facilities of the two organizations ..."
These organizations are both specialized agencies pursuant to relationship agreements concluded with the United Nations; however, these agreements do not provide that the organizations apply common personnel standards and they do not participate in the common system.
(8) The full texts of the agreements are published in the United Nations Treaty Series; the most relevant provisions of these agreements are reproduced in the annex to the Statute of the International Civil Service Commission (ICSC/l, annex, pp.21-24).
(9) At its 79th session (July 1993: ACC/1993/22, paras. 113-118) CCAQ reviewed a JIU report on those parts of the relationship agreements between the United Nations and the specialized agencies relating to personnel matters and to a unified international civil service, which concluded that there was no need for a revision of the agreements. The Committee did not identify any problems with the agreements at the working level.
1. For meaning of "Bank", see para. (6) above.