Recruitment (including status of women)

(1) At its 13th session (September 1952: CO-ORDINATION/R.132, para. 58) CCAQ discussed the recruitment of technical assistance experts in the higher age-groups who were not quite fit medically.

(2) At the second part of the 22nd session (July 1961: CO-ORDINATION/R.373, paras. 10-11) the Committee discussed difficulties of recruiting experts and agreed that Staff Office should prepare the draft of a report, which, after clearance by correspondence, could be submitted to ACC.

(3) At the 23rd session (March 1962: CO-ORDINATION/R.391, paras. 89-90) the text of a supplementary report was agreed. It suggested, inter alia, that increased use of associate experts might be advantageous (CO-ORDINATION/CC.23/11 and 11/Add.1).

(4) In October 1966 a CCAQ Working Party, called at the request of UNDP, considered problems arising in the recruitment of experts. Its report (CC/SO/174) made various recommendations on this subject.

(5) At its 43rd session (March 1976: CO-ORDINATION/R.1145, para. 29 and Add.1) CCAQ agreed the text of a factual report to ACC on the status of women in the secretariats.

(6) At its 47th session (August 1977: CO-ORDINATION/R.1237, paras. 27 and 28) CCAQ had a preliminary exchange of views on a study by a JIU member on recruitment of staff in the Professional category. It agreed on the position it would take when ICSC considered the question at its 6th session, and decided to try to present a collective view to the following session of the Commission on the issues raised.

(7) At its 49th session (July 1978: CO-ORDINATION/R.1294, paras. 44-46) CCAQ decided to make available to ICSC comparative information on the practices of organizations in respect of staff participation in the recruitment process. The Committee also indicated endorsement of the ICSC approach to personnel planning (ICSC/R.113) and that it would formulate a common position bearing in mind the differences in the institutional procedures and administrative practices as they had evolved over the years in the various organizations. The Committee expressed the view that ICSC, as an organ distinct from the budget review bodies of the organizations, was in a position to take a long- range view of recruitment for service with international organizations.

(8) At its 50th session (January-February 1979: ACC/1979/R.2, paras. 12-13) CCAQ agreed that before pronouncing itself on some of the issues raised in an ICSC document concerning career development and recruitment (ICSC/R.160), it would have to determine the division of competence in this area between ICSC and the organizations, bearing in mind that in each organization the responsibility for recruitment was constitutionally vested in the executive head. The Committee would look to ICSC for assistance in seeking a common ground for all organizations in broad policy issues.

(9) At its 52nd session (Part I, January-February 1980: ACC/1980/4, paras. 29-30 and Annex IV) CCAQ adopted, on behalf of ACC, a statement on the employment of the disabled (see para. (13) below).

(10) At its 53rd session (July 1980: ACC/1980/17, Annex VI) CCAQ agreed on a draft ACC statement on JIU report JIU/REP/80/4 - Status of women in the Professional category and above: a progress report.

(11) At its 57th session (July 1982: ACC/1982/23, Annex VI) CCAQ agreed on a draft ACC statement on a second progress report by JIU on the status of women (JIU/REP/82/4).

(12) As part of an ACC statement to ICSC on the concepts of career types of appointment, career development and related questions, presented to the 16th session of ICSC (July 1983) (ACC/1982/16, Annex IV, also issued as ICSC/16/R.17/Add.1), CCAQ made the point that systematic recruitment required that needs be anticipated sufficiently in advance and that sufficient resources be made available for recruitment.

(13) At its 58th session (March 1983: ACC/1983/9, paras. 92-94 and Annex VI) CCAQ agreed on guidelines for organizations to give effect to the ACC statement on employment of the disabled, adopted by CCAQ on behalf of ACC in 1980 (see para. (9) above).

(14) At its 59th session (July 1983: ACC/1983/18, paras. 63-68) CCAQ considered a programme of studies in the area of recruitment policy and related issues which ICSC would be carrying out over the next few years. It agreed to participate actively in the different steps, and gave its preliminary views on some of the issues raised. At its 18th session, ICSC adopted the programme of studies (9th annual report, A/38/30, para. 149).

(15) At its 60th session (March 1984: ACC/1984/9, paras. 64-71) CCAQ agreed on a text for presentation to ICSC's 19th session (March 1984) on recruitment policy. It also agreed on the position it would take on an analysis prepared by ICSC secretariat on the selection interview.

(16) At its 61st session (June-July 1984: ACC/1984/16, paras. 59-68) CCAQ pursued with ICSC the programme of studies in the area of recruitment policy. The subjects considered were evaluation of academic credentials, selection mechanisms and processes, and use of tests and competitive examinations. A paper on evaluation of academic credentials was presented to ICSC by UNESCO.

(17) In its 10th annual report (1984: A/39/30, paras. 214-218) the Commission addressed a number of recommendations to organizations concerning the selection interview, the selection mechanism and processes, the use of tests in the recruitment of non-Professional and language staff and language testing for Professional staff.

(18) At its 62nd session (March 1985: ACC/1985/6, paras. 96-105), CCAQ analysed document ICSC/21/R.20 on the development of recruitment sources, including national recruitment services. It considered that the draft recommendation of the Commission related solely to recruitment of technical co-operation personnel. Recommendations were addressed to organizations by the Commission in its 11th annual report (A/40/30, para 252) on these questions, as well as on language proficiency testing (ibid., para. 253) and use of competitive examinations (ibid., para. 263). The latter two questions were discussed by CCAQ at its 63rd session (July 1985: ACC/1985/14, paras. 76-78)

(19) Special measures for the recruitment of women, proposed by the ICSC secretariat and by FICSA, were discussed by CCAQ at its 63rd session (July 1985: ACC/1985/14, paras. 66-75).

(20) At its 64th session, (March 1986: ACC/1986/3, paras. 58-61) CCAQ was able to endorse most of the recommendations to be addressed to organizations by the Commission concerning the use of rosters. The Commission addressed these recommendations to organizations in its 12th annual report (A/41/30, para. 196).

(21) Also at its 64th session, CCAQ reviewed recommendations by the ICSC secretariat concerning geographical distribution. Its views are recorded in ACC/1986/3, paras. 62-67. ICSC requested its secretariat to collect further information from the organizations and report back to the 25th session (March 1987). (22) At the request of ACC (ACC decision 1985/13), CCAQ convened a meeting of senior recruitment staff, whose report (May 1986: ACC/1986/PER/R.30) was reviewed by CCAQ at its 65th session (July 1986: ACC/1986/10, paras. 100-104). The Committee endorsed the recommendations of the meeting with some amendments and reported to ACC on the proposed special measures for the recruitment of women. A follow-up report by the ICSC secretariat on the subject of recruitment of women was also reviewed by the Committee at its 65th session (ACC/1986/10, paras. 106-110).

(23) At its second regular session of 1986 (ACC/1986/DEC/22, B) ACC took note of the recommendations concerning the recruitment of women and urged the organizations to implement them and to report to ACC on progress made in this regard. It also requested CCAQ(PER) to submit to ACC in 1987 recommendations concerning the inter-organization mobility of women (see also 9.6(16)).

(24) At its 69th session (July 1988: ACC/1988/12, paras. 113-117), CCAQ expressed concern at the tone and content of a report by the ICSC secretariat on progress since 1986 in the recruitment of women by the organizations. It considered that organizations had made serious commitments in that area and in almost all of them there had been some progress. Nevertheless, the Commission, at its 28th session, recommended further measures to promote greater employment and advancement of women, particularly in organizations where progress had been limited (A/43/30, paras. 89-91). These were endorsed by the General Assembly in its resolution 43/226.

(25) In pursuance of a request by the Assembly in the same resolution, measures to improve the representation of women on the staffs of the organizations were considered during 1990 by both CCAQ and ICSC. CCAQ concurred in many of the recommendations being considered by ICSC (and later adopted) to favour the recruitment of women and increase the number in high-level or influential posts, though it had reservations on the wording of measures to encourage the employment of staff members' spouses. In the context of General Assembly resolution 42/221 (section V, para. 1(b)), the Committee felt there was no discrimination between men and women in the General Service category; the subject required a more proactive conceptual approach, and CCAQ invited the Commission to make a proposal for tackling the broader underlying policy considerations (72nd and 73rd sessions, February-March and July 1990: ACC/1990/4, paras. 107-113; ACC/1990/10, paras. 113-116). The eight recommendations addressed by the Commission to the organizations are listed in its report (A/45/30, para. 279). Additionally, the Commission agreed to ask organizations about implementation of its past recommendations on career development for General Service staff, and to set up a tripartite working group on the status of women to identify problems and encourage implementation of its recommendations (ibid., para. 288). The General Assembly invited the Commission to examine specific and practical steps to improve the status of women in the organizations (resolution 45/241, section XI).

(26) At its 75th session (July-August 1991: ACC/1991/17, para. 108), CCAQ noted the report of a recent meeting held by UNDP on spouse employment; it would be reviewed inter alia by the tripartite working group on the status of women.

(27) A progress report of that working group was considered at the same session (ACC/1991/17, paras. 89) and the Committee, while recognizing the importance and sensitivity of the subject, expressed some reservations about the working group's programme. It suggested that the group might be convened independently of CCAQ/ICSC sessions.

(28) At its 76th session (March 1992: ACC/1992/6, paras. 110-114) CCAQ reviewed the report of an ICSC Working Group on the status of women in the UN system which put forward conclusions on recruitment, career progression, work/family-related issues and attitudinal and related aspects of the status of women. The Committee found it constructive and felt organizations would give close attention to its conclusions and recommendations. ICSC adopted a number of detailed recommendations of the Working Group for action by the organizations (A/47/30, paras. 296-297).

(29) At its 78th session (March 1993: ACC/1993/6, paras. 127-129), as a follow-up to the report of the Working Group, the Committee took note of an ICSC secretariat document which provided statistical data at the common system level on the status of women and to a pamphlet it had recently produced. ICSC took note of the report and requested its secretariat to collaborate with CCAQ secretariat in establishing parameters for future data collection (ICSC/37/R.18, para. 205). The General Assembly urged the organizations to introduce a coherent plan for improving the status of women in each organization in 1993, giving attention to work/family issues, spouse employment and the creation of an organizational climate conducive to the equal participation of men and women in the work of the organizations (resolution 47/216 VI).

(30) For a study on recruitment and retention difficulties, see section 2.2, para. 98.

(31) At its first session in 1995 (ACC/1995/4, para. 22) ACC adopted a statement on the status of women in the secretariats of the United Nations common system and requested CCAQ to report to ACC at regular intervals on its implementation. Some issues were the concern of individual organizations and some had been dealt with in the context of the Committee's consideration of the work/family agenda (See section 9.8). The remaining issues were taken up at the 83rd session.

(32) At the second part of its 83rd session (September 1995: ACC/1995/19, paras. 85-91) CCAQ noted the Beijing Declaration of the Fourth World Conference on Women which had, inter alia, called on the United Nations to achieve gender equality, particularly at the Professional level and above, by the year 2000. In the context of the organization's environment of severe financial belt-tightening and down-sizing, the Committee recognized that prospection efforts would have to be cost-effective and carefully targeted to specific vacancies. CCAQ endorsed with appreciation ITU's offer to work with the ICSC secretariat to make the ICSC secretariat Vacancy Announcement Bulletin available through the Internet in order to broaden prospection efforts, as part of efforts to ensure that all women staff members of common system organizations would be treated as internal candidates in applying for vacant posts in any organization of the system, but noted that the granting of internal candidate status only to female staff of other organizations might be challenged from a legal standpoint. Recognizing that inter-agency mobility increased staff members' experience, the Committee agreed to study the feasibility of developing an inter-agency roster of staff members, utilizing the latest in computer and artificial intelligence technology. With regard to encouraging the further development of spouse employment opportunities, the Committee agreed to seek to extend across the common system the type of cooperation agreements on spouse employment reached by the Rome-based organizations. It also requested lead organizations at each duty station to initiate in 1996 contacts with the host government with a view to obtaining accurate information on the impediments to, and possibilities for, both remunerated and voluntary work at the duty station and exploring the possibility of liberalizing policies/legislation, which might restrict the spouses/domestic partners of UN system personnel from engaging in remunerated or non-remunerated activities. The lead organizations were also requested to approach bilateral aid agencies and other international employers present at the duty station to determine the potential for organizing collaborative arrangements (ibid., paras. 89-90).

(33) At its 86th session (April 1997: ACC/1997/6, paras. 38) CCAQ confirmed that policy determinations in respect of the recruitment and use of retirees remained the prerogative of each organization (see also sect. 6.2, para. 25).

(34) At its 88th session (April 1998: ACC/1998/5, para. 37) CCAQ reviewed statistical data on gender balance in the United Nations system and concluded that efforts to promote workforce diversity had to form part of an organization's human resources strategies and be aligned with the organization's overall strategy. ICSC could help by providing analyses of the degree to which competing policies, such as geographical distribution, may impede progress on gender balance and by show-casing initiatives that have increased the pool of female candidates in male-dominated professions. The Committee decided to request ICSC to defer consideration of the issue until more information was available. ICSC, in reviewing the progress made since it took a lead position on the matter in 1985, considered that two of its recommendations, insisting on policy and commitment from the top combined with monitoring and accountability, had been crucial in achieving these results. Much still needed to be done particularly at the P.5 level and above. ICSC requested its secretariat in consultation with CCAQ to develop a draft plan for gender balance, concentrating on recruitment and accountability, and to develop a set of guidelines for those with decision-making responsibilities to support accountability for ensuring gender balance. ICSC also requested organizations, inter alia, to evaluate their recruitment pools to ensure that women with the requisite qualifications were being presented. Member States also carried an important responsibility in this regard. ICSC requested its secretariat to maintain and publish statistical information on the matter (A/53/30, paras. 287-292). The General Assembly by resolution 53/209 VI took note of ICSC's continuing work and endorsed its requests to the organizations.

(35) At its 90th session (April 1999: ACC/1999/5, para. 22) CCAQ considered the report of the CCAQ Ad Hoc Meeting on Recruitment and Selection and welcomed the innovative structure and format of the ad hoc meeting and its report. It encouraged organizations to review and see how best the conclusions reached at the meeting might be followed up within each organization.

(36) At its first regular session in December 2000 (ACC/2000/24, paras. 19-20), in considering the question of recruitment, members of the High-Level Committee on Management (HLCM) suggested a number of innovative changes which inter alia might speed up the recruitment process. Among the ideas put forward were more creative job advertisements, use of generic job descriptions, rostering/pooling of pre-screened applicants, using headhunters, use of "remote" Assessment Centres, simplification of processes, improved "work" environments, focussing on lower level recruitments based on pools/rosters and making employment conditions more competitive. HLCM requested the secretariat to prepare a position paper which would: (a) elaborate how organizations might pursue these suggestions for improvement, (b) identify those organizations within and outside the UN system which had introduced such processes and (c) analyse the outcome of such initiatives.

(37) At its first meeting (June 2001: ACC/2001/HLCM/7, paras. 24-27) the Human Resources (HR) Network noted that recruitment concerns had become a priority area on the agenda of HLCM and had been receiving ever-increasing attention in intergovernmental and inter-agency fora. Much of the focus had been on process and reduction of time delays. The Network recognized that there were certainly process improvements which could reap significant advantages, particularly though investment in, and use of, more sophisticated IT and web-based approaches. Hiring-management systems software was crucial for employers competing for the best candidates in a high-speed job market. While most organizations posted vacancy announcements on their web-sites and even provided for on-line completion of personal history forms, there was a great deal more that could be done. The world-wide labour market was getting tougher for hiring not only the best but also those who were linguistically flexible, geographically mobile and met the organizations' diversity requirements. Increasingly the private and public sectors that operated globally were fishing in the same talent pool and regularly tried to poach attractive candidates by luring them away with attractive recruitment bonuses, rich compensation packages and extensive training and development opportunities. The Network proposed that HLCM consider how to achieve greater inter-agency sharing of experience in HR planning and IT solutions, particularly as regards different hiring-management systems software.

(38) At its March 2003 meeting (CEB/2003/HLCM/12, para. 23) the HR Network was informed by WFP that a new spouse employment policy had been developed by UNDG and WFP requested that the item be considered at the next meeting. The matter is dealt with in section 9.9, para. 11.

(39) At its June 2003 session (CEB/2003/3, paras. 14-25) HLCM, in the context of discussing measures to improve mobility touched on the question of spouse employment. The discussion is reported in section 9.7, paras. 20-23.

(40) At its 7th session (March 2004: CEB/2004/3, para. 31) HLCM was informed by the CEB secretariat that the CEB had joined the Permits Foundation as an observer with the aim of sharing knowledge on the issue of spouse employment and that subscriptions had been paid to for 2004 for nine organizations on a pilot basis.

(41) At its March 2004 meeting (CEB/2004/HLCM/14, para. 17) the HR Network reviewed an ICSC secretariat document which provided clear indicators of the sustained efforts organizations were making to achieve greater gender balance in the secretariats of the UN family of organizations and noted that much remained to be done. The Network agreed to inform the ICSC of the work being carried out under the aegis of the CEB in this regard, namely: (a) the February 2004 session of the Inter Agency Network on Women and Gender Equality reaffirmed its commitment to working with HLCM to achieve the goal of gender balance set by the UN system, particularly in view of the preliminary findings of the mandated study (General Assembly resolution 57/180) on the probable causes of slow advancement in the improvement of the status of women in the UN system; (b) the UN Office of the Special Advisor on Gender, in response to General Assembly resolution 57/180, commissioned the first phase of an analysis of the probable causes of the slow advancement in the improvement of the status of women in the UN system with a view to elaborating new strategies for achieving gender parity, analyzing the situation in the UN Secretariat; (c) the preliminary findings of the study, based on in-depth interviews with Professional and General Service staff in four major duty stations, indicated that the recruitment system should be more proactive and targeted. It also demonstrated that the mobility of women was more likely to be restricted by work/life issues, especially family constraints and dual career issues. Flexible working arrangements were still perceived as a barrier to efficiency and productivity by too many managers and there were no rewards for those managers who excelled in this regard. There was also a perception among some staff that managers were not held sufficiently accountable for reaching gender parity targets; (d) a detailed report on the results of the study would be presented to the General Assembly at its fifty ninth session with specific recommendations.

(42) ICSC expressed its disappointment that the rate of advancement of women had slowed over the years and that only limited progress in terms of gender advancement had been made in organizations of the UN common system. The Commission requested its secretariat to provide a report on further progress at its 62nd (spring 2006) session, including information on the representation of women by region as well as on organization's gender plans and their development, implementation and effectiveness (A/59/30, para. 297). The General Assembly noted with concern that the rate of advancement of women had slowed over the years and that only limited progress had been made and took note of the decision of the Commission (resolution 59/268 III B).

(43) At its July 2004 meeting (CEB/2004/HLCM/25, para. 29) the HR Network thanked WFP for the presentation of the new UNDG website on spouse employment initiatives. The site would be live from the fall of 2004 and would include information on individual countries and duty stations, life in the UN, specific information for expatriate spouses, links to other UNDG member sites and a search facility. Costs to participating organizations were kept low as spouses did much of the content management work. Linkages to other UN sites and the UN Extranet could be considered as the site developed. The Network noted the invitation for organizations that had not already done so to join the initiative, recognizing that the more members, the more successful the initiative would become and agreed that the PAMS system should be phased out. It considered that, with regard to the issue of spouse employment, organizations should pursue a policy of selective intervention and that this might be served by organizations acting collectively, such as by using the UNDG model of a compact in a given country or duty station. The Network recognized that while this issue affected staff at all levels of seniority, the workforce was ageing and an increasing number of entry level staff had dual career families, which exacerbated the problem; creative and flexible solutions were required, such as improving the employment opportunities for spouses on projects and partnerships with the private sector.

(44) At its February 2005 meeting (CEB/2005/HLCM/8, para. 25) the HR Network, in connection with the issue of spouse employment, endorsed the renewal of membership in and the continuation of observer status of the UN System with the Permits Foundation. It noted the information provided by the CEB secretariat that a recent JIU report had included the recommendation that "the legislative bodies of the organizations should bring to the attention of the host countries the desirability of adopting, as appropriate, more liberal policies as regards the granting of work permits […] in favour of the spouses of staff members and officials of international organizations" and welcomed the suggestion to bring the issue of work permits, wherever feasible, to the increased attention of organizations' governing bodies.

(45) In response to the adoption of gender mainstreaming at the 1995 Beijing Platform for Action, the Secretary-General had asked the HLCP and the HLCM in a letter of 16 January to develop in cooperation with his Special Advisor on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women, a system wide gender mainstreaming policy and strategy.  An action plan had been produced by the Task Force of Inter-agency on Women and Gender Equality (IANWGE). 

(46) At its eleventh session (CEB/2006/3, paras. 47-51), HLCM:
    (a)    Recognized that the issue was one of management accountability, particularly at the senior levels;
    (b)    Noted that capacity building mechanisms would involve the need to ensure that staff training and development reflected the need for improved competencies for gender mainstreaming;
    (c)    Further noted that monitoring and evaluation mechanisms should be emphasized in the measurement of outcomes through results based management;
    (d)    Considered that the commitment and accountability should be made explicit through individual performance appraisal reviews of managers;
    (e)    Agreed that improved gender balance in the secretariats of all organizations as well as in inter-agency and inter-governmental bodies would also strengthen organizations’ efforts in achieving the goals of gender mainstreaming;
    (f)    Requested the CEB secretariat to work with the Office of the Special Advisor with a view to developing proposals for common approaches in the areas of data collection, accountability, monitoring, reporting and training.

(47) At its twelfth session (CEB/2006/HLCM/17, para.16), with regard to gender balance in the UN organisations, the HR Network emphasised the importance it conferred upon the issue and agreed to the organisation of a special session on gender for 2006.  It was noted progress was not satisfactory throughout the systems and emphasised that affirmative action had to be considered within a whole framework of incentives, in the areas of recruitment, promotion and particularly retention, to achieve progress.  Gender balance was a responsibility not only of the HR Network but also of line managers.  The Commission decided to:
o    Take note of information provided with regard to the representation of women in the Professional and higher categories in the organisations of the United Nations common system and express its disappointment at the insufficient progress made, in particular at the senior level, where women continued to be significantly underrepresented.
o    Urge the organisations that have not yet done so to designate a senior-level focal point for gender issues to provide leadership in formulating appropriate plans and strategies for achieving gender balance, including responsive workforce and succession planning to cater for retirements.
o    Urge those organisations that have not yet done so to set realistic annual gender goals for their organisations and to conduct annual reviews to assess progress towards those goals.
o    Encourage the organisations to hold managers accountable through their annual performance appraisal for achieving established gender goals.
o    Encourage organisations to focus on strategies for retaining women at mid-level grades of the organisation.
o    Continue to monitor future progress in achieving gender balance in the organisations of the United Nations common system every two years and request its secretariat to provide a report on this issue at its 67th session (July 2008).
o    Request its secretariat to regroup regions and sub-regions in line with the current groups used for election purposes in the General Assembly.

(48) At a videoconference of October 2006 (CEB/2006/HLCM/35, paras.11-14), it was recalled that the HR Network had proposed a special session on one or two strategic issues; the issues would be gender balance and the advancement of women.  There would be a videoconference session to prepare for a special session in 2007.  The CEB Secretariat would be the focal point for the day and facilitate the choice of location for the session.

(49) At its videoconference of January 2008 (CEB/2008/HR/2, paras.2-6), the HR Network confirmed its support to ICSC for a staff survey on recruitment and retention. It recommended that the ICSC provide the HR Network members with the opportunity to see and review the survey results before they were published in order to avoid misinterpretation. The HR Network also re-iterated its willingness to work together with the ICSC Secretariat to develop and conduct a good staff survey.

(50) At its fifteenth session in Rome (CEB/2008/HLCM/HR/17, paras. 93-95), the HR Network:
o    Requested Organizations to share concrete actions taken and pointed out the need to establish effective targets and time lines;
o    Shared some of the measures to achieve gender balance adopted by different organizations;
o    Indicated their concern regarding the accountability of senior managers to reach the gender targets;
o    Shared problems and concerns in recruiting, promoting, and retaining women due to lack of suitable candidates and other structural problems;
o    Showed concern about the synchronization of different promotion policies such as geographical and gender approaches;
o    Suggested to create better organizational cultures and work environment policies and to be more transparent in practices for the recruitment of women;
o    Shared concerns about the gender balance in hardship and non-family duty stations;
o    Pointed out that accountability had to play a key role in communication and a more proactive approach was needed;
o    Underlined that, though organizations deal with problems, situations and mechanisms differently, all have similar problems in reaching gender balance at the middle and senior management levels and in recruiting/retaining women in the hardship duty stations;
o    Agreed that organizations need to continue sharing information and experiences.

(51) At the HR Network’s sixteenth session (CEB/2008/HLCM/HR/35, paras. 26-29), the Commission decided to:
    (a)    Express serious concern that the goal of 50/50 gender balance, especially at the D-1 level and above, remained unmet with negligible improvements. 
    (b)    Note with disappointment that many organizations have not implemented its previous recommendations presented in paragraph 112 of its 2006 report (A/61/30) and reiterate those recommendations, which included the following:
        (i)    Urge the organizations that have not yet done so to designate a senior-level focal point for gender issues to provide leadership in formulating appropriate plans and strategies for achieving gender balance, including responsive workforce and succession planning to cater for retirements;
        (ii)    Urge those organizations that have not yet done so to set realistic annual gender goals for their organizations and to conduct annual reviews to assess progress towards those goals;
        (iii)    Encourage the organizations to hold managers accountable through their annual performance appraisal for achieving established gender goals; and
        (iv)    Encourage organizations to focus on strategies for retaining women at mid-level grades of the organization;                           
    (c) Urge organizations to consider granting authority to selection/promotion review bodies to overrule selection decisions when a qualified man is selected over an equally qualified woman, as a special measure until such time that the 50/50 gender goal is met in the organization at all levels;
    (d)    Take leadership in instituting systematically designed mandatory exit interviews in all organizations, and therefore, request its secretariat, in collaboration with the representatives of organizations and staff bodies, to develop a questionnaire for exit interviews to be used across the common system;
    (e)    Request its secretariat to explore the feasibility of establishing an inter-agency roster of qualified women to be available to organizations of the United Nations common system;
    (f)    Urge organizations to enforce existing gender balance policies and measures;
    (g)    Continue to monitor future progress in achieving gender balance in the organizations of the United Nations common system every two years and request its secretariat to provide a report on this issue at its seventy-first session (July 2010) including a status report on the implementation of its recommendations presented in this report.

(52) At its sixteenth session in New York (CEB/2008/5, para. 155), acknowledging the need to follow up on the survey with an in-depth analysis of the organization-specific data, HLCM suggested repeating the exercise in the next five years, taking appropriate measures to encourage a larger participation from staff in the survey. Furthermore, as an interesting development from this exercise, the Committee suggested carrying out a comparative analysis of these first results with similar studies in other public sector institutions.

(53) At its seventeenth session (CEB/2009/3, para.41), HLCM took note of the various issues on the agenda of the forthcoming meeting of the HR Network, as outlined in her briefing by the Network Spokesperson, and looked forward to receiving for consideration and approval the Network’s final recommendations on the Policy Statement on “Employment of Persons with Disabilities in the United Nations Workplace”.

(54) At its seventeenth session (CEB/2009/HLCM/HR/27, para.9), the HR Network thanked the ICSC Secretariat for the document (ICSC/68/R.7) and the CEB Secretariat for the draft of the standard exit questionnaire (CEB/2009/HLCM/HR/7); Expressed once again its concern about the slow of progress in achieving gender balance in organizations across the UN system especially at the senior level; Recalled that the Secretary General as Chairman of the CEB had requested organizations to develop an exit questionnaire that would assist in finding out the reasons why women leave the common system and help organizations to put in place better retention policies; Requested organizations and staff representative bodies to provide the CEB Secretariat with any comments regarding the exit questionnaire by mid- March.

(55) At the same session (CEB/2009/HLCM/HR/27, para.10), the HR Network analyzed the options proposed in the document (ICSC/68/R.8) and agreed that rosters are not the most effective way to recruit women in the UN system, taking into account the experience of some organizations with rosters; Was of the view that such a roster would be difficult to justify given the investment, time and effort required to establish and maintain an efficient and credible roster; Agreed that other methods should be explored, such as targeted recruitment; posting vacancy announcement more widely and outreaching to gender and diversity forums such as ORIGIN, GenderNet and others. The Commission’s consideration of this item was reported in its thirty-fifth annual report.

(56) At its seventeenth session (CEB/2009/HLCM/HR/27, paras.17-19), referring to the Policy Statement on Disabilities in the Workplace, the HR Network requested that the Medical Network be further consulted regarding the use of certain terminology, prior to its final endorsement; Noted that that this is a large shift in thinking as it moves from recognising people’s disabilities to recognising them for their skills and abilities and agreed that it will be important to introduce, explain and support this change when the policy is implemented.

(57) At its seventeenth session (CEB/2009/HLCM/HR/27, paras. 29-30), the HR Network took note of the briefing by the CEB Secretariat and the matrix of the different policies and best practices in the various organizations; Agreed to post a list of potential outreach sites/organizations on the CEB website to assist in identifying external female candidates; The directory has been created and can be consulted by community’s members on; Was informed that organizations’ gender policies and external best practices can be downloaded and consulted on the CEB “Gender Community of Practice” website (

(58) At its seventeenth session (CEB/2009/HLCM/HR/27, para. 40), the HR Network agreed that, in principle, career options are important for all staff, including security professionals. It was further agreed that a generic job description for security professionals could be developed.  As for career paths for security professionals, it should consist of a simple mechanism focusing on using loans, secondments and bi-lateral agreements between agencies as advancement mechanisms. The Network further agreed that the strategy should also address the increased recruitment and retention problems of female security officers.

(59) At its eighteenth session (CEB/2009/HLCM/HR/46/Rev.1, paras.12-13), the HR Network thanked the ICSC Secretariat for its work and expressed their appreciation for the detailed analysis and new insights that generated from the 2008 global Staff Survey.  The data will prove to be useful to organizations in developing HR strategies and policies. The HR Network supported recommendations b) to d) in the document (ICSC/69/R.5 and ICSC/69/CRP.6), but concluded that the concept of a UN Social Network (recommendation a)) needs to be further elaborated and a cost analysis of its implementation undertaken.

(60) At its eighteenth session (CEB/2009/HLCM/HR/46/Rev.1, paras.43-47), the HR Network agreed to establish a Focus Group to review in a holistic manner several inter-linked issues, including succession planning, recruitment of senior posts, recruitment practices and mobility.  For practical reasons the Focus Group will be composed of some of the New York based organizations.  The UN and UNFPA volunteered to lead the group, UNDP and UNICEF would also participate.  The Focus Group will draft a paper on the way forward and share with the Network. The Network further agreed to hold a Videoconference with the full Network and the Staff representatives in early September 2009 to discuss the Focus Group’s proposal; Requested that the documents for the Videoconference be made available well ahead of the meeting so as to allow time for a broad discussion within organizations. Priorities on the agenda of the Focus Group were:  recruitment of general support staff and the principles for senior appointments.

(61) At the same session (CEB/2009/HLCM/HR/46/Rev.1, paras.48-49), the HR Network agreed that the following issue would be reviewed by the Focus Group: A survey on practices regarding the status of candidates from within the UN system as internal or external for vacant positions. agreed in the context of the discussion on “Delivering as One” during the Network’s Spring 2009 session.

(62) At the same session (CEB/2009/HLCM/HR/46/Rev.1, paras.50-51), in reference to the HLCM requesting the HR Network to undertake an analysis of a recommendation from the Triennial Comprehensive Programme Review Report on recruitment of senior posts, the HR Network agreed that a set of principles should be developed and adapted at organizational level and that the matter would be further discussed in the Focus Group.

(63) At its eighteenth session (CEB/2009/HLCM/HR/46/Rev.1, paras.77-78), the Network endorsed the Policy Statement on Employment of Persons with Disabilities in the UN Workplace. HLCM will be informed at its next Session.

(64) At its eighteenth session (CEB/2009/6, para.63), HLCM endorsed the Policy Statement on employment of Persons with Disabilities in the UN Workplace, and requested organizations to report on the adoption of their specific policies by mid-2010.

(65) During the HR Network’s videoconference in October (CEB/2009/HLCM/HR/48, para.10),
It was agreed that the CEB Secretariat will distribute the Policy Statement on employment of Persons with Disabilities in the UN Workplace to all organizations. Organizations were now to start developing their own internal policies and the Network was to report back to HLCM on this matter at its next Session in Spring 2010.

(66) At its twentieth session (CEB/2010/HLCM/HR/35, paras.45-46), the HR Network noted some slight improvement in gender balance, however efforts needed to continue throughout the UN system; Expressed its commitment to sharing best practices among organizations.

    The Commission decided to:
    (a)    Express concern that the goal of 50/50 gender balance, especially at the D-1 level and above, remained unmet without any noticeable progress;
    (b)    Note with disappointment that the organizations had not implemented all its previous recommendations;
    (c)    Recall its previous recommendations outlined in A/61/30, A/63/30 and A/64/30;
    (d)    Urge organizations to enforce existing gender balance policies and measures including the Commission’s previous recommendations and conduct regular monitoring on the level of implementation;
    (e)    Urge organizations to incorporate diversity policies such as geographical balance into gender strategies and policies;
    (f)    Request organizations to hold managers accountable through their annual performance    appraisal for achieving established annual gender targets;
    (g)    Request its secretariat to coordinate with other entities in the United Nations common system on monitoring and reporting on the gender balance and explore the feasibility of establishing a common data depository for future data collection; and
    (h)    Henceforth monitor future progress in achieving gender balance in the organizations of the United Nations common system every four years, and request its secretariat to provide a report on this issue at its 2014 summer session. 

(67) At its twentieth session (CEB/2010/HLCM/HR/35, paras.107-109), the HR Network agreed to reconvene the Working Group on Disability to look at implementation issues and make further concrete recommendations; Further agreed to share any good practices and report back to HLCM on the progress of implementation.

(68) At its twentieth session (CEB/2010/5, paras.122-130), HLCM fully supported the implementation of Policies on Persons with Disabilities by all organizations, and requested the HR Network to look at ways to measure results, also looking at best practices from the private sector.

(69) At its videoconference of 18 November 2010 (CEB/2010/HLCM/HR/41, para.11), HLCM fully supported the implementation of Policies on Persons with Disabilities by all organizations, and requested the HR Network to look at ways to measure results, also looking at best practices from the private sector.

(70) At its twenty second session in Geneva (CEB/2011/HLCM/HR/19, paras. 50-53), the HR Network thanked the ICSC Secretariat for this report and noted the results. Some organizations will provide their latest data to complete the outcomes. However, the Network noted that diversity is more than geographic distribution alone and that many posts are not subject to geographical balance, for example those that are non-geographical or extra-budgetary. Weighting contribution as the most important factor skews the balance towards the richer countries.
    The Network notes the report, supports broadening the scope of review for diversity to also include topics such as gender, disability in the work place, promoting inclusiveness and safe working environments and the options for improving contained in paragraph 25 of R.10, some of which are already being implemented by organizations.

    The Commission decided:
    (a)    To inform the General Assembly of the status of geographical distribution in the organizations of the common system and actions being taken by organizations and their governing bodies to achieve geographical balance;
    (b)    To study recruitment policies with a view to recommending to organizations measures that would be more favourable to diversity;
    (c)  To revert to discussing diversity broadly at a later date.

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