Security and independence of the international civil service

(1) At its 52nd session (Part I, January-February 1980: ACC/1980/4, paras. 73-75), CCAQ considered the question of enhancing the security of staff members, noting with concern recent incidents of arrest and detention of staff. It considered that a standard set of procedures for reporting the arrest or detention of a staff member, such as those of the UN, would be helpful, even if, in some cases, agencies were able to resolve situations of this kind on their own.

(2) At its 53rd session (July 1980: ACC/1980/17, paras. 40-46), CCAQ noted that ACC had adopted a declaration on the security and independence of the international civil service at its first regular session in 1980. It gave consideration to two ways in which this declaration might be supplemented in a practical manner. The first concerned the procedure to be followed in reporting cases of arrest and detention, the legal rights of the organizations in such cases and the co-ordinating of reporting action; it was agreed that organizations would continue to rely on UN and UNDP in many instances. The second related to the submission of resignations. CCAQ agreed that resignations should be seen to be genuine and unforced before they were accepted. Executive heads would continue to exercise their discretion in such matters.

(3) At its 54th session (March 1981: ACC/1981/7, paras. 106-110), CCAQ noted and welcomed General Assembly resolution 55/112 calling on Member States to respect the privileges and immunities of official of the United Nations and the specialized agencies. With regard to resignation, CCAQ agreed that organizations should examine the texts which WHO and UNESCO had developed to deal with the question, including the presence of the resigning staff member at his duty station, and introduce such a text into their rules if it was deemed appropriate.

(4) At its 56th session (March 1982: ACC/1982/5, paras. 48-50), CCAQ considered the questions of payments made by some governments to their nationals serving in the organizations and of deductions made by some governments from the salaries of their nationals. ICSC, seized of the matter in 1980, had recommended to the General Assembly that the practice of supplementary payments was unnecessary, inappropriate and undesirable, and moreover inconsistent with the provisions of staff regulations. CCAQ agreed that ICSC should reiterate its recommendation on supplementary payments, and that ICSC should urge the General Assembly at its 37th (1982) session to request governments to supply information on supplementary payments or deductions from salary.

(5) At its 37th (1982) session, the General Assembly adopted a resolution reaffirming the need to respect the privileges and immunities of officials of the United Nations and the specialized agencies and related organizations.

(6) At its 59th session (July 1983: ACC/1983/18, para. 92 and Annex III), CCAQ conducted a thorough review of action which could be taken to deal with threats to the security of staff arising from arrest or detention, the existence of endemic crime, and civil or international conflict.

(7) By its decision 1983/14, ACC approved the recommendations addressed to it by CCAQ; by decision 1986/23 it reaffirmed its determination to apply rigorously the approach contained in that decision.

(8) The ad hoc inter-agency meeting on security matters in July 1987, addressed a number of recommendations to ACC, which endorsed them at its second regular session of 1987 (October, ACC decision 1987/20). By the same decision, ACC referred issues relating to insurance and allowances to CCAQ(PER) for further study at its 68th session (March 1988).

(9) At its 28th session ICSC reviewed the security and independence of the international civil service in response to a request by CCISUA. CCAQ, at its 69th session (July 1988: ACC/1988/12, paras. 76-78) had concluded that procedures applied in cases of the arrest and detention of staff were working "reasonably well", and had observed that divergent practices in the organizations affecting the preservation of staff members' contractual rights in such cases were more apparent than real. It also suggested that the matter could be removed from the Commission's work programme. The Commission did not concur; it decided to ask the organizations concerned to co-ordinate their policies on the preservation of contractual rights in cases of arrest and detention, and to consider further co-ordinating their interventions before the Member States concerned in such cases. It invited them to consider introducing pre-emptive measures to ensure that privileges and immunities were respected and asked them to visit detained staff members as frequently as possible (A/43/30, paras. 95, 96). In its resolution 43/225 on respect for the privileges and immunities of UN system officials, the General Assembly called particular attention to the significant number of new cases of arrest and detention reported by the Secretary-General on behalf of ACC.

(10) At its 72nd session (February-March 1990: ACC/1990/4, para. 155) CCAQ took note of the status of implementation of a war-risk insurance scheme introduced in participating organizations, with effect from 1 January 1990, in designated countries (see also section 16.6).

(11) At its 73rd session (July 1990: ACC/1990/10, para. 82) CCAQ agreed to clear by correspondence amendments to the schedule of evacuation allowances arising from the introduction of the mobility and hardship allowance.

(12) At its 74th session (March 1991: ACC/1991/5, paras. 163, 164) CCAQ agreed to refer to the June 1991 session of the Ad Hoc Inter-Agency Meeting on Security modalities arising from a request by WHO for advice on ways to ensure that international organizations could fulfil their health obligations towards detained staff members.

(13) At its 75th session (July-August 1991: ACC/1991/17, paras. 160,161) CCAQ noted and agreed to bring to the attention of ACC a statement on the independence and security of international officials adopted by a number of former executive heads under the auspices of the Federation of Associations of Former International Civil Servants (FAFICS).

(14) At its 38th session ICSC requested those organizations that had not done so to issue written instructions to staff informing them that the acceptance of supplementary payments contravened staff regulations and requested all organizations to monitor the situation on an ongoing basis (ICSC/37/R.18, para. 180).

(15) At its 40th session ICSC decided that its secretariat should update information on supplementary payments and examine the data at its 41st session (ICSC/40/R.15, para. 114).

(16) At its 82nd session (April 1995: ACC/1995/5, paras. 154-155) CCAQ noted that a number of organizations had recently issued circulars to their staff dealing with attempts by staff to seek the influence of Governments on career-related matters and with acceptance of payments from Governments to supplement emoluments and requested its secretariat to circulate this information to organizations. The Committee also noted that the United Nations had informed the General Assembly of its intention to revise the 1954 ICSAB "Standards of Conduct".

(17) At the first part of its 83rd session (July 1995: ACC/1995/19, paras. 47-49) CCAQ reviewed data received from Member States on supplementary payments and decided to urge ICSC to make a strong statement to the General Assembly. CCAQ also noted the practice of using nationals of Member States on reimbursable or non-reimbursable loans whose loyalties were therefore divided and decided to review such arrangements in the context of a retreat on the structure of the salary scale.

(18) At its 42nd session ICSC decided to report to the General Assembly that although there was a strong presumption that supplementary payments were indicative of uncompetitive remuneration levels the information received from Member States did not allow any definitive conclusion to be drawn on the matter and reiterated that such payments or deductions from salaries were inconsistent with the staff regulations and at variance with the spirit of the Charter (A/50/30, para. 241).

(19) At its 87th session (July 1997: ACC/1997/13, paras. 14 & 79-84) CCAQ agreed that a standardized security training programme should be made mandatory for all managers of field programmes and that the UN Security Coordinator's office should be granted flexibility to institute special residential security measures for staff members or their dependents to respond to specific situations. It was also agreed that organizations with field presences should coordinate the introduction of measures for the self-evacuation of locally-recruited staff.

(20) At the same session CCAQ, noting that persons locally employed under special service agreements did not have the same protection as staff members, recognized an urgent need to develop common procedures for such persons to ensure consistent treatment and help eliminate unreasonable expectations. The Committee endorsed three recommendations of the 1997 Inter-Agency Meeting on Security and decided to bring its general concerns to the attention of ACC to encourage organizations to become more pro-active in ensuring the cooperation and coordination of managers in the field on security matters and related training. It also supported the proposal to strengthen resources to provide stress counseling.

(21) At its third high level meeting (February 1998: ACC/1998/CCAQ-HL/9, paras. 1-10) CCAQ-HL reviewed a report by the United Nations Security Coordinator and decided to confirm the existing policy in respect of locally-recruited staff as outlined in the Field Security Handbook, endorsing its application and consistent implementation by all common system organizations and setting out rules for the integration of locally-recruited staff into the security management system. CCAQ-HL also took a number of decisions in connection with the management of security in the field, including the assessment of performance in security management, criteria for effective, standardized communications systems, funding and cost-sharing mechanisms, appropriate training, etc., for the Inter-Agency Meeting on Security to follow up. CCAQ-HL also endorsed the development of comprehensive information on dedicated security cost budgets and expenditures in all United Nations organizations. (

22) At its 89th session (July 1998: ACC/1998/9, para. 50) CCAQ, in response to a request from ILO, requested its secretariat to invite the UN Security Coordinator to a forthcoming session to discuss procedures for the selection and appointment of Security Officers.

(23) At its July 2004 meeting (CEB/2004/HLCM/25, para. 19) the HR Network welcomed the report of the Panel on the Strengthening of the International Civil Service (ICSC/59/R.16) and took note of the fact that the report would be shared with Executive Heads of all organizations of the common system. It noted that, in spite of the mandate of the Panel, as determined by the General Assembly, that the review should take place within the context of the Statute of the ICSC, the recommendations contained in the report were likely to have a positive impact on the functioning of the Commission and the strengthening of the international civil service if these were rigorously applied, in particular as regards those relating to (a) the functioning of the Commission that were framed within the context of its Statute and (b) those relating to the strengthening of the management of the international civil service. ICSC considered the Report of the Panel in closed session and no report was issued. Comments by ICSC were circulated to the HR Network members in September 2004.

(24) At its 8th session (October 2004: CEB/2004/6, paras. 34-36) HLCM was briefed on the work done with regard to the strengthening of the international civil service. The report of the Panel had included recommendations on the role, functioning and working methods of the ICSC, the criteria and process for the selection of its members, the implications for its secretariat and the enhancement of the Commission's capacity to strengthen the international civil service. The comments of ICSC on the Panel report had been made available in late September and a draft text for inclusion in the Secretary General's Report to the General Assembly had subsequently been circulated to members of the Committee for their review and comments. The Committee: (a) unanimously endorsed the comments of the Secretary General on the Report of the Panel and, recalling the long process leading up to the convening of the Panel and the inclusion of the Chairman of ICSC on the Panel, (b) decided to recommend to CEB members that they convey to him and, through him to the Commission,(i) their strong disappointment at the ICSC's comments on the Panel's report, which called into question any real commitment on the part of the Commission to improve and change and the value of CEB's dialogue with its Chairman, and (ii) their expectation that the outcome of the General Assembly's discussion will respond in a positive manner to the key recommendations of the Review Panel. The absence of a positive outcome, as a consequence of ICSC's position, would lead CEB to review the nature of the participation of organizations in the work of the Commission. It would also risk having an extremely negative impact on the unity of the common system. The Committee members agreed to brief their Executive Heads on the issue.

(25) 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. As reported in the summary of conclusions of CEB, members had "expressed their deep disappointment to the Chairman of the Commission…" and had considered "that the Commission's negative response to the recommendations of the Review Panel raised strong doubts about its commitment to reform and change and put into question the value of dialogue with the ICSC Chairman". The HR Network agreed that at the opening of the 60th session of ICSC the spokesperson of the Network should inform the Commission of the CEB deliberations.

  • Human Resources Network (HRN)