Staff mobility

Introductory note. The staff regulations or rules of all agencies state that staff are subject to assignment by the executive head to any duties or office. In practice, however, the rotation requirements of an organization tend to be largely a function of its activities and structure. In recent years, there has been a growing awareness on the part of those organizations whose operational requirements oblige them to reassign staff, of the need for recognition of the mobility concept in common system employment conditions. The subject has been discussed as follows:

(1)     In response to a decision by ACC at its third regular session of 1981 (decision 1981/20), CCAQ prepared at its 56th session (March 1982: ACC/1982/5, Annex IV) a report on conditions of service of field staff, including impediments to mobility. On the basis of this report as well as a submission by UNDP, ACC decided at its first regular (April) session of 1982 to seek a series of improvements in field conditions and mobility incentives (review of the amounts of the installation grant and the assignment allowance, increased efforts to provide housing to newly arrived staff members, review of the treatment of housing costs, study of the problem of staff transferring from high to low post adjustment duty stations) (ACC decision 1982/4 refers).

(2)     Pursuant to the above decision, CCAQ, at its 57th (summer 1982) session, agreed on proposed increases in the installation grant and the assignment allowance, for presentation to ICSC at its sixteenth session (ACC/1982/23, paras. 54-70 and Annex IV). It took note with interest of proposals by UNDP for the rationalization of these allowances, and the restructuring of the assignment allowance to include compensation for mobility. It felt, however, that these required further study (ibid, para. 53).

(3)     On the basis of CCAQ's proposals, ICSC decided at its sixteenth session to adjust the amounts of the assignment allowance and the installation grant, effective 1 January 1983 (for revised amounts, see sections 2.12, para. (22) and 4.5, para. (25), respectively).

(4)     At its 61st session (summer 1984: ACC/1984/16, paras. 95-98), CCAQ gave consideration to proposals by UNDP to restructure the assignment allowance, inter alia to provide for a mobility element. The Committee considered that further study of the matter was required (see also section 2.12, para. (24)).

(5)     At its 67th session (July 1987), CCAQ reviewed:

  • a study on staff mobility, prepared on behalf of ICSC in response to requests by the General Assembly in resolutions 40/244 and 41/207;

  • proposals by UNDP, UNICEF and UNHCR for compensating for mobility through the inclusion of a mobility element in the assignment allowance (prepared as a follow up to the special meeting of ACC on conditions of employment of common system staff).

     Presentations on these subjects were made to ICSC at its twenty-sixth (summer 1987 session) (ACC/1987/10, paras. 116-118 and 63-70 refer).

(6)     ICSC decided that, with effect from 1 January 1988, the assignment allowance should be enhanced by an element to compensate for mobility. The enhanced level of the assignment allowance would be payable to staff who met certain requirements in terms of mobility and length of service. It would normally be payable only at duty stations outside Europe, the United States and Canada, although in exceptional circumstances it could be paid to staff serving in technical co-operation and humanitarian programmes in field duty stations in Europe. Implementation of this decision would be phased in over a five-year period (for amounts of enhanced assignment allowance, see section 2.12, para. (25)). Details of ICSC's decisions are contained in A/42/30, para. 210.

(7)     The Commission also agreed to present its findings on staff mobility to the General Assembly at its 42nd session. It agreed to revert to the matter at its next session on the basis of further documentation prepared by its secretariat (A/42/30, paras. 319-323 and annexes XVI and XVII).

(8)     At its 68th session (February-March 1988: ACC/1988/4, paras. 149-151), in the context of an ICSC secretariat review of staff mobility at the Professional and higher levels, CCAQ reaffirmed the importance of mobility as a factor of service but noted that organizations still had problems assigning staff from headquarters to the field. It intended to examine further ways to compensate mobility more adequately.

(9)     The relativity of benefits among duty stations as a factor in staff mobility was one of five considerations specifically referred to by the General Assembly in its request to ICSC for a comprehensive review of the conditions of service of staff in the Professional and higher categories (resolutions 42/221 and 43/226). CCAQ, in its own study commissioned in 1988, also singled out mobility as one of the criteria for a revised remuneration package (ACC/1988/4, paras. 21-29 and annex III; ACC/1988/12, paras. 5-20). The study linked mobility with the hardship factor, as did ICSC in its review (A/44/30, vol. II; see especially Chapter VII). The Commission, with broad CCAQ support (ACC/1989/14, paras. 7-107), proposed a new mobility and hardship package, almost all elements of which were accepted by the General Assembly in its resolution 44/198 (December 1989). Under the package the mobility element of the assignment allowance (see para. (6) above) was absorbed, along with several hardship entitlements, into a new mobility and hardship allowance which would be payable mainly to field staff but also, at reduced levels, to some specified staff at headquarters, North American and European duty stations and similar designated locations (A/44/30, vol. II, paras. 300-333). For further details on the new package, its implementation and its application to other categories of staff, see section 10.2.

(10)     At its 90th session (April 1999: ACC/1999/5, paras. 24-25 & 32) CCAQ, conscious of the importance for effective human resources management of ensuring the mobility of staff both within and between organizations of the common system, which had been emphasized in a number of policy statements adopted both by individual organizations and at the ACC level, recalled that the Participating Agencies Mobility System (PAMS) had been specifically designed to further these policy objectives. It received a demonstration of the latest stage in the development of the PAMS computerized system and made a number of suggestions for improvements in the system. It agreed that once the system became fully operational on 1 June 1999 organizations would ensure that staff at large were made aware of the system which each organization would make available over its Intranet.

(11)     At the same meeting (ibid., para. 26) CCAQ took note of an analysis by its secretariat of perceptions and procedures which impeded the mobility of staff between organizations (ACC/1999/PER/R.5) and was informed of a number of initiatives individual organizations were taking to develop exchange agreements with outside partners and also by the United Nations Development Group (UNDG) to further mobility among the UNDG organizations. It welcomed the initiative to study means of encouraging greater mobility among organizations and suggested a number of ways in which the study would be further enhanced. It concurred with the proposal that the UN Staff College should be encouraged to play a key role in awareness building inter alia through the development of an orientation training programme for the UN common system, which should make clear to all staff members that they were part of the international civil service which existed in over twenty organizations. The Committee encouraged organizations to initiate internal discussions with the objective of exploring further possibilities of developing inter-agency mobility and requested its secretariat to pursue with organizations and staff representatives the development of proposals which would take account of the views expressed as well as the issue of the orientation training programme with the UN Staff College.

(12)     At the same meeting (ibid., para. 27) CCAQ took note of the proposals on the exchange of HR specialists between organizations contained in a document prepared by its secretariat (ACC/1999/PER/R.9) and requested that the information contained in the annex be updated. It further requested its secretariat, taking account of the work being pursued by UNDG, to establish a small task force of interested organizations to refine these proposals further, noting in particular that this programme would remain voluntary in nature.

(13)     At the same meeting (ibid., para. 27) the Committee also noted that the International Financial Institutions (IFIs) were about to introduce an agreement for the secondment and loan of staff between them based in part on the 1949 CCAQ Agreement as updated. CCAQ considered that the template being put forward could also serve as a model for agreements between UN common system organizations and the IFIs. This would help alleviate the current complex and time-consuming process which required individual ad hoc contractual arrangements to be made. CCAQ therefore requested organizations to disseminate the proposed IFI agreement and to advise the CCAQ secretariat on their intentions to use this instrument so that the agreement might be further refined through consultations between the IFIs and the CCAQ secretariat.

(14)     At its 92nd session (March 2000: ACC/2000/5, para. 23) CCAQ noted that (a) PAMS had officially been launched, (b) its secretariat would send to the HR contacts in each organization a stock of a Joint CCAQ/PER & ISCC secretariat Newsletter on PAMS for distribution to all staff and (c) that the ISCC focal points in each organization had been informed that the system was operational and, as appropriate, could create a direct link to the PAMS site from each organisation's Intranet. The Committee agreed that each organization should monitor the system's usage for the purpose of determining the requirements for Phase II of the project.

(15)     At its first meeting (June 2001: ACC/2001/HLCM/7, paras. 42-44) the Human Resources (HR) Network recalled that PAMS was developed at the request of ACC to: (a) support the employment of spouses of internationally-recruited staff members, (b) increase the opportunities for the advancement of women, (c) foster inter-agency mobility, (d) promote the use of an inter-agency intranet for the exchange of information electronically and (e) increase collaboration among ACC sub-machinery on systems of common interest. Phase I of PAMS, which had been operational since January 2000, served as a web-based communication system that allowed eligible individuals (staff members and spouses) to submit their curriculum vitae to participating organizations. It was developed through the support of the former CCAQ/PER and ISCC and was participated in by UN, UNICEF, UNFPA, UNRWA, UNHCR, WFP, ILO, FAO, UNESCO, ICAO, WHO, UNAIDS, ITU, WMO, IMO, WIPO, IFAD, UNIDO, IAEA, UNOPS and WTO. The Network confirmed its interest in pursuing Phase II of PAMS which would allow for the development of a searchable data base of resumés entered into the system that could be accessed by UN System recruiters. UNICEF had already made a financial contribution for this purpose and UNDP announced that it would do likewise. The Network was also informed of the interest that had recently been expressed by the World Bank in becoming a participating agency.

(16)     At its July 2002 meeting (CEB/2002/HLCM/14, para. 5) the HR Network noted that, while the documents prepared by the ICSC secretariat on the issue provided much food for thought on what was a highly complex issue, the complexity of the issue was exemplified by the fact that the documents raised many more questions requiring investigation and analysis. Moreover, the data reproduced did not adequately capture this complexity. The issue of inter-agency mobility had been on the agenda of the then CCAQ/PER for a long time. One of the initiatives it had taken along with its sister committee, ISCC, was the development of the PAMS. A number of organizations were working on systems of "managed mobility" across (a) occupations, (b) organizational units, (c) duty stations and (d) organizations. A substantive consideration of mobility must recognize that organizations' policies, first and foremost, and must be linked to the business needs of the organizations, as mobility was not an end in itself. For some, mobility was an issue of organizational effectiveness and survival; for others, it was linked to efforts to develop a multi-skilled workforce. The Network believed that much more work needed to be accomplished before the Commission could consider all the implications of the proposals in the document. The Commission requested its secretariat to develop a programme of work for the future which would address inter alia links between career development and mobility, and provide an analysis of the advantages, disadvantages and obstacles to mobility both for the organizations and staff members (A/57/30, para. 92).

(17)     At its December 2002 video-conference (CEB/2002/HLCM/1, paras. 5-7) the HR Network, in view of the priority given by the General Assembly to mobility and its implications on the career development of staff members in the UN system, recognised that they must give their views on the matter. Recalling that mobility was a non-core element in the Framework for HRM "because organizations' programmatic responses must meet local conditions," in particular their diverse business needs and the nature of the work to be performed, agreed nevertheless that much work needed to be done to facilitate mobility, especially with more supportive programmes in the work/family area such as facilitating spouse employment.

(18)     At its January 2003 meeting (CEB/2003/HLCM/4, paras. 18-19) the HR Network was informed the meeting that a consultant was preparing a document for submission to the ICSC's summer session on the issue of mobility. While the primary focus would be on inter-agency mobility, it would also cover mobility within organizations to the extent that headquarters/field mobility would be addressed. The Network requested the ICSC secretariat to ensure that extensive consultation was undertaken with organizations at an early stage in the preparation of this document in accordance with the Commission's working methods approved in 1998.

(19)     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.

(20)     At its June 2003 session (CEB/2003/3, paras. 14-25) HLCM reviewed a note (R.4) by its secretariat providing details of a number of initiatives that had been or were being brought forward to enhance the mobility of staff between organizations of the United Nations system. It provided evidence that inter-agency mobility was a goal that had been sought after since the creation of the United Nations family. From the outset, the desire "to facilitate the interchange of staff in order to obtain the maximum benefit from their services" had been expressed in each of the relationship agreements by which the specialized agencies defined their relation with the United Nations and vice versa, in accordance with Article 69 of the UN Charter. It also referred to perceived impediments to inter-agency mobility. The impediments to mobility in the United Nations system took many forms: perceptional, informal or administrative. They reflected concerns for dual careers and other work/family issues and could be financial or a combination of some or all of the above. They might also be affected by concerns for reintegration into the parent organization or successful integration into the receiving organization. Notwithstanding their common origin and the formal relationship agreements between them, by their actions organizations had not encouraged transfers either from their organizations, sometimes even viewed as disloyalty, or to their organizations. As a first step, the secretariat proposed that: (a) consideration be given to announcing that all common system candidates for vacant posts would be considered on a par with other internal candidates; (b) promotion while on secondment or loan be recognized when a staff member returned to his or her original organization; (c) ICSC be invited to consider introducing a strategic non-pensionable bonus to staff members taking up assignments in another organization of the system; (d) experience gained in other organizations be reflected in job descriptions and vacancy notices; (e) it be made clear to new staff members that they were part of an international civil service and not permanently tied to a specific organization. Where more than one UN organization was located in the same place, joint briefings could also be held. In the light of these considerations, the secretariat proposed that a small group be tasked with amending the inter-organization agreements.

(21)     In the course of discussion, brief presentations were also made on a number of other related initiatives: (a) the UNDG Spousal Employment Policy, (b) the expansion of the PAMS project, (c) contacts with two international corporation initiatives for support employment and , and (d) efforts by a United Nations-led group to bring greater harmony to the different types of contractual arrangements for sending staff on mission and the different entitlements resulting therefrom.

(22)     In the light of the concerns expressed, inter alia by an ICSC consultant, that there was no culture of mobility in the UN system, HLCM embarked on a searching reappraisal of whether management truly believed in inter-agency mobility or not. Resoundingly, the Committee concluded that it believed strongly in such inter-agency mobility, inter alia for sharing experience and expertise, for career development, and in the long run for strengthening the effectiveness of the UN system itself. It could only concur, however, with some of the expressions of concern for the impediments to mobility and decided to seek ways to eliminate or at least minimize them. In this context, the targeted recruitment of specific key individuals in another agency was disruptive and should be discouraged as it ran counter to the basic principle of the UN common system to avoid undue competition among the agencies. This was particularly the case when the recruiting agency offered promotion as an enticement to attract the targeted staff member. A further concern related to the budgetary and programmatic consequences resulting from the requirement to grant "return rights" to a staff member released on secondment, since it was often difficult, if not impossible, to fill the post (even temporarily) during the staff member's absence. Similarly, the secretariat's proposal to recognize promotions earned while on secondment or loan when a staff member returned to his or her original organization raised both budgetary and job classification issues that needed to be addressed. Another impediment to mobility as well as to recruitment and retention in general was the lack of a common system policy for the recognition of domestic partners as dependents. What was needed was a strategy to move forward on the many fronts which surrounded this complex issue. Clearly culture change was needed. It was time to move beyond good intentions.

(23)     After a wide-ranging debate, HLCM agreed: (a) to invite the secretariat to circulate a draft "vision" statement reflecting the organizations' ongoing commitment to inter-agency mobility and the need to develop solutions to impediments thereto; (b) to request that the secretariat convene a small representative working group to look further into the issues raised and brought forward at the session (including spouse employment, recognition of domestic partnerships, listing all UN system vacancies on the extranet, availability of work permits for spouses/partners of staff members). The working group should start by defining better the different issues (including distinctions between secondments, loans and transfers) and the approaches required to tackle these effectively; (c) to invite the HR Network to provide input to the working group in respect of the harmonization of entitlements by bringing together the efforts being pursued by a number of groups and subgroups inter alia of the Network and the UNDG; (d) to encourage those organizations that were able to do so to join the UNDG initiative on spousal employment; (e) to request that the secretariat pursue, as appropriate, its work on PAMS and its contacts with other international organizations and the private sector to boost spouse employment; (f) to underline the importance it attached to the maintenance of the current mobility and hardship scheme as being a vital support to mobility in general; (g) to express concern, particularly in terms of possible duplication of effort, at the plethora of groups that had convened to review problems in the HR area (some as part of UNDG) and to encourage these also to work in the framework of the HR Network, in which all organizations were represented and to ask the HR Network to report back to HLCM thereon at its next session; (h) to request that the secretariat list current provisions for the issuance of work permits for spouses/partners of staff members; (i) to request again, (by letter from the USG DM), that Resident Coordinators facilitate spouse/partner employment, both in the context of agreements concluded by the UN family with host governments and through other channels, and to request that OLA and other legal officers strongly encourage these efforts; and (j) to underline, in this context, the importance and urgency of moving forward with a common approach on the issue of recognizing domestic partners, and to invite the HR Network to bring forward options thereon to HLCM's next session.

(24)     At its July 2003 meeting (CEB/2003/HLCM/20, para. 6 & annex III) the HR Network expressed appreciation for the report of a consultant (ICSC/57/R.4) which it considered to be helpful in focusing attention on the complex issues which surrounded staff mobility, particularly at the inter-agency level. The report was most timely and a valuable response to the General Assembly's request to ICSC "to conduct a comprehensive review of the question of mobility and its implications for the career development of the staff of the UN System." The Network noted that a number of practical actions were already being taken by the executive heads to move forward the matter of inter-agency mobility, largely as a result of the June 2003 meeting of HLCM, and decided to make available to ICSC the chart shown in Annex III describing the action which would be pursued in 5 areas: (a) the development of a "vision" statement; (b) work to be carried out by a working group (led by the DDG of IAEA) to help remove impediments and to the strengthen policies to encourage mobility; (c) actions in respect of spouse employment; (d) work to strengthen organizations' induction and briefing programmes in terms of an international civil service; and (e) development of proposals for financial incentives for inter-agency mobility for presentation to ICSC.

(25)     The HR Network noted further that an HLCM Working Group would report back to HLCM in Spring 2004 on a range of interrelated issues, including: (a) revisions to the CEB inter-agency agreement on loans, transfers and secondments; (b) review of the agreement for loan arrangements between the international financial institutions and the UN common system; (c) policies in respect of treatment of all UN system applicants for posts as internal candidates; (d) review of other administrative impediments including health insurance provisions with a view to eliminating them or at least reducing their impact on inter-agency mobility. The Network decided to bring forward its considerations in respect of common system entitlements, allowances and bonuses linked to rotation and mobility within the framework of ICSC's 2004 review of allowances (including the mobility and hardship matrix). These considerations would be made in the context of the views expressed by the ICSC consultant and the practices of the comparator and of others for whom mobility was a fundamental requirement for getting the job done.

(26)     The Commission recognized that mobility was a key element in the reform efforts of the organizations. The importance of mobility as a means of developing a more versatile, multi-skilled and experienced international civil service capable of fulfilling complex mandates was emphasized. It enabled organizations to meet their programme needs, particularly in difficult duty stations. The Commission decided (A/58/30, paras. 125) that it should approach mobility in a comprehensive manner, in harmony with contractual arrangements, conditions of employment, work/life agendas and spouse employment. Accordingly, the Commission identified four key areas where programmes should be developed to enhance mobility. These priority areas were as follows: (a) development of strategies to change organizational culture with regard to mobility; (b) a clear definition of various types of mobility (e.g., rotation, mandatory or optional mobility and intra-organizational, inter-agency mobility or external mobility); (c) terms of contracts, which should include conditions of employment including mandatory mobility, where appropriate; and (d) spouse employment. The General Assembly by resolution 57/285 II A, para. 7, requested the Commission to review, in the context of the review of the pay and benefits system, the existing linkage between the base/floor salary scale and the mobility and hardship allowance. In that context the Commission decided (A/58/30, para. 126) to review the current mobility and hardship scheme in order to assess its effectiveness in meeting the organizations' needs and to make alternative proposals to enhance mobility.

(27)     At its 6th Session (October 2003: CEB/2003/5, para. 15-17) HLCM was presented with the report of the Working Group on Mobility which included a draft policy statement for forwarding to CEB, in which Executive Heads reaffirmed their commitment to inter-agency mobility and proposals to replace the current loan and secondment arrangements by a more flexible customized set of arrangements, using a template approach. The Committee complimented the Working Group on its work and endorsed the following policy statement for onward transmission to CEB:

"Inter-agency mobility is critical for strengthening the cohesiveness and effectiveness of the United Nations system’s response to global challenges. It builds unity of purpose, a common culture and shared values. It promotes the sharing of knowledge and experience which enhance organizations’ capacity to meet their operational requirements. It opens up a wider scope of opportunity for personal and professional growth and career development. It builds a competent, versatile, multi-skilled and experienced international civil service.

"Executive Heads affirm their commitment to inter-agency mobility and to ensuring that policies and monitoring mechanisms are developed and implemented in the context of their human resources management strategies. To this end, Executive Heads will actively promote inter-agency mobility by:

"Fostering staff members’ appreciation that they are part of one United Nations system; Encouraging movement of individual staff members between organizations; Valuing experience gained in United Nations system organizations; With due regard for organizations’ placement, rotation and internal mobility policies, giving staff members of all United Nations common system organizations equal access and consideration for employment opportunities on a competitive basis; Creating an administrative framework that supports mobility; Addressing work/life issues that impede mobility.

"These objectives may be achieved through:

"Building awareness among staff members that they belong to one United Nations system, inter alia, through induction programmes; Announcing employment opportunities through the United Nations system Extranet; Recognizing United Nations system experience in job profiles, vacancy announcements and selection mechanisms; Promoting system-wide learning programmes, particularly through the United Nations system Staff College; Supporting mobility of managers, including through the development of the Senior Management Service; Creating systems to maintain close links with staff on inter-agency release in the context of their career development; Ensuring that effective incentives are in place to facilitate the movement of staff across the system, in particular to difficult and high-risk duty stations; Facilitating dual careers through spouse/partner support, such as career counselling and job search assistance.

"The High-Level Committee on Management will be responsible for monitoring and reporting progress in respect of system-wide implementation of these measures to the Chief Executives Board for Coordination on a regular basis." The CEB endorsed the statement at its second regular 2003 session (31 October-1 November 2003: CEB/2003/2)."

(28)     Further, HLCM (a) endorsed the general approach put forward by the Working Group to replace current "loan" and "secondment" arrangements with a more flexible "customized" inter-agency mobility accord (This would be based on the template that was attached to the report as annex IV and which would enable all the parties concerned to decide on the elements to be contained in each particular agreement); (b) requested that the Working Group complete its work as soon as possible, in particular in respect of the inter-agency accord and the template; (c) considered that the development of the SMS, which it had endorsed at its fifth session, should be a major focus for the enhanced mobility of managers; (d) requested that the secretariat ensure that work being pursued by the UNDG in this area be fed into the Working Group; (e) also requested that the secretariat establish base-line data on the number of inter-agency transfers, loans and secondments in recent years; (f) called upon all organizations to further harmonize entitlements in respect of hardship and non-family duty stations; (g) in this context, noted the introduction of a lump sum for shipments by some agencies and requested that the HR Network urgently bring forward proposals for system-wide application of such an approach; and (h) took note of action being pursued in respect of spouse employment, in particular with two private sector not-for-profit initiatives ( and Permits Foundation).

(29)     At its 7th session (March 2004: CEB/2004/3, paras. 25-27) HLCM received a progress report of the Working Group on Mobility (CEB/2004/HLCM/R.4) and looked forward to the presentation of a draft text of an Inter Agency Mobility Accord at the fall session of the Committee. It was recognized that, although the Accord would be a valuable tool, there was a real need for all organizations to take concrete action on the issue, in particular: to accept staff from other organizations, to value secondments and to change staff rules and regulations, where necessary or appropriate, so as to treat applications from any UN system staff member for a position as an internal candidate, regardless of their current organization. UNESCO highlighted the work of the UNDG in this regard, with reference to efforts to harmonize policies and to recognize the experience of released staff in terms of career management and development. Recalling the need to ensure that effective incentives were in place to facilitate the movement of staff across the system, in particular to difficult and high risk duty stations, the results of a recently completed worldwide UN system staff opinion survey on the mobility and hardship allowance would soon be presented to the HR Network. The CEB secretariat also recalled that the ICSC would be taking up the issue of mobility and hardship allowances at its forthcoming session. The Committee: (a) agreed that initiatives to enhance inter agency mobility should be sustained; (b) requested the CEB secretariat to prepare a questionnaire to determine the baseline for organizations with regard to efforts to increase or facilitate inter agency mobility and then to present its findings, in the form of a matrix, to the fall session of the Committee; and (c) agreed that the matrix, once developed, should be updated on an annual basis.

(30)     At its July 2004 meeting (CEB/2004/HLCM/25, para. 21) the HR Network thanked the CEB secretariat for its work on the draft questionnaire and agreed that, pending some minor amendments to the text, the questionnaire should be circulated for completion by UN system HR Directors so as to enable a document on the responses to be prepared by the secretariat for submission to the fall 2004 session of HLCM. It agreed that a future review, to be held in two years time, should include a staff opinion element to investigate whether the CEB policies on mobility were getting through to individual staff members.

(31)     Also at its July 2004 meeting (CEB/2004/HLCM/25, para. 28) the HR Network welcomed the presentation by UNICEF of the new IAMP Internal Vacancy System website within the larger context of staff mobility; the site had been active since March 2004 and was the only UN inter agency site exclusively for the sharing of internal vacancies, with the participation of UNDP, UNFPA, UNICEF, WFP, UNAIDS and UNOPS. It expressed appreciation for the efforts of UNDG and noted the invitation to other organizations to become members of the initiative at a cost of approximately USD 900 per organization. The Network requested the secretariats of the CEB and the UNDG to cooperate so as to avoid any duplication of efforts with other associated systems (e.g. the UN Extranet and PAMS).

(32)     At its 8th session (October 2004: CEB/2004/6, paras. 27-30) HLCM considered the revised draft of the Inter organization Mobility Accord and also considered future possibilities for extending the Mobility Accord to short term assignments, General Service staff and assignments with non UN international organizations. The Committee (a) expressed its appreciation to FAO and the Working Group for the excellent work done and progress achieved, (b) approved the Accord, in principle, on the understanding that it would be refined and finalized under the auspices of the HR Network and (c) requested that the CEB secretariat consult with HR Network members and ensure the timely finalization of the Accord.

(33)     At the same session (ibid., paras. 31-33) the Committee considered the results of the exercise it had called for at its seventh session (see para. (29) above) to determine the baseline for organizations with regard to efforts to increase or facilitate inter organization mobility and was informed that inter organization mobility remained rather limited and that staff on secondment, loan or transfer were still the exception in the UN system; survey respondents reported a total number of 795 inter organization movements, which could not be seen as significant compared to the overall staff population of approximately 53,280. While some progress had been achieved, particularly with respect to awareness building and the communication of employment opportunities across the system, mobility continued to be severely impaired by organizational policies and practices, such as the non recognition of rewards and promotion received during an inter organization release period, by security and health concerns, spouse/partner employment issues and staff's uneasiness over career development and job security. Recommendations included the refinement and alignment of organizational policies and practices, the focus on specific occupational groups, enhanced efforts to promote spouse and partner employment and an emphasis on fostering a common UN system culture through training and learning programmes and communities of practice. The Committee (a) noted that inter organization mobility was still limited, (b) encouraged organizations to promote and support inter organization mobility through the establishment and enhancement of suitable organizational policies, practices, systems and other measures; and (c) requested the CEB secretariat to undertake a follow up survey to the baseline in early 2007 and report back on the findings at the Committee's spring 2007 session.

(34)     At its July 2005 meeting (CEB/2005/HLCM/27, para. 21) the HR Network established an ad hoc working group led by FAO to finalize the Inter-Organization Mobility Accord which had been approved in principle by the HLCM (see para. (32) above). The Network expressed its appreciation for finalizing the draft and agreed to submit the revised version of the Accord to HLCM at its next session.

(35)     At its 10th Session (October 2005: CEB/2005/5, paras. 55-57 and annex V) HLCM considered the final version of the Inter-Organization Mobility Accord, which was a tangible manifestation of the vision expressed by Executive Heads in their 2003 Statement on Inter-Agency Mobility in which they called for enhanced mobility among the UN common system organizations. The Committee approved the Inter-Organization Mobility Accord as provided in the annex for immediate issuance by the UN system.(36) At the fifteenth session of the HR Network (CEB/2008/HLCM/HR/17, paras. 51-52), HLCM thanked the HR Network for the work undertaken and supported the continuation of the DCSM programme under the CEB Secretariat.

(37) At its sixteenth session (CEB/2008/HLCM/HR/35, paras. 86-87), the HR Network:
o    Urged all organizations to contribute to the programme DCSM, whether they have field presence or not and to reserve funds for this programme in their 2010-2011 budgets. Organizations were asked to indicate their interest as soon as possible in order to facilitate a sound cost-sharing mechanism for the next biennium;
o    Noted that the proposed budget for 2010-2011 will be forwarded by August 2008 and an evaluation of the programme and its impact will be undertaken in 2009.

(38) At its sixteenth session in New York (CEB/2008/5, para. 120), HLCM endorsed the 2010 – 2011 proposed work plans and corresponding financial requirements (on an extra-budgetary basis) for the UN Cares and the Dual Career & Staff Mobility programmes, as outlined in document CEB/2008/HLCM/20 and CEB/2008/HLCM/22, respectively, in order to allow current and potential member organizations to budget for and set aside the necessary funding for the 2010-2011 biennium. Organizations would review their current level of engagement with the two programmes and inform the respective coordinators in due time of their planned level of participation for the next biennium.

(39) At its seventeenth session (CEB/2009/HLCM/HR/27, para. 55), the HR Network noted the developments of the Dual Career & Staff Mobility. It stressed the need for sound management of expectations, because some staff members and spouses are seeing placement and the unlimited use of Special Leave Without Pay as an entitlement; Requested that the programme be as flexible and inclusive as possible, in order to support and encourage mobility. Coming to a common definition of ‘spouse’ was not deemed feasible, but the programme was urged to be as inclusive as possible in this regard; Welcomed a communication strategy and suggested to focus on seeing spouses and partners as a value added; And urged organizations to participate in the programme so that the cost could be shared among a larger group of members.

(40) At its eighteenth session (CEB/2009/HLCM/HR/46/Rev.1, paras.61-62), the HR Network expressed their support for the programme DCSM though it did not yet fulfil all the requirements staff had regarding support for mobility and spouse employment. Access to work permits was the main hurdle and had to be addressed through the country host agreements. HR Network members had to raise this issue within their organizations when the country host agreements were reopened for negotiation.

(41) The HR Network awaited the outcomes of the evaluation that would be available by the end of the year and requested that the terms of reference be shared in order to provide comments; Suggested that the programme carefully manage expectations so that staff and their spouses/partners do not interpret this as an entitlement to a job within the UN system; Requested that country information for hardship duty stations be developed and provided on the website, including data on the nearest Administrative Place of Assignment (APA); Urged organizations to commit the assessed funding to this programme and noted that the UN Secretariat would re-visit its contribution with the aim to increase it to the full cost-share and that UNICEF had not yet reached agreement on its contribution but would revert on this as soon as possible.

(42) At its eighteenth session (CEB/2009/6, paras.59-62), HLCM encouraged members to positively consider funding to the UN Cares and Dual Career & Staff Mobility Programmes, to facilitate project management decisions for both Programmes and ensure a sound return on the investments already made.

(43) At its nineteenth session (CEB/2010/HLCM/HR/18, paras.94-95), the HR Network thanked the Programme Coordinator for the update on DCSM; Welcomed the Evaluation of the Programme and urged organizations to discuss the findings with a view to prioritize some of the actions; Took note of the intention to review the Joint Guidance Note, which will be presented at the Network’s summer session and urged organizations that have committed themselves to the implementation of the Dual Career & Staff Mobility Programme to ensure they continue to fully fund the programme.

(44) At its twentieth session (CEB/2010/HLCM/HR/35, paras.95-98), the HR Network concluded that it supported the proposed approach presented by the Dual Career &Staff Mobility (DC&SM) Secretariat staff in the programme report as well as the implementation of the Obtaining the Right to Work strategy regarding the negotiation of work permits.

The Network also agreed to the pilots in Italy (with FAO as the lead); and in one or two further duty stations in the field (Malaysia had since been confirmed as the second pilot, with WHO as the lead). The programme proposed to pilot this approach and its accompanying Joint Negotiation Position in 2-4 countries that biennium.

The Network further indicated its concern regarding the financial situation and requested those organizations that had not yet contributed to urgently do so.

(45) At its twentieth session (CEB/2010/5, paras.122-130), HLCM took note of the briefing from the HR Network and strongly urged all those organizations that had not yet provided their contribution to the HLCM-approved budgets of Dual Career & Staff Mobility programme to do so. 

(46) At its videoconference of 18 November 2010 (CEB/2010/HLCM/HR/41, para.11), HLCM strongly urged all those organizations that had not yet provided their contributions to the HLCM-approved budgets of UN cares and Dual Career & Staff Mobility Programmes to do so.  Funding was still awaited from the UN Secretariat.

(47) At its twenty first session (CEB/2011/HLCM/HR/9, paras.61-64), the HR Network thanked the DC&SM Programme Coordinator for the good work and the achievements to date; Requested that a medium-term strategy be developed for the programme and how to mainstream it into the Resident Coordinator and other systems; Agreed to add the DC&SM programme to the letter of support it will be writing for Ms. Pollard.

(48) At its twenty second session (CEB/2011/HLCM/HR/19, paras. 26-30), the HR Network agreed that the budget endorsements for DC&SM will be conducted via email.

  • Human Resources Network (HRN)