Staff training and development

[See also report by ICSAB on this subject - CO-ORDINATION/CIVIL SERVICE/4 (1952)].

(1) At the 20th session (April 1959: CO-ORDINATION/R.295, paras. 73 and 74) CCAQ considered a suggestion for the introduction of a common basic training programme for persons entering the international civil service. It was doubtful about the effectiveness of such a programme, though some members thought that an experiment might be considered for P-1 and P-2 administrative staff. The Committee asked UNESCO to prepare a study on common training possibilities for submission to the next session.

(2) At the first part of the 21st session (April 1960: CO-ORDINATION/R.325, paras. 95-97) the UNESCO study was examined, together with proposals for the creation of inter-agency facilities at Geneva and New York. The majority of organizations felt unable to participate in such plans, but if UNESCO itself commenced a programme of the type outlined they might later wish to discuss the possibility of utilizing it for some of their probationers.

(3) At its 28th session (March 1967: CO-ORDINATION/R.604, paras. 34-35) CCAQ was informed by the United Nations Institute for Training and Research that UNITAR expected to be in a position, by about the end of May 1967, to present to the organizations a report on staff training, on the basis of which they should be able to prepare for ICSAB and other interested bodies: (a) a summary of what was already being done in the field of staff training; (b) suggestions as to the kind of training desirable for different kinds of staff and the extent to which a common training programme might be feasible. CCAQ agreed that the report should be examined by a Working Party in September or October 1967. It might serve as a basis for the preparation of an inter-organization report to the 1968 session of ICSAB; the text of this could be examined at the 29th session of CCAQ.

(4) At its 29th session (March 1968: CO-ORDINATION/R.669, paras. 28-30) CCAQ was unable to examine the matter thoroughly and decided to take the matter up in 1969.

(5) At its 31st session (March 1970: CO-ORDINATION/R.798, para. 26) CCAQ agreed on the text of a report to ICSAB on staff training and development (see ICSAB/XVIII/R.3).

(6) At its XVIIIth session (July 1970, ICSAB/XVIII/1, paras. 79-84) the Board (see para. (5) above) considered the report on staff training and made recommendations on the subject.

(7) At its 41st session (March 1975: CO-ORDINATION/R.1087, paras. 99 to 102) CCAQ received a report from a meeting of training officers convened under the auspices of CCAQ in the autumn of 1974. CCAQ considered the meeting to have been a useful one and accepted a recommendation from the group that they be formally constituted as a training sub-committee of CCAQ. The terms of reference of the group were specified and it was agreed it should meet from time to time.

(8) At its 46th session (January 1977: CO-ORDINATION/R.1203, para. 30), CCAQ agreed that its Sub-Committee on Staff Training (see para. (7) above) be authorized to meet once a year to develop collaboration in staff training activities, in view of the impending assumption by ICSC of its functions in that area and the resulting responsibilities of the organizations.

(9) The Sub-Committee established by CCAQ at its 41st session met regularly once a year. Apart from being the forum for an exchange of views on matters of interest to organizations in the training field, the Sub-Committee prepared in 1979 a report for ICSC on current training practices in the UN system (ICSC/R.171).

(10) At its 54th session (March 1981: ACC/1981/7, paras. 92-93) CCAQ endorsed two papers prepared by the Sub-Committee on Staff Training for presentation to ICSC: one on the relationship of training to career development (issued as ICSC/R.254) and one on elements for a management training programme (issued as ICSC/R.255). These documents were noted and endorsed by ICSC at its 13th session (March 1981).

(11) At its 55th session (July 1981: ACC/1981/31, paras. 70-74) CCAQ reviewed the role of ICSC in common training programmes, and concluded that its main function should be the formulation of policy guidelines, rather than the organization training programmes. Co-ordination among organizations in the area of training would continue to be assured through CCAQ and its Sub-Committee. ICSC could play a useful role in stressing the need to devote adequate resources to training. ICSC was so informed at its 14th session (July 1981).

(12) At its 59th session (July 1983: ACC/1983/18, paras. 69-71) CCAQ agreed to co-operate with ICSC in the preparation of studies on training needs analysis and evaluation of training programmes, pointing out that the Sub-Committee had done considerable work in these areas already. It also agreed to prepare a compendium of training policies and an inventory of inter-agency training activities for ICSC's information.

(13) At its 61st session (June-July 1984: ACC/1984/16, paras. 70-76) CCAQ considered the report of the 10th session of the Sub-Committee on Staff Training. It noted that the Sub-Committee proposed to review its own terms of reference. CCAQ considered that, in the meantime, the Sub-Committee should not deal with matters which fell outside those terms.

(14) At the same session CCAQ agreed on the position to be taken regarding a paper before the 20th session of ICSC on training needs assessment. The 10th annual report of ICSC records its conclusions on this subject (A/39/30, para. 226).

(15) At its 65th session (July 1986: ACC/1986/10, paras. 111-112), CCAQ took note of the Training Sub-committee's views on evaluation of training, as well as of the views of the ICSC secretariat on the subject. It agreed on the position it would take in ICSC. The Commission decided, however, to postpone the discussion till a future session.

(16) At its 26th session (July 1987), the Commission requested its secretariat to pursue consultations at the regional meetings of the CCAQ Sub-Committee on Staff Training and agreed to consider the training evaluation model at its 28th session (July 1988) (A/42/30, para. 309).

(17) At its 66th session (March 1987: ACC/1987/4, para. 119) CCAQ decided that the Sub-Committee on Staff Training would not hold a full meeting in 1987, and that instead, regional meetings would be held in Europe and North America.

(18) At its 69th session (July 1988: ACC/1988/12, paras. 109-112), CCAQ supported recommendations from its Sub-Committee on Staff Training urging (i) recognition of the need to treat such training as an integral element of human resources management, and (ii) strengthening of inter-agency co-operation in staff training. While recognizing the benefits of training, it was unable to accept, as also recommended by the Sub-Committee, a commitment that the organizations raise the financial resources available for staff training to at least 1 per cent of total staff costs.

(19) At its 72nd session (February-March 1990: ACC/1990/4, paras. 138-140), CCAQ was not able to endorse a proposal by the Sub-Committee that its name be changed to "Sub-Committee on Staff Development". It decided to ask the Sub-Committee to clarify how it saw its role, given its terms of reference and the general principles on training presented in its report. Nor was it able to agree to the Sub-Committee's recommendation that it revert to its earlier pattern of annual meetings. It would return to both these matters.

(20) At its 74th session (March 1991: ACC/1991/5, paras. 149-152), CCAQ endorsed the recommendations included in the report of the 16th session of its Sub-Committee on Staff Training, with the exception that its next session be held in Geneva and not in Florence as recommended.

(21) At its 77th session (July 1992: ACC/1992/23, paras. 88-90) CCAQ noted the report of its Sub-Committee on Staff Training, which had developed a programme of action with specific terms of reference and timetables for the following year and agreed with its suggestion that there was a need for it to relate better with similar work being done by other inter-agency groups such as CCSQ(OPS). In view of ICSC's intention to place training issues on its agenda for 1993, CCAQ endorsed the Sub-Committee's proposal to meet in Vienna in 1993.

(22) At its 79th session (July 1993: ACC/1993/22, paras. 95-102) CCAQ reviewed the report of the 17th session of the Sub-Committee on Staff Training. In the context of improving management accountability, the Sub-Committee had developed ten principles for institutionalizing management development programmes within organizations of the common system and proposed to develop a model framework for the implementation of an integrated management development approach and to identify and test generic UN manager competencies. In the discussion attention was drawn to the growing recognition of staff development and training as vital components in improving an organization's performance. CCAQ endorsed the guidelines for the evaluation of training, the framework for training in performance evaluation and the principles for institutionalizing management development programmes, as well as the work programme for 1993/1994 with the proposal to hold a one-day workshop in conjunction with its next session. ICSC approved the guidelines for the evaluation of training and recommended their application by the organizations (A/48/30, para. 235 and annex XII).

(23) At its 81st session (June 1994: ACC/1994/14, paras. 170-175) CCAQ reviewed the report of the 18th session of the Sub-Committee on Staff Training which reaffirmed the need to develop, for CCAQ's next session, a competency-based management development programme, which would incorporate a model approach for team-building. The Sub-Committee had undertaken considerable work in the development of training programmes and materials to support CCAQ's policy initiatives on HIV/AIDS, prevention of sexual harassment in the workplace and security. Organizations were urged to ensure that these programmes were integrated in their staff training activities. CCAQ felt that training and staff development were central to the organizations' successful implementation of change and that inter-agency cooperation was vital if the limited resources available were to be maximized. The Committee endorsed a proposal that the UN Security Coordinator act as a clearing house for training materials on security matters and agreed the Sub-Committee should meet in 1995.

(24) At its 85th session (July 1996: ACC/1996/14, paras. 16-17 & 71-72) CCAQ reviewed the report of the 19th session of the Sub-Committee on Staff Training which addressed a number of concerns of inter-agency collaboration and information sharing. The Sub-Committee had an important role to play in fostering cooperation and collaboration, particularly at a time when the organizations had to meet the challenge of responding to new mandates at the same time as resources were being reduced. CCAQ expressed the hope that the Sub-Committee would soon complete the task of developing a common management framework for competency-based performance management and would collect information in a manner that would facilitate comparisons of training activities and budgets across the UN system.

(25) At the same session, on the understanding that the Sub-Committee would be a flexible forum for fostering collaboration and cooperation in training and make optimum use of modern cost-effective means of communication, CCAQ endorsed revised terms of reference proposed by the Sub-Committee. CCAQ suggested that the Sub-Committee might meet every two years and arrange for two video-conferencing sessions in between(ibid., paras. 73-76).

(26) The Chairperson of the Sub-Committee, who was the representative of the ILO Turin Center, provided a briefing on the status of the development of a United Nations Staff College (ibid., para. 77).

(27) At its 88th session (April 1998: ACC/1998/5, paras. 17-19) CCAQ reviewed proposals for a training programme on the management of diversity in the context of capacity-building for change management. Noting that capacity-building was closely linked to CCAQ's work on new approaches to human resources management and encompassed far more than diversity management, CCAQ supported the development of a generic training module on the management of diversity but hoped that ICSC's future work on the subject would take a broader perspective on the issue of capacity-building. ICSC requested its secretariat to continue to refine the training/learning modules and to seek additional information sources in the best practice compendium, keeping the Commission informed about further developments and the use made of the modules (A/53/30, paras. 304-307).

(28) At its 91st session (July 1999: ACC/1999/13, para. 8) CCAQ reviewed a report from UNDG Personnel and Training Sub-Group (CCAQ(PER)/91st/CRP.3) and expressed its support for the work being undertaken by the Sub-Group. It confirmed that the close working relations developed between the Sub-Group and CCAQ should be further advanced, particularly in connection with the Sub-Group's work on mobility and rotation.

(29) At the same session (ibid., para. 11), under the heading "Capacity building for change management - leveraging global diversity," the Committee took note of the information provided by the ICSC secretariat in respect of the Train-the-Trainer workshops which had taken place on the above subject and encouraged organizations to integrate the diversity package into their current induction and management training programmes and to report back to the Committee on their experience in using this package.

(30) Also at the same session (ibid., para. 13) the Committee received a progress report from the Director of the UN Staff College and expressed its support for the development of a clearing house through which information on organizations' training and development activities would be shared. It expressed its encouragement to the Staff College in the development of a module for the induction of staff across the common system.

(31) At its April 2002 meeting (CEB/2002/HLCM/8, para. 21) the HR Network expressed appreciation for the briefing by the Secretary of the HLCM on the progress on the establishment and work to date of the Board of Governors of the UN Staff College, and of its Expert Panel, which would advise on the analysis, development and delivery of all Staff College programme proposals and on the alignment of the strategy of the Staff College with the strategy of the CEB.

(32) At its July 2003 meeting (CEB/2003/HLCM/20, paras. 28-29) the HR Network reviewed a note (CEB/2003/HLCM/17) on the "Organizational Learning Framework" (OLF) presented by the UN System Learning Managers for endorsement. The Learning Managers believed that there was scope to use learning and development more strategically and effectively for improving management capacity and organizational performance. It would also support, complement and integrate Human Resources Development (HRD) policies into the broader UN reform process and the deliberations of the HR Network and the HLCM. The Network expressed appreciation for the excellent collaborative work and thanked the Learning Managers for developing a useful learning framework, It fully endorsed the concept of the framework and approved the six principles and noted that the Learning Managers would refine the indicators related to each principle as well as the implementation processes including a diagnostic tool, which could complement individual organization's endeavours. It supported a role for the UN System Staff College in the implementation of the Framework process.

(33) At the eleventh session of HLCM (CEB/2006/3, paras.42-46), the interim Director of the UN System Staff College (UNSSC) presented his proposals for the future of the Staff College, focusing on the development of a core curriculum for the Staff College. The Director proposed that ‘life cycle’ training should be the development priority. This would include (a) induction training (possibly complementary to agency-specific programmes) and the updating of the distance learning CD-ROM “Welcome to the UN”; (b) mid level management training for P 4 and P 5 levels, especially in smaller agencies without budgets to develop their own programmes; and (c) senior management training focused on the leadership programme to be developed for the Senior Management Network. 

The development of these new programmes could be funded through existing College funds, while delivery would be financed through participation fees. In addition to these life cycle programmes, existing programmes in the areas of resident coordinator system, peace and security as well as support to the UN learning community would be maintained. The Director requested the Committee to make a commitment to the proposed core curriculum, “on a trial basis”.

The Committee:
    (a)  Thanked the interim Director for his presentation and work on the core curriculum;
    (b)  Agreed to the latter on a trial basis subject to the review of a business plan to be presented by the Staff College Board to the HLCM at its next session. 
(34) At its eighteenth session (CEB/2009/HLCM/HR/46/Rev.1, paras.24-25), the HR Network considered that the long-standing flexibility provided to organizations in applying language recognition schemes or incentives to promote multilingualism in the United Nations should be maintained since this flexibility is crucial for organizations to address and meet their respective operational needs.

(35) At the HR Network’s eighteenth session (CEB/2009/HLCM/HR/46/Rev.1, paras.65-66), WHO presented the issue of National Professional Officers (NPO’s) who are the single group of staff excluded from any language incentives. The Network agreed that this matter merited a review, but that ultimately this was within the realm of the ICSC who would then make a recommendation to the General Assembly. The Network also noted that practices among organizations were mixed, and agreed to request ICSC to review the entire situation of NPOs.

  • Human Resources Network (HRN)