Quality Staff Ensure UN Service Excellence

Mr. Chairman,
Mr. Vice-Chairman,
Members of the Commission,
Ms. Kane,
Ms. Pawlik,
Colleagues & Friends,

On behalf of the United Nations family in Thailand, it is my pleasure to welcome you to Bangkok for the 74th session of the International Civil Service Commission (ICSC) over the next ten days.

We sometimes forget what a privilege it is to be international civil servants, to have the opportunity to make a difference to humanity.

My own personal inspiration has always been the approach and philosophy of the former Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld – who was a driving force in establishing the independence of international civil servants and in developing the policies which have shaped our organization.

It was another former Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, who put it best when he said of Dag Hammarskjöld: “His wisdom and his modesty, his unimpeachable integrity and single-minded devotion to duty, have set a standard for all servants of the international community.”

This is also the great value of the ICSC – setting, monitoring and ensuring the highest standards of service excellence. You are the custodians of our conditions of service. Your meeting and deliberations about the complex details of these conditions, is deeply important for our work and for our ability to deliver the results expected of us.

Our current Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, has repeatedly said that staff are our greatest asset. We, his senior managers, understand this vision and the importance of investing in and supporting our staff because quality staff, with the right support, can produce the results necessary for us to make a difference for the people of our region.

Our member States are appreciative of the results achieved by the UN community in this vast Asia-Pacific region. The staff of ESCAP and other UN agencies, funds and programmes have worked tirelessly to support our member States in making real development progress towards 2015 and beyond. I am also very appreciative of the efforts of our member States to ensure that we have an adequate budget to deliver on our mandate of socio-economic development.

Members of the Commission, thanks to the ICSC, the United Nations has been able to attract and retain the best-qualified staff – both local and international. To remain a competitive, fair and aspirational employer however, we must be able to compensate our staff at levels that are similar to those of the top tier employers.

We count on your support in safeguarding the best interests of the organization and our staff. Over many years, you have made much progress towards harmonizing the conditions of service amongst the various agencies, funds and programmes, for which we are deeply grateful.

Yet, much remains to be done in this area so that we, the UN family as a whole, do not end up competing with each other to attract the most qualified candidates for our vacancies. We must also avoid staff working side by side in the organisation but receiving different compensation for the same work.

For this particular session in Bangkok, I take note of the extremely challenging agenda that is before you; I admire your fortitude and your willingness to tackle difficult topics which are, at times, controversial. Amongst them are the principle and application of performance rewards and recognition, as well as a review of the education grant methodology. I know that for all of our colleagues here in Thailand this is a critical issue.

Once again, I welcome you to the hub of the United Nations in Asia and the Pacific, and wish you an enlightening and productive time with us. Notwithstanding your hectic schedule, do take the opportunity of your presence here to enjoy Bangkok and Thailand.

Thank you.