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Statement by Mr. Yasuo Kishimoto
First Secretary, Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations
Agenda item 123: Human Resources Management

The First Resumed Part of the Sixty-third Session
of the United Nations General Assembly
13 March 2009

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

At the outset, I would like to thank Ms. Catherine Pollard, Assistant Secretary-General for Human Resources Management, and Ms. Susan McLurg, Chairman of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions, for introducing their respective reports.

Mr. Chairman,

We have come to the stage where we must implement the new contractual arrangements in accordance with resolution 63/250. What we have to do now in this session is to revise the relevant articles of the Staff Regulations, so that they reflect the decisions we have made. It is not appropriate to reopen the lengthy negotiations we have engaged. We also should not prejudge the outcome of the discussions to be held at the 64th session later this year, regarding the continuing appointments. Those negotiations will have to be conducted based on the comprehensive report of the Secretary-General to be submitted at the 64th session.

Under this agenda in this session, I would like to make following four points.

First, while the new set of Staff Rules is to be enforced from 1 July 2009, the General Assembly has requested the Secretary-General not to appoint any staff to continuing contracts before it considers the matter at the main part of the 64th session. General-Assembly requested the Secretary-General to submit concrete proposals on matters concerning continuing contracts, including rigorous and transparent procedures, the role of the performance appraisal and financial and management implications. This means that the amendments to the Staff Regulations in this first resumed part of the 63rd session should not cover the continuing appointments, and the proposed article of Regulation 4.5(d) relating to the continuing appointments should be established based on the result of the discussions on the criteria for continuing appointments at the main part of the 64th session.

Second, it is not clear how staff currently holding permanent contracts will be regulated under the revised Regulations. Permanent appointments have been clearly preserved in the earlier proposals of the Secretary-General regarding amendments to the Staff Regulations (A/63/189). My delegation would like to know why those proposals have now been changed.

Third, Resolution 63/250 requests in paragraph 23 of section 2 that successful candidates from national competitive recruitment examinations and staff from language services will continue to be granted open-ended appointments, as is the current practice. While continuing appointments are not implemented, it is logical that for these staff, permanent contracts have to be retained beyond 1 July 2009. Thus, the current regulation 4.5(b) should continue to apply only for this purpose.

Last but not least, let me stress that the restructuring of the staff selection system (ST/AI/2006/3) should be the most effective way of ensuring transparent, objective and geographically balanced recruitment. The revision has to be in full compliance with the relevant resolutions. The current Regulation 4.4 stipulates that "The Secretary-General may limit eligibility to apply for vacant posts to be filled by members appointed for one year or longer under the 100 series of the Staff Rules to internal candidates, as defined by the Secretary-General". This is reflected in the scope and criteria of the current staff selection system. My delegation is interested in how the new scope will be set and how the recruitment process, including compendium of vacancies, the role of the central review bodies and placement authority, will be regulated. Under the revised Regulation 4.4, the Secretariat has to retain the criterion of geographical status in the new staff selection system as a key element to ensure geographical balance at each level for posts subject to geographical distribution. This has been clearly decided in section 2, paragraph 6, of its resolution 61/244 and section 3, paragraph 15, of its resolution 63/250.

Mr. Chairman,

In closing, allow me to express my hope that the views expressed in this statement would provide some guidance to the forthcoming discussions.

I thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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