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Statement by Mr. Takashi Kanamori
First Secretary, Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations

Agenda item 139: United Nations Common System

Fifth Committee
Sixty-fourth Session of the United Nations General Assembly
20 October 2009

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

My delegation would like at the outset to express its gratitude to Mr. Wolfgang Stöckl, the Vice-Chairman of the International Civil Service Commission, Ms. Sharon Van Buerle, the Director of the Programme Planning and Budget Division, and Ms. Susan McLurg, the Chairperson of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions, for introducing their reports.

My delegation has expressed its support for the purpose of the Common System to ensure the efficiency and effectiveness of conditions of service for all participating organizations. As is done every year, the decision and recommendation of the ICSC on the level of basic salary of the Professional and higher categories should be approved as it has been proposed.

[End-of-service severance pay]

Mr. Chairman,

This year, the ICSC recommends that the General Assembly introduce end-of-service severance pay for fixed-term staff separating from the organization upon expiration of contract after ten or more years of continuous service in those organizations which have introduced and implemented the new contractual framework. Last year, the General Assembly decided in resolution 63/250, concerning the nature of fixed-term contracts, that there shall be no expectations, legal or otherwise, of renewal or conversion of a fixed-term contract, irrespective of the length of service, and Staff Regulation 4.5 (c) clearly so stipulates. Reflecting upon the discussion and the decision by the General Assembly to date, my delegation cannot find among any of the reasons enumerated by the Commission in paragraph 50 of its report valid grounds for introducing end-of-service severance pay for fixed-term staff whose contracts are not renewed. Therefore it is not acceptable for us to introduce end-of-service severance pay.

[Gender Balance]

Mr. Chairman,

In its report, the ICSC also deals with the problem of achieving gender parity in Common System organizations and emphasizes the importance of targeted outreach efforts to attract qualified women for positions at all levels. My delegation shares the view of the Commission and would like to encourage it to take further action in this area. In the latest report on the composition of the United Nations Secretariat, A/64/352, we can see that gender parity has already been attained at the P-1 and P-2 levels. In addition, taking into account the general practice among international organizations of giving internal candidates priority over external candidates during the selection process, my delegation believes it is inevitable that we will reexamine the staff selection system and its practices in order to achieve the ultimate goal of gender parity, including at the D-1 level and above. It is to be hoped that the Commission will take up this challenge of reviewing the staff selection system and its operation beginning at its next session.

[Geographical distribution]

My delegation has serious concern about another problem, to which it would like to draw the attention of the ICSC, namely, that the Commission, even as it addresses the issue of gender balance, continues to give scant attention to the problem of geographical distribution. We firmly believe that a staff characterized by geographical diversity can enhance the organization's ability to handle a wide variety of problems. In the endeavor of achieving harmonization of staff rules and coherence in the practice of the common system, if the ICSC bravely puts this enduring problem of geographical distribution on its agenda, addresses it, and formulates recommendations as to appropriate measures participating organizations can take to improve their staff regulations and rules, staff selection systems, and practices, my delegation will spare no effort to provide it assistance in doing so.

Finally, my delegation would like to express again its sincere support for the ICSC and the hope it will continue to play a key role in guiding all the entities under the Common System towards more coherent and effective management. We would like to be informed of any and all challenges it faces and participate in constructive discussions on how to surmount them.

I thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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