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Statement by Chinese Representative Mr. Hao Bin in the 5th Committee of the 59th Session of the General Assembly on Agenda Item 116: the Common System
(October 29, 2004)

2004/10/29


Mr. Chairman,

The Chinese delegation thanks Mr. Eugeniusz Wyzner, Vice Chairman of the ICSC, for his presentation of ICSC report for 2004. We would also like to thank Under Secretary-General Catherine Bertini, representing CEB(UN System Chief Executives Board for Coordination)for her statement.

Mr. Chairman,

The Chinese delegation has read with interest the Report of the International Civil Service Commission for 2004. China regrets however its late issuance. This, we fear, will affect the ability of the delegates to keep abreast of the latest developments in the issues concerned and in turn impair the quality of the deliberations in the committee. This would not do justice to the over 50 thousand international civil servants in various categories that constitutes significant proportion of the workforce of the organizations in the common system.

Mr. Chairman,

China is very pleased that the ICSC pilot project on broadbanding has finally made new progress, reflected particularly in the completion of the framework for the pilot study on broad-banding, its commencement and an increase in the number of participating organizations. This not only reflects the ICSC's efforts that went into communication and dissemination of information during the process but also demonstrates the desire of the executive heads of the organizations in the common system to reform the current pay and benefits system and to improve organizational performance. China looks forward to satisfactory outcomes in the tests conducted by the volunteer organizations. In this connection, China would like to emphasize in particular the need to further refine the criteria for success as the pilot study progresses in order to render the study more relevant and practical. China encourages the ICSC to provide participating organizations with the necessary policy and professional support so that they will be able to effectively implement the project and strive to complete it within the set timeframe. On the basis of the lessons learned, the ICSC should submit recommendations for consideration by the General Assembly.

The determination of conditions of service by reference to those applicable in the civil service of the comparator lies at the heart of the Noblemaire principle. Practice of nearly 60 years has proven that the international civil service has a strong appeal for job seekers with a public service calling all over the world. In our view, the common system salaries remain highly competitive even today and the Noblemaire principle is the best acceptable formula under the current circumstances. However, this does not mean China is against the discussion of ways of further improvement. When conditions so permit, China supports a study by the ICSC on ways of adapting the Noblemaire principle to the new requirements of the 21st century for the international civil servants in light of the new concepts and developments in civil service reforms of various countries and especially reforms in the pay and benefits system. China believes that reform in the pay and benefits system, as an integral part of human resources reform, should incorporate performance management. Any review of the Noblemaire principle should take into consideration the element of performance. Given the intergovernmental and international nature of the participating organizations of the common system, it is appropriate that the conditions of service of their staff in the professional and higher categories be determined by reference to those applicable in the civil service of the comparator country. In our view, the proposal to use the private sector or international financial institutions as comparators is not a responsible one.

Mr. Chairman,

The ICSC is an independent expert body of the General Assembly. It plays a central role in the regulation and coordination of the conditions of service of the United Nations common system. In 2002, the Assembly adopted a resolution on strengthening the role of the Commission on the basis of the Secretary-General's report and hence the establishment of the Panel on the Strengthening of the International Civil Service. China took note of the report submitted by the Panel. After carefully reading the report, China is of the view that despite some interesting ideas contained therein, it can hardly be described as a comprehensive and systematic document; neither can it fully reflect the professionalism that is expected of the Panel, hence our deep disappointment.

Modernizing human resources management in the Organization requires the joint efforts of the ICSC, the executive heads of the organizations and staff under the leadership of GA. Despite their different functions and responsibilities, they all have an important role to play. The Chinese delegation calls upon parts to enhance their communication and coordination, with a view to establishing a harmonious synergy, so that together they can rise to the challenges the common system faces in the new circumstances and contribute to the realization of the objectives of the UN.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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