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STU Flash, 14 April 2021

Human Resources: Oral Statement by the STU, 211th session of the Executive Board

STU/69th Council/21/014
14 April 2021


211th Session of the Executive Board of UNESCO




Thank you, Mr Chairperson, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen

First of all, STU would like to send its thoughts to our fellow colleagues, Hadi, Hanan and Luciana, victims of Covid-19. We will carry them in our hearts and our thoughts are with their families and friends. Neither do we forget those colleagues both at Headquarters and in the Field, who are sick, some of whom were infected in the workplace whilst assuming their duties, and some of whom who will suffer long-term effects. May they be assured of our full support.

With regards to the human resources management strategy for 2017-2022, STU welcomes the workforce planning and the launch of the skills inventory by HRM in the spirit of this strategy which considers it essential to invest in the existing staff of UNESCO, by establishing a true culture of learning. STU will therefore ensure that this exercise does not lead to further external recruitment: it is indeed training that should compensate for the absence of a particular skill.

In terms of performance, the switch to an annual cycle and to a mid-term review every six months currently only means an accelerated pace and an additional workload on supervisees and supervisors. As for the constructive and productive dialogue the Administration calls for, it presupposes an internal justice system granting supervisees the right to appeal, which is no longer possible since the abolition of the Reports Board and the Review Panel. The establishment of a 360-degree feedback of supervisors by supervisees could also be beneficial to the Organization.

As for mobility, STU welcomes the efforts undertaken to ensure the movement of colleagues who have reached the Standard Duration of Assignment in hardship duty stations but deems it excessive to consider these efforts as a real mobility exercise for 2020-2021, especially as we are unfortunately still in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic. In addition, the limited scope of this exercise (Directors and Head of Field Offices) raises concerns about a lack of transparency related to the criteria used, especially as staff associations are excluded from the review panel for posts P-5 and above.

STU also requests the Administration to ensure that the 2021-2022 mobility exercise will take into account the possible decision of the upcoming General Conference on Recommendation n° 9 of IOS on the mobility programme, related to the possibility of applying for posts of a higher grade.

In general, STU notes the absence of a clear global mobility policy, taking into account all aspects of life of staff members (in particular spouse’s career and children’s schooling), and regrets that individual staff movements are not part of a planned strategy to produce more positive results, both for the Organization and for the staff.

STU welcomes the proposal for a Mid-Level Professionals recruitment programme for P-3/P-4 posts to improve the geographical representation of Member States. In addition, we regret that the document does not include PA posts in its calculation, as requested by Member States, especially since the Organization has integrated the two sources of the budget (regular and extra-budgetary) in a single budget and that the PA posts have almost no time limit. In addition, STU remains convinced that an improvement in the geographical distribution cannot be carried out without integrating the gender dimension, which remains a particular issue in category P-5 and above. The geographic dimension, at Headquarters as well as in the field, and gender should go hand in hand.

Thank you for your attention.