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STU Flash, 16 April 2021

STU Addendum to document 211 EX/5.II.C.INF

STU/69th Council/21/015
16 April 2021


211 EX/5: Follow-up to decisions and resolutions adopted
by the Executive Board and the General Conference at their previous sessions

Part II – Management Issues

C.INF. UNESCO’s Strategic Transformation




  1. The STU notes the progress reported in document 211 EX/5.II.C.INF, and regrets that there is no exhaustive mentioning to staff as a key player in UNESCO’s strategic transformation and to mobility policy as an integral part thereof.

  2. Mobility data:  In order to assess the relevance of mobility and to quantify the degree of success of mobility policies and exercises, it is fundamental to establish meaningful indicators of achievement and the subsequent monitoring mechanisms. However, while mobility has been debated and emphasized on several occasions, there are surprisingly few data collected and published about it, such as the available instruments for measuring assertiveness and impact, the functional areas, issues relating to gender and the duration of assignments that are not transfers. The absence of a data set makes it impossible to assess trends, identify bottlenecks, interpret implications of gender patterns and of divergent results among similar organizations, and contribute to the interpretation of the overall adequacy of current arrangements. So, past mobility exercises have shown that mobility is driven by the needs of individual staff members; it is not the consequence of a planned strategy embedded in a comprehensive policy, but a consequence of individual staff members’ desire to relocate. Thus, mobility is currently being administered by the Organization but it is not managed by it.

  3. Gender dimensions of a managed mobility: Undoubtedly, significant advancements have been made at the macro level through various measures to ensure that recruitment and selection practices operate on an equal basis. However, the existence of subtle biases and a lack of transparent practices can still have a profound impact on the decisions that affect female candidates to mobility. Added to this, there is no regard to the specificities of women when engaging in mobility exercises (family, health, etc.). The Organization should try to assess if there are factors that impact on the participation of women in mobility exercises and that should therefore be taken into account in the formulation of policies or other measures related to it.

  4. Dual career and staff mobility: The difficulty of accompanying expatriate spouses being able to continue their professional careers is one of the most important hurdles to overcome in order to recruit highly qualified staff, as well as to promote staff mobility. The Organization in consultation and close cooperation with the Resident Coordinators and the UNCTs in the field should bring to the attention of the host countries’ authorities the need to facilitate the access to local labour markets for the spouses of staff members of international organizations, through, inter alia, the granting of work permits or similar arrangements.

  5. Matching organizational needs with staff needs: STU believes that there is a real need for improved dialogue between staff and management. The exclusion of staff from the talks leading to the development of comprehensive human resources management policies, including staff mobility, can only point towards failure, as the experience in several UN Organizations has shown.

  6. STU looks forward to further discuss with HRM the modalities of the next mobility exercise, in light of IOS’s recommendations.


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