US Remains Firmly Committed to UN Common System


U.S. Representative for UN Management and Reform Ambassador Joseph M. Torsella today stressed that the United States remains firmly committed to the United Nations common system and strongly supports the work of the International Civil Service Commission in harmonizing the conditions of service throughout the agencies, funds and programs, and the Secretariat.

In his statement before the Fifth (Administrative and Budgetary) Committee of the General Assembly, Mr. Torsella said the General Assembly-following recommendations of the ICSC-approved measures to eliminate disparities in the treatment of staff from different organizations serving in some of the most difficult places in the world.

“My delegation is pleased with the progress made thus far and expects that the Commission will continue to closely monitor the implementation of the harmonized conditions of service in non-family duty stations.” -Mr. Torsella

He cited that in its report for 2011, the Commission considered many other important issues such as replacement of hazard pay with danger pay and the survey methodology for General Service staff.

“With regard to the latter, we are concerned that the current practice of monetizing the value of some benefits provided by survey employers and then including such values in the base salaries misrepresents and inflates the amount actually paid by employers.” -Mr. Torsella

He stressed that the current unnecessarily increases benefits provided to General Service staff that are computed based on their salary levels.

“Accordingly, we are disappointed that the Commission has delayed making a decision on this issue and request that it be put on its schedule of work for the next session. We also note the observations of the Commission on the net remuneration margin between United Nations professional staff and employees of the United States federal civil service.” -Mr. Torsella

He stressed that the conditions of service for international professional staff should be determined in reference to the practices of the United States federal civil service under the Noblemaire principle. However, the recent action of the Commission to increase the post adjustment index in New York is at odds with the guiding principle of the international civil service.

“Currently, federal employees in the United States are subject to a pay freeze. That pay freeze affects both base salary and locality pay. Last November, President Obama decided to freeze the U.S. locality pay-which is analogous to post adjustment in the United Nations system-due to “serious economic conditions affecting the general welfare.” -Mr. Torsella

He emphasized that the United States appreciates the hard work and sacrifice of international staff who work tirelessly to realize the ideals contained in the United Nations Charter and the aspirations of an imperfect world.

Mina Fabulous follows the news, especially what is going on in the US State Department. Mina turns State Department waffle into plain English. Mina Fabulous is the pen name of Carmen Avalino, the NewsBlaze production editor. When she isn’t preparing stories for NewsBlaze writers, she writes stories, but to separate her editing and writing identities, she uses the name given by her family and friends.