C - Administrative end budgetary matters
458. In considering agenda item 8 (d), the CoTnmittee had before it document Tj-7P/GC.8/8 and Corr.1, containing sections on staffing policy, proportion of programme and programme support costs to the cost of Fund programme activities, and United Nations accommodation at Nairobi.
1. Staffing policy
459. Introducing the debate on the long-term staffing policy, the Assistant @xecutive Director highlighted several main points in the document - the Executive Director's policy on redeployment of posts, vacancy announcements, termination of contracts with six months notice, reclassification of posts, and increase in the number of costs - and he said that decisions on -personnel policy were very much the prerogative of the Executive Director. The Chief, Division of Administration, then noted that U-'EP had recently made special efforts to recruit younger people, women and, where appropriate, the spouses of staff members, in line with General Assembly resolution '3/143 of 'C-'O December
460. While several delegations welcomed groups of -principles set out in the Executive Director's report, the majority of speakers pointed out that many essential elements of a staffing policy and many quantitative data on the current personnel policy were lacking. Further information was requested on the geographical distribution of posts, on quotas within that distribution, and on occupancy of posts, i.e. sex, grade and nationality. In addition, specific questions were posed on many aspects of the policy: whether the Executive Director intended to reclassify posts by downgrading as well as upgrading; what degree and form of flexibility were exercised regarding posts under the Environment Fund; established posts, posts in the programme activity centres and internal projects posts; what precisely was the Executive Director's policy regarding the staffing of programme activitity centres and internal projects; and which categories of posts fell under the regular budget and were therefore subject to the provisions of resolution 33/143. Another delegation suggested that the secretariat, include, in its long-term plans, a policy regarding interorganization transfers.
461. The secretariat's replies to the above questions, which were made separately, are summarized together in paragraphs 468-473 below. Several delegations observed that there was an apparent contradiction between the text of paragraphs 6 and 15 (a) of the Executive Director's report and the secretariat's statements on the application of geographical distribution.
462. One delegation strongly endorsed the Executive Directoris intention to achieve an appropriate ratio between regular budget and Environment Fund posts. Several delegations noted that they had not received UNEP vacancy notices, and called for improvements in that respect: one suggested that it would be more efficient if +,he UTIEP Geneva Liaison Office was used to distribute the notices in. Europe. i'@ncther delegation requested UIJEP to prepare a list of prospective staff vacancies every six months, since the policy was to notify professional staff six months in advance of termination.
4'63. Two delegations, noting a low percentage of female professional staff in LQ@EP, recommended that UNEP should achieve the established tar-et of 25 per cent established by the General Assembly. One said that its attainment should be made a formal part of the Executive Director's policy.
464. One delegation suggested that short-term appointments should be subject to geographical distribution. However, several others noted that in recruitment, especially for services of an expert Or consultancy nature, the paramount consideration should, in keeping with Article 101 of the Charter, be the quality of the expertise recruited, rather '@itin nationality, and. stressed that the Director should have flexibility in that respect. One delegation requested clarification on how geographical distribution was applied in MQEP, especially for Fund-supported posts, i.e. in terms of United Nations over-all quotas or merely within UNEP.
465. It was also observed that UNEP, since it had a uniq_ue place in the United Nations system, should have a similarly unique staff development and training programme including promotion and career development. Elaboration on the Executive Director's policy in that respect was requested.
466. One delegation, noting that UT7,EP's staff pyramid was rather iribalanced, wi-'h an estimated one staff member at the D-1 level and above to four in the Professional category, asked whether there were plans to reduce the number of staff in the upper professional and higher levels, which might be a way of balancing the ratio of U@TEP funds spent on Fund programme activities and staff costs, and would also be in line with the Executive Director's stated policy of maintaining a link between the growth of the secretariat and the level of programme activity.
467. One delegation, emphasizing that it was in the Frogram-me's interest to ensure that it was served by highly competent staff, said that fixed-term appointments should be converted to permanent appointments only if there was demonstrated need for the posts' continuance and they met the criteria established under United Nations personnel policy.
468. The secretariat replied that only posts established by the General Assembly came under the regular budget, while posts established by the Governing Council, including those in the programme activity centres, as well as internal project posts, were supported by the Environment Fund. @4hile the Executive Director',,-, policy was to apply the Principle of geographical distribution to both regular budget posts and established Fund Posts within the secretariat (i.e. not for the Programme activity centres and internal projects), be was only bound to do so, in view of the rules governing staffing of United nations organizations supported by voluntary contributions, for regular budget posts. For Fund posts, therefore, there was no established quota, but the Executive Director sought to strike a balance regarding their geographical distribution. The regular budget posts in the IJNEP secretariat were counted in the over-all United Nations quota for geographical distribuzion. UDTEP had 151 encumbered professional Posts: 70 established posts under the Environment Fund, 25 Posts under the programme activity ceiitres, 22 posts under internal projects and 3h posts under the regular budget. For short-term staff and consultants whose assignments were necessarily of a very specific and tem@orary nature, geographical distribution was not a primary consideration: though the Executive Director did bear this in mind, expertise of the highest calibre was his primary consideration. A table showing the geographical distribution of consultants had- been circulated as requested.
469. The secretariat regretted that several Governments ha,d not received vacancy in addition to the usual channels, UNEP was now using INFOTERRA focal -points as a further means of improving distribution. while no summary of vacancies would be provided, the secretariat would continue to inform Governments on projected vacancies every six months.
470. There was no direct mathematical link for staf growth to the level of Fund programme activities. Tibile no change in the 1,@,vel of UNEP's coordinating and catalytic functions was foreseen, a marked change in the level of' project of other activities might result in a corresponding change in the relevant staffing level. An increase in staff to undertake an increased level of activities would take place only with the apnroval of the Covernirl,,Council. UNEP's catalytic and coordinating role required more senior than junior staff.
471. UNEP followed closely the career development programme of the United Nations, and. was currently recruitingi, Training Officer to expand its own career development and training programmes. -From tiori w(,,s lo Tn @ ted 7 1 Staff Rules and Regulations.
472. The Executive Director's -rol-icy rcgardinf, erfij)loyytcnt of' women in the secretariat was that the General Assembly resolution wc)iilC-. be applied to regular
addition of a se budget @,nd established, T'nirironm-en(, 'urid @osts. I "e ",ierefore r3.id not feel thatcy the
-P,g,rate- -,,le,ition of women in his Policy was necessary
-His poli on (-Ias-,i-.ficition OC costs applied. to both doT7nCrqdiii@- and upgrading, and followed the guidelines of the 0 !'ice of @ersonne2 Service-,, at 'nited '@ations ITeadouarters. On the transfer of' fire(j-te-r,rq to permanent appointments, the Executive Director @,Tou-Jd we]-come any guidance from the GoverninF (' ' ouncil. bearing in mind that he had already taken the rq,,-,tLer 111@ with Uriitec@ PTation@, Headquarters.
Specific statistical information on ersonnel and stafl'in@ had not been requested by decision 7/24 I-, and hence had not been presented to the Committee. However, it could be provided in the next issue of lie'nort to Governments if the Council so decided. The secretariat welcomed the ident-ification-o@ specific elements on which Governr,-,crcs wanted clarificatioi-i, and would endeqvoiir to ;insi@Ter all questions as fully as possible.
474. Introducing the discussion of the optimum proportion of programme and programme support costs to the costs of Fund programme activities, the Assistant Executive Director noted that the relevant section of the Executive Director's report should be read in the light of the facts that LTTIEP's relatively small size would necessarily show high adminisi ' rative costs, that TJ-L\TEP did not pay its cooperating agencies or siin-nortin@ organizations overhead costs and that -ts location necessitated high communication and travel costs, all of which contributed to a .high fixed cost factor.
475. One delegation welcomed the Executive Director's response to the reques' made of him in decision 7/j),, I,', and expressed the view that, considering the difficulty of evn,]-iiitinfT, the cost-effectiveness of a nonprofit organization, UTTEP had achieved an acceptable ratio between staff and Dro@ramn-e activity costs. Another delegation, however-, sai,,l that the indicated ratio of 1:3 for staff costs as against ll'iAnCi programme activities ,Tas too high. Two delegations felt it would be useful to know the comparative overhead costs of other United ations organizations. The secretariat provided comparative information on those costs, pointing out that the lar@er the a,7ency the lower the ratio.
United .,@Tations accommodation at Nairobi
Introducing the discussion on United Nations accommodation at Nairobi, the Assistant Executive Di -rector reiterated that po:L icy and financial decisions concerning its construction had been already made and would continue to be made -L)Y Unite(I Nations Ifea(.L,,.Iuarters and the General Assembly. The Preliminary site words would be completed on schedule; tenders for main construction had been submitted and would be evaluated at ITnii',e(3. Nations Ileadqtiarters. Additional costs for Habitat r!O@T brought the total costs to an estimated $32 million. Arranp-ements for use of common services were under way, and a joint mission of the Office f General- Servic@@s and Administration ',,,'Etna,!7einent S rvi(--es of United @T@.,tions 'Lieadquarters wag currentlbeing undertaken in Nairobi to prepare a report on the common services requirements for submission to the General Assembly at its tliirty-fifth session.
477. One delegation welcomed the preparation of that report, which it would examine closely in the General Assembly. Two delegations, however queried the desirability o-P the planned location; one repeater its statement in plenary and requested additional clarification on many points: the total appropriation for the construction, total expenditures incurred, the system of tender, agreements with the host Government on services to be provided and participation of other United Nations organizations in the use of the new facilities. The Committee heard with interest the information given by the secretariat in reply, as well as in
introducing the debate, concerning the construction of United Nations accommodation at Nairobi and took note that all information had been transmitted to the Secretary-General.
478. One delegation asked how closely the agreement between UNT.'P and the host Government was being adhered to. The representative of the host Government emphasized that goodwill prevailed on its part and expressed the hope that all problems would be speedily resolved.
479. Three delegations requested information concerning the problems mentioned in the Executive Director's introductory statement re,7arding the satellite communication link to be established at IJNEP headquarters, and one of them urged that a decision on the matter be taken by the host Government as soon as possible. The Deputy Executive Director outlined the events to date concerning the establishment of the satellite communication link, Symphony, and stressed that UNEP had been awaiting a response by the host Government since 5 March 1980 when all required information had been forwarded to it. The delegation of the host Government pointed out that the matter was still under negotiation between UDTEP and the host Government and expressed the hope that an understanding would be arrived at in due course on the basis of the existing goodwill between the two parties. The Deputy Executive Director welcomed the repeated assurances of the host Government. The Committee took note of the clarifications provided.
480. The Committee then took note of the report of the Executive Director concerning United Nations accommodation at Nairobi.