UNFSU Message on the occasion of UN Day 2021

UN Day 2021


Dear Colleagues and Friends,


Another year has passed us by, and the UN today celebrates it’s 76th birthday. The past year has been largely dominated by the continuing struggle to manage the devastating effects of the pandemic which continues to wreak havoc around the globe.


As your staff representatives much of our focus has continued to be on how the organization is responding to the challenges this pandemic has presented for the continued delivery against the various mandates of the missions and entities in which you all work, while we appreciate and see that there are concerted efforts to provide administrative guidelines which we are consulted on as part of our membership in the UNISERV Federation, we do continue to learn of disparities across the various UN entities in how these guidelines are interpreted and implemented. While we understand that local contexts must be taken into consideration, we would expect that a modicum of conformity of treatment of staff is to be expected.


This past year we have also been dealing with the closure of one of our biggest peacekeeping missions, UNAMID. While there continues to be no official policy on downsizing, the guidelines that have been developed over the years and our close interaction with management on the ground through our UNFSU committee as well as our close interactions with the office of the ASG for OHR and dedicated staff there we have together made a very valiant effort and were quite successful to have many staff laterally placed into different positions in different entities, also with the use of the “horizon” platform that provides for visibility into those staff who have been earmarked to be losing their jobs. Obviously, we very much regret anyone that has lost their jobs, these are very hard realities we face in our line of work.


During the recently held Staff Management Committee meeting we pressed management on the finalization of the policy on downsizing which has been forthcoming for a very long time, we have received assurances that this policy will be issued by the first quarter of 2022.

Information about recently held Staff Management Committee Meeting, held in Bonn, Germany. – UNFSU


Looking forward we are continuing to press for the reform of the Field Service Category of staff, which the UN Secretary General has been tasked to undertake on multiple occasions over many years and which has yet to materialize.


When the UN International Civil Service Commission in its report of 2017, A/27/30 reaffirmed that the FS Category…” was indispensable for successful mandate implementation, institutional knowledge, skills and expertise to be immediately operational when required and to provide specialist support to deployed military and police personnel in peacekeeping missions, to ensure an international cadre of staff that was able to perform functions that required freedom of movement, impartiality and the handling of sensitive information, or functions that entailed risks to the United Nations and/or its local staff’. It offered a renewed impetus to work towards reforming this important category of staff that continues to form the backbone of operations in our field operations.


The People Strategy 2021-2025: Our Road Map for the Future | iSeek (un.org) that has recently been published by the Secretary General talks about inclusivity and enhanced engagement with staff, as UNFSU we shall look forward to strengthen our engagement with our staff in order to ensure that your voices are clearly communicated to senior management as the “People Strategy” is being developed for implementation, we will endeavor to ensure that the mantra of “leaving no one behind” will apply in particular for our field staff, who work, live and deliver the mandates of our organization often in very difficult environments and situations.


The UN Secretary General in his report “our common agenda” stated that We must think big. We need to reshape the foundations and reaffirm the core values that underpin collective action.


Calling for a “UN V2.0 we hope that the UN’s member states will be open to the kind of transformational change that is needed to reform the organization itself in relation to its antiquated personnel structures that do not offer easy career prospects and keeps in place artificial barriers between various categories of staff.


It is time for a UN V2.0 that offers a simple and unified personnel structure, one that recognizes and rewards talent internally and offers equal opportunities for external candidates too, a UN V2.0 needs to attract young talent in the field, where the current median age of staff lies in the mid to late 40’s!


The UNFSU will continue to advocate for meaningful and transformational change that aims to keep the UN fit for purpose.


We wish you all a peaceful and meaningful UN Day on this 76th birthday of the organization we work for in service to the world.


Leaving you with the beautiful words of the “Hymn to the United Nations” written by W.H. Auden.


Eagerly, musician.

Sweep your string,

So we may sing.

Elated, optative,

Our several voices


Playfully contending,

Not interfering

But co-inhering,

For all within

The cincture

of the sound,

Is holy ground

Where all are brothers,

None faceless Others,

et mortals beware

Of words, for

With words we lie,

Can say peace


When we mean war,

Foul thought speak- fair

And promise falsely,

But song is true:

Let music for peace

Be the paradigm,

For peace means to change At

the right time, as the World Clock

Goes Tick- and Tock.

So may the story

Of our human city

Presently move

Like music, when

Begotten notes

New notes beget

Making the flowing

Of time a growing

Till what it could be,

At last it is,

Where even sadness

Is a form of gladness,

Where fate is freedom

Grace and Surprise.


A nice video with the music to this hymn can be viewed here




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