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UN staff deserve better management systems, Deputy Secretary-General says

UN staff deserve better management systems, Deputy Secretary-General says

Louise Fréchette
Staff members of the United Nations deserve better management systems, Deputy Secretary-General Louise Fréchette said today, voicing hope that reform proposals aimed at improving the Organization will succeed in redressing problems faced by its personnel.

Addressing the International Women’s Forum in New York, Ms. Fréchette looked back over her pioneering career at the world body, which coincided with the establishment of her post, and declared that she will leave in two weeks “far more knowledgeable about the UN system’s complexities, strengths, and indeed weaknesses, than I was when I served here as Canada’s Permanent Representative.”

Drawing on her experience over the past eight years, she said UN staff “are often poorly served by inadequate management systems inside the Organization.”

The Deputy Secretary-General said recent initiatives by Secretary-General Kofi Annan should address this problem. “We are now in the midst of a management reform effort which I fervently hope will give staff the improved leadership, systems and conditions they so well deserve,” she said.

Earlier this month, responding to a request made by national leaders attending the 2005 World Summit at the UN, Mr. Annan put forward a wide-ranging set of proposals for overhauling the Organization’s management structure. Among other recommendations, the report calls for a revamped vision of how to recruit, contract, train, assign and compensate staff, with an emphasis on bringing conditions for field-based personnel up to par with those at other UN agencies operating away from Headquarters.

While the report identifies a number of areas of potential cost savings and efficiencies, the primary financial message is that it is time to reverse years of underinvestment in people, systems and information technology to address operational deficiencies and ensure that the UN can reach the level of effectiveness expected by Member States.