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A statement by FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva
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10 July 2014

Sixty-first session of the United Nations
 Joint Staff Pension Board


Mr. Chairperson,

Members of the Pension Board,

Secretary of the Pension Fund,

Colleagues, Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a great pleasure to welcome you to FAO and to Rome.

Six years ago, the Board had its last meeting here, in July 2008. Two months after the meeting, Lehman Brothers declared bankruptcy and the world financial crisis began.

I have to say that it didn’t stop since then.

We had six turbulent years for national economies as well as for the UN System.

Fortunately, due to its management conduct, the Fund has not been affected by the crisis, but needed to address its consequences of that crisis.

So after a hard work by many of those in this room, we appreciate the stability that the pension system brings to the lives of serving staff and retirees.

It is important nevertheless to remain vigilant. The history of 2008 is there to remind us.

Bearing in mind this need for keeping stability on the track, we have transformed also FAO into a more focused and results-oriented organization, constantly working to make FAO even more dynamic and less bureaucratic.

 All of the institutions of the UN System are seeking to do the same, and I welcome initiatives by the Board and the Fund in this direction.

I am aware that the review of the compensation package by the International Civil Service Commission is a major focus at present, but I have to say that your work is also important for the well-being and credibility of the UN System.

Over the years, the structure of the Pension Board has contributed to its good reputation.

The active engagement of Governing Bodies, from administrations, and participants in service is a cornerstone to build consensus and to put forward recommendations supported by the General Assembly.

Many actors have contributed to the efficient working of the UN pension system.

I would like to acknowledge the Fund’s Secretariat, under the Secretary-General, for the investment of the Fund.

I also want to appreciate the day-to-day work of the Secretaries of the Staff Pension Committees of the individual organizations of the system, many of whom are here today.

I wish you all a successful meeting, and a good stay in Rome.

Thank you for this opportunity.