FC 92/9

Finance Committee

Ninety-second Session

Rome, 3 - 7 May 1999

Annual Reports of the ICSC and UN Joint Staff Pension Board to the General Assembly, and Summary of the Decisions Taken

Table of Contents

1. A summary of the decisions of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) at its 53rd session (1998) with respect to the annual reports of the International Civil Service Commission (ICSC) and the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Board (UNJSPB) for 1998 and which have an impact on the conditions of service of staff is provided below. Financial implications of these decisions were previously reported to the Finance Committee at its ninetieth session in document FC 90/14.

I. International Civil Service Commission (ICSC)


2. The General Assembly reaffirmed its commitment to a single unified United Nations common system and reaffirmed the central role of the Commission in the regulation and co-ordination of conditions of service of the United Nations common system.


Noblemaire principle and its application

3. The General Assembly reconfirmed the continued application of the Noblemaire principle and reaffirmed the need to continue to ensure the competitiveness of the conditions of service of the common system. The UNGA took note of the ICSC's decision to suspend total compensation comparisons until 2001 and requested the Commission to undertake the next study to identify the highest paid national civil service in 2001 using the methodology endorsed by the GA in a manner consistent with the United States/United Nations total compensation comparison.

Evolution of the Margin

4. The UNGA noted that the margin between net remuneration of officials in the Professional and Higher categories of the United Nations in New York and that of officials in comparable positions in the United States federal civil service for 1998 was 114.8 as compared to 115.7 in 1997.

Base/floor salary scale

5. The UNGA approved with effect from 1 March 1999 the revised base scale of gross and net salaries for staff in the Professional and higher categories. The increase of 2.48 per cent is not intended to be an increase in the remuneration as the increase is to be offset by a corresponding decrease in the post adjustment classification world-wide. As a result net remuneration is estimated by the Commission to remain unchanged.

Common scale of staff of staff assessment

6. The General Assembly endorsed the Commission's view that the local practice approach to determining pensionable remuneration of the General Service and other locally recruited categories of staff should not be pursued further.

Dependency allowances

7. The GA recalled that the Commission would review the level of dependency allowances every two years, took note of the review by the Commission reflecting relevant changes in tax abatement and social legislation at the seven headquarters duty stations since 1996 and approved with effect from 1 January 1999 an increase of 14.6 per cent in the children's allowance (including that for disabled children) and in the secondary dependant's allowance. Note was taken of the updated list of hard-currency duty stations for which the allowances are specified in local currency and that dependency allowances payable to eligible common system staff should be reduced by the amount of any direct payments received from a Government in respect of dependants. The GA requested the Commission to undertake an examination of the methodology, rationale and scope of the allowances in the year 2000.

Post adjustment matters

8. The GA took note of the Commission's analysis regarding the operation of the post adjustment at the base of the system and requested the Commission to continue to explore the feasibility of using outside data sources for the next round of place-to-place surveys.

9. Recalling the establishment of a single post adjustment index in respect of staff members whose duty station is Geneva, the GA requested the Commission, in the context of its next round of place-to-place surveys, to conduct a comprehensive review of the post adjustment system as a whole with the view to its reform, keeping in mind the need for cohesion within the common system and to ensure that the post adjustment at each duty station with particular emphasis upon headquarters duty stations is fully representative of the cost of living of all staff members in the Professional and higher categories working at each duty station. Finally the GA requested the Commission to report thereon no later than the fifty-fifth session of the Assembly.


Education Grant

10. The UNGA recalled the revised methodology would be taken into account beginning with the 1998 biennial review of the education grant. It approved increases in the maximum reimbursement levels in seven currency areas as well as other adjustments to the reimbursement of expenses under the education grant and took note of the decision of the Commission to review the methodology in year 2001.

Standards of travel and per diem

11. The UNGA took note of the ICSC's decisions. These were that a) the supplemental DSA for higher-graded officials should be retained, b) the current DSA allowance system should be maintained c) the current DSA durations (after 30/60 day rate) should be maintained, d) the specific level of the lump-sum incentive rate for home leave travel should be determined by the organizations in accordance with their constitutional procedures. However, the amount paid under the lump-sum option should not exceed the amount the staff member would receive under the ticket option and e) for travel on home leave stopovers for journeys of more than 12 hours should only be maintained if staff members travelling with children under the age of 12 chose to have their tickets provided by the organization.

Hazard pay

12. The General Assembly reiterated its appreciation for the dedication of increasing numbers of staff of the United Nations common system who are required to work under dangerous conditions.

13. The GA decided in addition to expressing its appreciation to a) establish the amount for hazard pay for internationally recruited staff pragmatically. b) By taking into account adjustments to the base/floor salary including the recommended adjustment for 1999 the Commission arrived at a figure of $1000 taking effect 1 June 1998. c) The Commission also decided to extend the review period from two to three years. d) Moreover at the time of the next review in the year 2002 inflation rates at the seven headquarters duty stations in addition to salary levels would be used as a reference in establishing the amount and e) to note that in the event of evacuation of internationally recruited staff the particular condition of local staff should be taken into consideration.

II. United Nations Joint Staff Pension Board (UNJSPB)


In view of the improved actuarial situation of the Fund it was decided:

    1. to change the interest rate used to determine lump-sum commutations from 6.5% to 6.0% with respect to contributory service performed as from 1 January 2001, subject to a favourable actuarial valuation as at 31 December 1999.
    2. to review in 1999 and in 2000 in the light of the actuarial valuation as at 31 December 1999 the changes which have been made in the UN pension system since 1983 to redress the past actuarial deficit of the Fund.


14. Subject to a favourable actuarial valuation as at 31 December 1999 and confirmation by the Board in 2000, it was decided that the threshhold for implementing cost-of-living adjustments for pensions would be reduced from 3% to 2%, with effect from 1 April 2001.


15. It was decided that administrative costs of the Fund would be shared on the basis of one-third (U.N.) and two-thirds (UNJSPF), subject to review every six years.

16. The title of the Secretary of the Fund, as set out in Article 7 of the Fund's Regulations was amended to Executive Secretary and Chief Executive Office of the Fund and it was clarified that in the absence of the Chief Executive Officer the Deputy Executive Secretary of the Board would perform his functions.

Entitlement To Survivor's Benefits For Spouses And Former Spouses

17. The following amendments to UNJSPF Regulations and Rules were approved:

    1. Effective 1 April 1999, remarriage will no longer cause forfeiture of the right to a survivor's benefit.
    2. Subject to specified conditions, a divorced spouse may be eligible to receive a survivor's benefit (Effective date: 1 April 1999).
    3. A spouse married after separation from service may become entitled to an eventual survivor's benefit under certain conditions and if so elected by the beneficiary who would agree to a reduction in his/her benefit in order to finance the survivor's benefit (Effective date: 1 April 1999).
    4. Amended with effect from date of adoption by the General Assembly to provide for a payment facility in respect of former spouses, upon satisfactory evidence of a court order or settlement agreement incorporated into a court decree.
    5. amended to permit the disclosure of information in respect of a participant or beneficiary under certain conditions and in response to a court order or a request from a judicial or civil authority.


18. Amended with effect from the date of adoption by the General Assembly, in order to extend from 12 to 36 months (without a benefit having been paid) the maximum interruption in contributory service permissible to retain continuity of participation.

19. Amended to reflect the extension from 12 to 36 months the maximum permissible interruption in contributory service, without a benefit having been paid.