FC 95/16

Finance Committee

Ninety-fifth Session

Rome, 25 - 29 September 2000

Proposal for Additional Staffing Information


1. The representative of Switzerland on the Finance Committee has requested through the Chairperson that an item providing additional staffing information be included on the agenda of the Finance Committee. The request proposes that this information be provided in a format similar to that used in a document (WFP/EB.A/2000/7-B) recently submitted to the WFP Executive Board. As this document is quite voluminous, it has not been reproduced here, however, copies will be made available in the meeting room. In addition, the document may be obtained in the various languages from the WFP web site at the following addresses:





2. It is recalled that the FAO secretariat routinely provides an annual report on Statistics of Personnel Services to the Finance Committee at its September session (this year the report is provided under Agenda Item 15). The format of this document has been developed over a period of several years in response to the questions and comments of the Finance Committee. The tables and charts included provide substantial and detailed statistical information on the staffing situation in FAO.

3. It is noted that the WFP document contains a considerable level of detail on the organizational location, grade level and nationality of individual staff members, as well as on the overall geographical distribution of staff. Similar information for FAO is already available to Member States from other sources, such as the FAO Telephone Directory (for the office location of staff) and the monthly Geographic Distribution Report (for summary information on the nationality composition of the secretariat). In addition, the Director-General has recently (April 2000) issued instructions that henceforth the Programme of Work and Budget document should include a table providing the numbers of staff members in the professional and higher categories subject to the geographic distribution, broken down by nationality, grade and gender.

4. It is recalled, however, that the Organization has had a long-standing policy regarding the confidentiality of personal information on individual staff members. Under that policy the information on grade level and nationality of specific staff members (such as that shown in the WFP list) are not presently released by the Organization. The Organization, although open to initiatives ensuring greater transparency, must also recognize its responsibility to respect the privacy of staff members and to exercise prudence in the release of personal information. The existing policy may be summarized as follows:

  1. The Organization provides general staffing information on the entire establishment, such as the numbers of professional and general service staff, including location of assignment, entitlement category, grade, source of funds and gender.

  2. The Organization does not provide information of a personal nature on individual staff members, such as type of appointment, date of entry on duty, expiry date of appointment, birth date, salary and marital status.

  3. With regard to geographic distribution, the Organization provides the numbers of staff by nationality, grade and gender.

    1. To a requesting Member State, the Organization provides a listing of the names, titles and grades of the nationals of that State only.
    2. By corollary, the Organization does not provide such information on the nationals of one Member State to another Member State.
  4. Exceptionally, personal information on individual staff members may be provided, if the staff members concerned have been informed of the source of the request for the information and have given their consent for its release.

5. While this policy is consistent with the concerns increasingly expressed world wide and at national level on personal privacy, it is true that other UN agencies may not have adopted such rigorous guidelines in this regard (a brief summary of the practices of other organizations is provided in the Annex). In addition, however, to the privacy issue, it must be recalled that in these uncertain times the personal security of staff of the UN system is often at risk (and that nationals of some Member States may be at greater risk than others). In this connection it is recalled that all Finance Committee documents are made freely available on the FAO web site and may be accessed by anyone with an Internet connection.

6. In light of the above discussion, the secretariat would need the guidance of the Conference, should this policy have to be changed and consequently reflected in the future presentation of the document on Statistics of Personnel Services.


Review of UN practices regarding disclosure of data on staff members to Member States 1/











1   Unless otherwise indicated, the information provided by these organizations is not made available on the Internet. Further, only those data indicated are provided, e.g. organizations do not typically provide information on the age of staff members.