Saturday, October 20, 2018

Six "Pinnochios" for the FAFICS President, 20 October 2018


Respect for facts is a prerequisite for any constructive "dialogue." There are numerous examples in Marco Breschi's dismal response to Lowell Flanders that demonstrate the consistent FAFICS approach of "Truth is not truth", i.e., the Pinnochio effect.

To demonstrate, here are six "Pinnochios" identified in his letter and factual responses for each (ref. OIOS governance audit A/73/341.

Pinnochio 1: “I clearly stated that out of 13 provisional audit recommendations, FAFICS supported in varying degrees 7 while rejecting 6. No antagonism on our part.”

Fact: On the claim of “no antagonism”, FAFICS joined “The great majority of Board members [in expressing] serious concern regarding the process by which OIOS had conducted the audit, which many viewed as being flawed and unprofessional”, including claiming that the audit was "not based on fully verified facts" while, OIOS notes, "provid[ing] no evidence of factual inaccuracies." (Para. 88, table 3).

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Pension Fund Information Meeting, 2 October 2018


Sent: Tuesday, 02 October, 2018 3:10 PM
Subject: Your Pension Fund - What's happening now, what future does it have?
Importance: High
Dear Colleagues,
We would like to invite you to an information meeting on the Pension Fund, this Wednesday, 3rd October 2018 from 1:15
pm to 2:30 pm in Conference Room 12. Retirees and delegates are also welcome.
At the session we will discuss the strongly critical OIOS audit of the Board of the Pension Fund (, which highlighted conflicts of interest, lack of representation, and a poor performance culture, and the implications this has on the future sustainability of the Fund. We will also discuss our concerns with how the Fund is being run outside its own regulations and rules.
This is an opportunity for you to learn what is happening at your Fund and ask questions to three of your representatives on the Pension Board.
Come and hear what happened at the 65th Session of the Board and what we hope will be accomplished over the next few months.
The agenda is below:
Remarks on the Report of the Pension Board 65th session
OIOS Governance Audit Report - highlights
Pension Fund Regulations and Rules - change alert!
Q & A
Panel members:
Ms. Patricia Nemeth (Moderator), 1st Vice President, UN Staff Union-NY
Ms. Michelle Rockcliffe, Participant Representative, United Nations Staff Pension Committee, (also Staff Council Member, Staff Union)
Mr. Ian Richards, Participant Representative, United Nations Staff Pension Committee, (also President of CCISUA and UNOG Staff Coordinating Council)
Mr. Ibrahima Faye, Participant Representative, United Nations Staff Pension Committee, UNSPC Vice Chair, (also Staff Council Member, UN Staff Union-NY)
Ms. Lorraine Rickard-Martin (Guest speaker), UN Retiree (Consultant on International Sanctions and Former Sr. Political Affairs Officer for the Security Council, DPA)
Mr. Aitor Arauz Chapman (Rapporteur), Secretary, UN Staff Union-NY
We kindly request that any technical questions you may have be emailed to:, and However, this is not a requirement.
We look forward to your participation and thank you for your kind attention to this matter.
Patricia Nemeth
1st Vice President
United Nations Staff Union"

Friday, September 21, 2018

Smoke and mirrors in the UN Pension Board's communique, 21 September 2018

After roundly rebuking the UN Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) and rejecting its findings and recommendations in July, the UN Pension Board has put its efforts in full swing to discredit OIOS and its governance audit (requested by the General Assembly) along with any publicity about its own dysfunction.

First the Chair of the Board, John Levins (WFP), joined in August with UN officials from management, human resources and legal, to block the UN participant representatives to the Board from disseminating information to their 85,000 constituents about the Board meeting through the UN internal broadcast system.

Now the Chair and his cohorts have taken the unusual step of publishing a communiqué that elevates the art of smoke and mirrors, being much more notable for information it omits than for what it includes.

Readers will be none the wiser that the Board did not even consider three prior audits by OIOS (on the pension payment backlog; implementation of the troubled IT system; or irregularities in procurement management), because it’s audit committee didn’t submit them for consideration.

Pension Board communique, 21 September 2018

1. It has not been normal practice for the Pension Board to issue a Communique at the conclusion of its annual session. However, with information on matters considered by the Board not being generally available until the release of the Sessional Report and the Report to the General Assembly, some two months after the Board, and the need of Board Members to report to their constituents in a timely manner, this Communique is being issued.

2. The 65th meeting of the UN Joint Staff Pension Board (the Board) took place at the premises of the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in Rome, Italy, from 26 July through 3 August 2018.

3. MATURITY: The Fund was established almost 70 years ago and presented its first financial statements in 1949. It has all the features of a mature defined benefit plan. The Board is confident that the Fund is actuarially and financially sound. The current strong situation is due largely to the initiatives developed by the Board’s 2013 Working Group on sustainability, endorsed by the Board and approved by the General Assembly, together with prudent management practices of the past.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Passblue: The UN Pension Board Rejects An Audit of Its Work

"The United Nations Pension Board’s recent meeting in Rome ended with a record number of disagreements and much acrimony. The chief cause of distress was the results of the internal governance audit requested last December by the General Assembly.
At the meeting, held July 29 to Aug. 3, board members directed much of their angst against recommendations to adjust the makeup of the board of the $65 billion fund to comply with General Assembly resolutions. The resolutions called for fairer and more equitable representation of member organizations, given that the UN secretariat, funds and programs control only a third of board seats despite accounting for two-thirds of pension fund members...."

Thursday, August 23, 2018

UN Pension Board Chair: Lacking an "appropriate tone of integrity and ethical values", 23 August 2018

Pension Board Chair: "Our Fund is under attack from without from, frankly, nutcases.....".

Or how not to "set the appropriate tone with regard to integrity and ethical values" as called for by the OIOS governance audit of the Pension Board under GA resolution 72/265.

This is the Pension Board that, under this Chair's leadership, decided to "refer OIOS to the UN’s Independent Audit Advisory Committee on apparent grounds of unprofessionalism", a decision about which the UN participant representatives noted in their 14 August 2018 message:

"We felt OIOS had carried out its work correctly as per the mandate assigned to it by the General Assembly. We did not believe that the Fund should engage in a political campaign against OIOS nor take measures to undermine its authority."

UNJSPF: Broadcast to WFP staff from the Chair of the UN Joint Staff Pension Board, John Martin Levins, WFP
Quote “Our Fund is also under attack from without from, frankly, nutcases, who intend for their own twisted purposes to create a narrative of a “Fund in crisis”. Unfortunately, it is also under attack from the inside by similar people in cahoots with the external nutters. The Fund is not perfect. It can improve many things just like WFP can; I will be making sure it does. If you hear a different narrative, please be skeptical. Ignore the haters. Check in with me.”

Monday, August 20, 2018

What the UN participant representatives did to defend your interests at the Pension Board, 20 August 2018

Message from UN participant representatives to the Pension Board (scroll down for the French version)

What the UN participant representatives did to defend your interests at the 65th session of the Pension Board

14 August 2018

Dear UN Family Colleagues,

The Pension Board met from 26 July to 3 August in Rome. This was the first meeting since action was taken by us last year to prevent the full extension of the CEO’s contract. At the same time, the Deputy CEO announced he would not seek a second term. 

Our campaign to reform the Fund is slowly bearing fruit and we acknowledge the efforts of the Secretary-General’s representatives to the Board for trying to build a consensus for change, as well as the appointment of a new head of investments. However, our work is still in progress. So while important decisions were taken by the Board, we do not believe all of them will benefit the current and future beneficiaries of the Fund. For this we made sure to put our disagreement with those decisions on record; our positions are explained below.