Monday, July 23, 2018

Internal (OIOS) governance audit: Time for UN Pension Board members to step up to ensure accountability, integrity and ethical values, 23 July 2018

At the upcoming meeting in Rome from 26 July to 3 August, UN Pension Board members will be chewing over the OIOS (UN Office of Internal Oversight Services) comprehensive governance audit called for by the General Assembly under para. 8 of its res. 72/262  (now in provisional format pending editing and publishing --see summary of some of the audit's findings below).

The members of various Board factions must dig deep, access their higher selves,  move beyond self interest,  and work toward unified positions that place the collective interests of members above their own self interest.  

It'll be a challenge, not least in considering the composition of the Board, which the audit notes needs to be “fair and equitable …to reflect the actual distribution of active participants in the Fund”. Currently the UN family has 68 per cent  of active participants and only 36 per cent of voting members, while other members including Specialized Agencies, have 32 per cent of active participants and 64 per cent of voting members.

The Specialized Agency representatives must consider that having a majority of voices and a minority of Fund members works against the overall interests of the Fund and rise above any tendency toward illogic in thinking of the audit as a plot to deprive them of their surfeit of seats and influence on the Board.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Highlights of today's pension briefing by the New York-based UN participant representatives to the UN Pension Board, 18 July 2018

Note that UN participant representatives represent active UN staff on the Pension Board. UN retirees have had no such briefing from FAFICS, our purported representatives to the Board, on policy positions they intend to take at the upcoming 65th session of the Pension Board in Rome (starting on 26 July)

Highlights from today’s pension briefing by the New York-based UN participant representatives to the Pension Board, 1.15 pm, ECOSOC Chamber

18 July 2018

Ibrahim Fay gave a summary of activities and outreach undertaken by the UN participant representatives in the past year, in keeping with their fiduciary responsibility to keep participants informed.

He noted that, in addition, several meetings had been held with the Deputy CEO of the Fund Secretariat to discuss the backlog, including sustainable means of addressing the increased number of separations; and with the Representative of the Secretary-General for Investments to discuss the Fund’s ESG (Environment, Social and Governance) policy, and other matters. 

UN participant representatives had participated in the Staff Pension Committee’s meetings on disability benefits and had requested that regular additional meetings be held to focus on governance matters. There are conflicting interests between UN family members and other members of the SPC and most of the backlog affected UN family members.

The issue of conflict of interest pertaining to two Fund staff members (himself and Ms. Rockcliffe) who had won their UN Administrative Tribunal cases was reopened, in order to have a more streamlined policy to manage the issue. The need to align Pension Board rules with GA-adopted regulations was also discussed.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Calling on FAFICS members: Vote for effective leaders, 17 July 2018

Open letter to FAFICS (Federation of Associations of Former International Civil Servants) and associate members

17 July 2018

Dear FAFICS members and associate members,

As you know, the AFICS/NY governing board has acceded to the FAFICS president’s request for support of her candidacy for the position of FAFICS vice president, in the upcoming election on 20 July 2018.  I am writing to request that you kindly consider the following information in casting your vote. 
You may recall the General Assembly’s request to the Secretary-General to entrust the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) with a comprehensive audit of the governance structure of the Pension Board (resolution 72/262, para. 8).
Among the audit’s findings are conflicts of interest between FAFICS representatives to the Board and the Fund management; a discrepancy (for the last two biennia) in the absorption by the Fund of the cost of six retiree representatives to attend each Board session instead of three as approved by the GA and the Board; the dissemination of erroneous information by the FAFICS president, including about the backlog in pension payments; electronic circulation to beneficiaries (including the vast majority who were not FAFICS members) by the Fund Secretariat of a letter from the FAFICS president of January 2018 that “gave the appearance of “collusion between FAFICS and the Fund’s Secretariat to challenge the authority of the Secretary-General and the General Assembly in governance matters of the Fund…”; and attendance of two retiree representatives to the meetings of Staff Pension Committees “which are essentially a forum for participants…. further increase[ing] the influence of FAFICS in the Fund’s governance structure.”   

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Wednesday, 18 July 2018, 1.15 to 2.30 pm
ECOSOC Chamber
"Dear Colleagues,
There will be an information session on Wednesday, 18 July 2018 for all current staff members and retirees of the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund (UNJSPF). The session will be held in the ECOSOC Chamber from 1:15 pm to 2:30 pm.
This is the fourth in a series intended to update and increase the knowledge of participants and retirees with regards to pension matters and how they affect them. It is also an opportunity for participants to question the two New York-based representatives on the United Nations Staff Pension Committee and be updated on preparations for the 65th Session of the Pension Board which starts on 26 July.
Preliminary agenda
Pension Board
Status Report – Last year in review
Items for the Agenda put forward by UNSPC participants’ representatives
Provisional/Partial payments to former participants
Composition of the Board
Retiree elections
Standing Committee
Q & A
Michelle Rockcliffe
Ibrahima Fay
UN participant representatives to the Pension Board"