Sunday, 11 January 2009

UN-DESA fails to implement mobility, while 70% of its Managerial force is expected to retire - there is a total lack of succession planning

Our dear leader Ban Ki-moon in his address to General Assembly on September 23, 2008, said:

In closing, let me briefly return to the theme of my address to you last year – a stronger UN for a better world. The foundation of all our work is accountability. The UN Secretariat, including myself, is accountable to you, the Member States. And that is why I push so hard, so strongly for UN reform.

We need to change the UN culture. We need to become faster, more flexible and more effective and more modern. In the coming weeks, I will ask you, the Member States, to support my proposals for a new human resources framework. We need to replace our current system of contracts and conditions of service. It is dysfunctional. It is demoralizing. It discourages mobility between UN departments and the field. It promotes stagnation, rather than creativity. It undercuts our most precious resource – the global, dedicated corps of international civil servants that is the backbone of the United Nations.

But at United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), our management composed by:

  • USG- Sha Zukang - Arm Expert;
  • ASG- Jomo Kwame Sundaram - the only Economist;
  • ASG- Thomas Stelzer - former President of Klangforum Wien, a leading ensemble for contemporary classical music;
have still to initiate an internal assessment and implementation of Ban's plans.

All these three gentlemen have been on the job at minimum one year (Stelzer - Feb 08). They need to initiate immediately an assessment of the age structure of the staff across in DESA, to assess the overall dimensions of the average ageing of staff and its impact on human resources management policies, including succession planning, and its financial implications, with a special emphasis on the Professional staff.

All the reports that come from Catherine Pelluso's office provide only general statistics on gender, geographical distribution and the basic demographic profile of staff. Most reports do not pay sufficient attention to age-related issues, lack analytical details about the consequences of the existing age structure, and do not call the attention of Senior Management in DESA and OHRM at Secretariat to the likely impact of the age structure. Often these reports are submitted either for the purposes of "information" or "taking note of" and rarely contain proposals to address age-related issues which are about to engulf Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA).

Both Catherine Pelluso and TCMS's Marie Oveissi are totally ignorant of what a Succession planning tool mean and how that affect the work of the department. For Pelluso and the entire Executive Office at DESA, "succession planning" is done as part of vacancy management, and in most cases it does not go beyond filling vacancies. Instead Sha Zukang should invest in a professional Human Resource Specialist within Executive Office - who should follow professionally the HR strategies and age structure of DESA against the particular mandate and objectives to be accomplished our Department.

Good and fresh example is that of Director of DPADM - instead of being prepared for Guido Bertucci's retirement (and failing to collect the $34,000 as established by OIOS Investigation and requested by Ban Ki-moon), DESA's EO failed to have in place a succession plan and thus being ready to replace both Bertucci (D2) and Khan(D1) right after their departure in July 2008. The lack of such detailed planning led to a leadership gap and a total chaos for the work of the division for the past nine months.

Lack of a coherent HR planning in DESA leads to major implications for a real succession and in endless process of replacing those who retire. While many now believe that such practices are "man maid" - whereby corrupt managers make "deals" with Executive Office (EO) in order to either remain in their positions post-retirement date, or micro-manage the vacancy and replacement process to ensure "continuity".

We will continue to talk about these problems..........

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The case of the missing ASGs in DESA.

Has anyone ever wondered where DESA's ASGs can be found? They are perpetually traveling. ASG Stelzer is still based in Vienna for all intents and purposes. This violates Staff Rules big time.

So if anyone wonders why there is no management reform in DESA, please ask first if there is anyone in town to actually manage?

Hello? Anybody home?