Background

An analysis of the treatment of UN personnel in the event of service-incurred injury, illness, death and disability represented the conclusive step of the three-year effort by the HLCM Steering Committee on Safety and Security, led by USG Susana Malcorra, to review and revise the UN security management system in response to the recommendations of the Report of the Independent Panel on Safety and Security (IPSS).

In response to the request by the Committee at its Spring 2010 session, the CEB Secretariat prepared a comprehensive “map” showing all current benefits, entitlements and insurance in the United Nations system related to service-incurred injury, illness, death and disability, including in the event of a malicious acts. The map covers all personnel categories: international staff; national and locally recruited staff; and international and locally recruited non-staff personnel.

A consultant funded from the HBP Plan of Action was also hired to identify the current gaps in coverage and make recommendations on how to address them. The HR Network spokesperson introduced the recommendations included in the comprehensive report prepared by the consultant (CEB/2010/HLCM/21 and Add.1), and provided an assessment with respect to the current situation as outlined in the “map”.

Discussion

HLCM members expressed appreciation for the comprehensive work undertaken, underlining how decisions on this subject would have far reaching implications.  Specifically, an in-depth analysis of the issue of “non-staff”, with respect to definitions, statistics, principles and policies regarding organizations’ responsibilities and liabilities, as well as detailed financial implications of any proposed scenarios, was considered necessary before proceeding further on this matter.

Action

The Committee:

Re-affirmed its strong commitment to the safety and security of all personnel working under the flag of the United Nations.

Acknowledged that, in the past three years, HLCM and CEB had considered and adopted a number of new mechanisms, procedures and tools which, all together, represent a major step forward towards the re-design and strengthening of a UN Security Management System that responds to the changed, increased challenges of UN system operations.

Recognized with great appreciation the fundamental role in this work of the HLCM Steering Committee on Safety and Security, of its Chair, USG Susana Malcorra, and of all the stakeholders engaged in such process, particularly UN/DSS.

Decided that the HLCM Steering Committee on Safety and Security would cease to continue. In the future, the Steering Committee could be reconvened on a strictly ad-hoc basis, if circumstances require.

Expressed appreciation to the HR Network for the considerable amount of work carried out and requested the Network to undertake an in-depth analysis of the subject of “non-staff” personnel, with respect to definitions, statistics, principles and policies regarding organizations’ responsibilities and liabilities, in consultation with the Legal Network, and to subsequently develop proposals with alternative scenarios and detailed financial implications, including options for cost-sharing between the organization and the employee, in consultation with the FB Network.

Endorsed the submission for approval by the General Assembly of the proposed measures for improvement of the Appendix D scheme, as reflected below, and subject to final refinements following consultations among the organizations impacted by the measures :

  • To increase the spouse benefit from 40% to 50% of a staff member’s pensionable remuneration; and, to increase the maximum benefit in the case of dependent children to 75% of staff‘s member‘s pensionable remuneration (Recommendation 4 (a);
  • To update the permanent disability lump sum benefits to align with the individual staff member’s pensionable remuneration with maximum P4-VI and minimum GS.2; (Recommendation 4 (b);
  • The MAIP should continue to provide separate coverage from Appendix D (Recommendation 4 (c);
  • Appendix D should be applicable only to UN organizations’ staff members governed by the UN Staff Rules (Recommendation 4 (d);
  • Appendix D rules should include a more specific definition of what circumstances and injuries are covered or excluded (Recommendation 4 (e);
  • The revised compensation framework should provide for enhanced communication and training of benefits and procedures to staff and managers (Recommendation 4 (f);
  • The United Nations should explore commercial insurance mechanisms (stop loss insurances) to mitigate the risk of a catastrophic loss (Recommendation 4 (g);
  • The revised Appendix D should provide for the conversion of periodic payments under a certain limit into a lump sum. It should also include provisions for expediting the handling of claims for catastrophic events, including advance payments (Recommendation 4 (h).

Agreed to move forward with the following recommendations which did not entail cost implications:

  • Recommendation 2:  That the existing education grant provided to eligible staff members be extended until the end of the current school year enrolment for dependent children upon the death of the staff member.  This would harmonize practices in all UN organizations.
  • Recommendation 6(a):  That in cases of delay in processing payments under Appendix D of the UN Staff Regulations and Rules, organizations provide interim advance compensation payments to affected staff and their families such as a three months salary advance to be recovered from the insurance compensation.
  • Recommendation 6(b):  That organizations establish a coordinated focal contact within their organization to provide staff and their families affected by malicious acts, natural disasters and other emergencies with relevant information, advice and compensation and to assist them in filing and tracking their compensation claims.