STATEMENT DELIVERED AT SG's GLOBAL TOWN HALL MEETING

STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UN NAIROBI STAFF UNION AT THE INAUGURAL TOWN HALL MEETING CONVENED BY SG GUTERRES ON 9 JANUARY 2017 Mr. Secretary-General, Our organization subscribes to very noble core values. And we would like to pay sincere tribute to all colleagues around the world who work selflessly and diligently to uphold these values. Sadly though, for far too many members of staff at the Nairobi Duty Station, integrity, professionalism, respect for diversity, accountability and transparency are clichés that ring hollow. When some of those who lead us routinely get away with glaring acts of impunity, blatant disregard for laid down rules and regulations, open violation of staff rights and privileges, reckless abuse of authority, and endemic corruption, nepotism, racism, and cronyism, our belief in the cherished core values of our organization is severely tested. When senior managers who have been found culpable by OIOS investigations, and against whom serious disciplinary action has been recommended retain their positions and continue exercising power with even greater impunity and abandon, we have to admit that the system is sick and in desperate need of radical surgery. Mr. Secretary-General, over the past few years, a number of agencies, funds and programmes have undergone restructuring, reorganization, cost cutting and other measures which unfortunately, are largely perceived by staff members as no more than euphemisms for staff cut backs. Somehow, the job cuts almost exclusively target staff members at the bottom end of the food chain, namely, locally recruited staff and lower categories of internationally recruited staff. Sir, it is time to confront the painful reality that over the years, incompetent and irresponsible chief executives and senior managers have used the global economic downturn as an excuse to perpetuate their debilitating tenures, thereby inflicting severe long-term damage to their respective institutions and unduly derailing the careers of many dedicated and hard-working staff members. It is morally wrong for hard working General Service and lower level professional staff who have put in years of exemplary and dedicated service to lose their jobs, or suddenly find themselves subjected to dubious and perilous contractual arrangements, while those responsible for their predicament thrive. When an overwhelming number of staff who have, by virtue of hard work and dedication, earned the right to be granted continuing or even permanent contracts are instead forced to revert to three month contracts, there can no doubt that we have serious systemic failure. Sir, if at the end of your five year term, your record, God forbid, was to be one of consistently declining resource inflows, declining staff morale, declining donor confidence and a shrinking organizational portfolio, your tenure would justifiably be deemed to have been a dismal failure, whatever the mitigating circumstances might be. Why should the bar be any lower for members of your senior management? Mr. Secretary- General, we at the Nairobi Duty Station agree fully with you and have faith in the sincerity of your intent when you declare that our Organization must reform to remain relevant. You can count on our utmost goodwill and support. And we couldn’t wish for a better equipped leader for such a time as this. My earnest prayer for you sir, is that God would grant you good health, long life and the strength and courage to remain true to the core values of our organization. I thank you for your kind attention. James Ohayo - 9 January 2017.