Item 12.4: Human Resources


I speak on behalf of the Nordic countries Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden.

The interim annual report outlines the challenges in geographical representation, distribution of staff by sex and age as well as levels of mobility. All of these are areas that need attention. In order to achieve the overall reform objectives, WHO needs a workforce with more flexibility and mobility, high levels of performance and training and a readiness to take on new professional challenges. Human resources is an essential component in achieving WHO reform.

Furthermore as regards the annual report we note with concern the risk of large endemnities when the Global Polio Initiative expires in 2019 and we ask the Secretariat to report back to the WHA in May about the possible consequences and measures taken with a view to a full discussion on this.

The Nordic countries welcome the revised Human Resources Strategy.

We especially note the strengthened focus on improving country level performance, the new types of appointments, the aligned and shorter recruitment process, the basic assumption that every staff member is expected to be mobile and the new systematic approach to working with performance management. As regards this we have a few questionsthat we raised at PBAC and would like to remind of: How fast can we expect to see a change as regards geographical origin in the different regions so that WHO becomes an international and not a regional organization? We would also like to know how the performance management system is used. What percentage received “exceeds expectation” and is the performance management applied for regional directors and ADGs?

As regards the part “enabling working environment” in the strategy, this is a key enabler in the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women and men with children. Facilitating policies should not only entail “flexi time” and “tele working” but also other family friendly measures such as paid sick leave for staff when their children are ill could be developed. The WHO could, in order to be perceived as an attractive workplace and as the guardian of health, be at the forefront of this in the UN system.

As the secretariat points out, the human resources function, management and staff must work jointly to implement this new culture of human resources management. We ask the secretariat to speedily put the strategy into practice.

There are several risks to a successful implementation.Ultimately the success of implementation is dependent on predictable and sustainable funding for WHO in order to ensure a long term holistic management. We therefore look forward to sustained commitment from all relevant stakeholders and to continued dialogue and information on the implementation and progress of Human Resources-reform as we go ahead.

Thank you.