Response to the Annual Report on the Implementation of the OSCE Recruitment Policies Presented by the Secretary General

As delivered by Ambassador Ian Kelly
to the Permanent Council, Vienna
June 7, 2012

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I would like to thank the Secretary General for his presentation on the implementation of OSCE recruitment policies in 2011.

The United States continues to be a strong supporter of a transparent, merit-based, and unbiased recruitment policy.  Attracting the best candidates for the Organization must be a priority.  The large number of applications in 2011 for OSCE positions, particularly with regard to contracted posts, testifies to the attractiveness of the organization as a prospective employer.

The United States is proud that so many Americans work for the OSCE, as both contracted and seconded personnel, providing approximately 13% of the Organization’s international staff and mission members in 2011.

We pay special attention to the personnel needs of the OSCE.  In particular, we strive to provide highly-qualified secondees for specialized positions.   For example, in 2011 and into 2012 we have maintained six seconded police officers to the Community Security Initiative in Kyrgyzstan.   Here in the Secretariat, we have seconded experts on terrorism, police matters, border management, economic issues, and human trafficking.  And we believe that our Heads of Mission and Deputy Heads of Mission are providing expert guidance to their posts in the Balkans, Eastern Europe, and the Caucasus.

We note that the number of nominations for seconded positions remains relatively low and we are concerned that as seconding states are required to reduce expenditures as a result of ongoing budgetary constraints the number of nominations may dip even further.  If participating States are not able to support the required number of secondees, we will need to look at reducing the scope of the OSCE’s work to match the resources contributed.

The United States also takes seriously the need to promote gender balance within the OSCE.  It is disappointing that very little progress has been made in this regard. Only two of ten high-level positions filled in 2011 were filled by women, and only six out of 40 Heads of Institutions, Directors, Heads and Deputy Heads of Missions were women at the end of 2011.  We stand ready to work with the Secretariat to improve recruitment and retention policies to attract more highly-qualified women.

At present, women comprise nearly half – 45% – of the total number of United States citizens working at the OSCE.  We urge all participating States to make gender balance a top priority for their OSCE secondment and personnel policies.

Finally, I would like to commend the Secretary General, the Director of Human Resources and his staff for keeping recruitment costs in check and for working to enhance succession planning.  Attention to these and other details will help to ensure that we have the resources and people in place to carry out the vital work of the organization.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.