Message from the Executive Secretary : January 2018

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Message from the Executive Secretary : January 2018

Category : Archives

From the Executive Secretary of the Bureau of the Former Officials Section

Dear friends,

None of us these days can say that the years go by like a smooth stretch of highway. That may have been the case a few decades back, when the future of the planet seemed rosier than it does today. International organizations now face all sorts of constraints and pressures both from their constituents and from politicians. The watchwords now are effectiveness, efficiency, cost reduction, performance improvement, outcomes. And the ILO is not immune.

One of our constant concerns is the operation and maintenance of the health fund (SHIF). This is a subject that features on the agenda of every fortnightly meeting of our Bureau. There is much to worry about, like the risk that the administration of benefits may be outsourced, or that retirees may be transferred to national social protection schemes – even though we are all too aware how many countries do not even have one. We are committed to improving the governance and management of our fund; probably by the time you read this editorial you will have been informed via the SHIF Newsletter of the improvements in progress.

The United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund is also experiencing turbulence, not just for financial or efficiency reasons but rather because of internal problems that do little to foster a calm working climate. The UNJSPF has introduced a new integrated IT system and in many cases new pensioners had to wait months before their first payment. (We should mention that payments to existing retirees have not been affected.)

The Bureau of the Former Officials Section has continued its activity of bringing people together and communicating with retired staff. The section’s website ( is regularly updated to provide information that concerns you directly as well as about the ILO and its staff’s concerns and interests, which often coincide with those of retirees. We are investing a lot of time to keep the site lively and up to date. But that does not mean neglecting your favourite publication Message, which also takes work and effort. Thanks are due to our contributors; we are always looking for volunteers to help with translations or proofreading, or to write articles and background material.

This spring, the Bureau of the Former Officials Section met the Director General, Mr Guy Ryder. Our report features both in this issue and on the website. I mention this meeting because it indicates recognition of the position of retired staff within the Organization, and we thank the management for that. The two annual receptions held at the invitation of the DG are also a clear sign of appreciation for those who wrote the history of the ILO. This is why the Organization’s Centenary in 2019 will be a year when retirees must be present. We have some projects that have already been raised at the meeting with the DG but now we have to enter into a more pragmatic approach together with the management.

The Bureau of the Former Officials Section participates in the annual Pre-retirement Seminar and we take the opportunity it offers to establish personalized contacts. We work with the retiree associations of other international organizations in Geneva, including the ITU, the UN and the WHO. We are currently preparing a joint seminar on the theme on “Stay younger for longer”. This half-day event is aimed at those residing in the Geneva region, but you will all be kept informed of the results.

The Section re-elected its Bureau at the end of 2017. We thank those who have joined the Section and who voted; but it is never too late to join us even if you have been retired for many years. The more of us there are, the stronger we will be to defend your interests.

François Kientzler
Executive Secretary
Bureau of the Former Officials Section

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