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Category : News

Extract from the letter received on March 12, 2024, following our letter to Mr. Hao Bin, Deputy Director in charge of Internal Services and the meeting with Ms. Danielle Guiho, Director of Human Resources on February 20 of a delegation from the Bureau of the Section.

Please take good note of it and kindly comply with these instructions.

“With regard to the policy for managing access to the ILO’s Geneva headquarters and field offices for the persons mentioned above, please take note of the following provisions:

  1. Retired ILO colleagues with badges may enter the building without further formalities. Those who do not have a badge must go to the Accreditation Office to obtain a << courtesy retired badge >> in accordance with the usual procedure.
  2. Retired colleagues from other International Agencies and Organisations who are in possession of an access badge with a photo of their Organisation will be granted access on a reciprocal basis, as was the case before the pandemic.
  3. Recognised dependants of ILO pensioners will also be granted access to the building on presentation of their CAPS card and an identity document at the R2 North reception desk, and will then receive a visitor’s badge for the duration of their visit.
  4. If you would like to drop off CAPS documents, please note that there is a letterbox in the PI car park for this purpose. Although pensioners and recognised dependants have access to the building, we recommend that you make an appointment in advance for any consultations with CAPS colleagues.
  5. Dependents of retirees from other International Agencies or Organizations will only be granted access to the building upon invitation by an ILO staff member in accordance with visitor access procedures. All requests for visitor access must be sent at least 24 hours in advance by an ILO Geneva staff member to For visits involving more than five people and/or more than five days, a request for a meeting badge must be sent to at least five working days in advance.
  6. We would be grateful if you could advise your members, for their comfort and in order to give priority to our constituents, to avoid visits to the building during busy periods such as the Governing Body, the International Labour Conference and sectoral meetings.
  7. As regards access to ILO field offices, access procedures defined in advance by UNDSS for each country and adapted to the level of risk are often applied, particularly if the ILO shares offices with other UN agencies. Retired colleagues can always contact the relevant ILO field office to obtain an access badge if this is the case in the country, or to find out about the access procedure in force”.

Extract from the letter received from the Director of Human Resources on 12 March 2024.


Category : News

A delegation from Our Section met with Ms Guiho, Director of Human Resources, ILO, at her office at headquarters on Tuesday 20 February at 4pm.

The delegation consisted of the following members: François Kientzler, Executive Secretary; Catherine Comte-Tiberghien, Deputy Executive Secretary; Abdoulaye Diallo, Deputy Executive Secretary; Simar Proust, Secretary; Peter Wichmand, Treasurer.

At the begining of the meeting, the members of the delegation quickly introduced themselves individually. François Kientzler then presented the Section and its activities, highlighting the following aspects:

– The Section was set up some forty years ago, and is part of the ILO Staff Union under Annex IV of the Union’s Statutes.

– The Section provides a social link between former and working staff and its mission is to strengthen these links, to inform, to communicate and to respond to the specific requests of former staff by various means, such as e-mail, post and many others.

– Every year, the Section publishes a magazine called “Message”, which is sent by post to all retirees, whether or not they are members of the Section.

– A website, hosted outside the ILO, strengthens the Section’s communication, disseminates information of interest to members (800 retirees) and ensures a lively link with the ILO.

The Section organises one meeting a year on issues of interest to both working and retired members. For example, the most recent meeting dealt with two key subjects: the health fund and the latest developments in this area, and the digital certificate to facilitate pensioner access to pensions.

The meeting planned for this year could take place around Senior Citizens’ Day on 1 October, and activities are being considered to highlight the importance of intergenerational links.

With regard to the annual retirees’ reception organised by the Administration, the Section expressed the strong wish that it be held on a date that would allow the Director General to be present among the retirees.

François also highlighted the work of the Section with other associations of retirees from the UN system, such as AAFI-AFICS, whose Board has representatives at FAFICS, the only association entitled to have a seat in New York.

The Section also runs an Arts Circle, which organises exhibitions in the Colonnades area of the head office.

As for the Section’s areas of interest, François mentions health and welfare issues, the CAPS, whose Management Committee has a balance between active and retired members. He also mentioned the UN Pension Fund, on whose Secretariat the Section have  an observer status.

François then raised a number of specific points for discussion with the Director:

– Access to the ILO and access to ILO buildings for retirees in the field. He expressed the wish that a badge be given to each ILO retiree.

– He also expressed the wish that the organisation of the pre-retirement seminar be revisited in order to reach a wider audience.

– Finally, François expressed the Section’s willingness to work with the Administration to ensure that the culture and history of the ILO are maintained and passed on.

After this presentation, Ms Guiho welcomed the members of the Section and expressed her interest in the activities carried out by the Section and the importance of the links between active and former members.

In response to the request concerning badges, Ms Guiho promised to look into the matter in all its aspects.

With regard to the pre-retirement seminar, she pointed out that the seminar documents were placed jointly (UNOG/ILO) on the website for consultation, three weeks before the seminar took place, and considered that this organisational model remained valid.

She suggested that a brochure on the Alumni Section be prepared and distributed with the documents to future retirees.

She also said that she was very interested in the idea of retirees being prepared to work together to maintain the culture and history of the ILO among working people, particularly young working people.

She found the idea of an intergenerational workshop/exchange very interesting and promised to look into the matter with her team with a view to organising an event along these lines.

After this rich and promising exchange, the meeting came to an end and the representatives of the Alumni Section left the office of the Director of Human Resources, with a view to keeping in touch to follow up on issues of interest.


Category : News

On Friday 16 January 2024, the Section of the ILO Former Officials took the opportunity of the General Assembly (1st session) of the ILO Staff Union, to meet the elected titulars of the regions and the Turin Centre.

As you know, the Section welcomes all retired ILO officials, whether they worked at headquarters or in the field, as members in exchange for a small membership fee (Membership form). The Section has around 800 members, most of whom are based in Geneva or Europe.

As we are keen to encourage our former colleagues in the regions to become members in order to benefit, even from afar, from all the services and support offered by the Section, it was important for the Section to meet with the regional  titulars in order to take stock with them of the situation of ILO retirees in their respective regions and to discuss more specific current problems.

First of all, the Section wanted to review with them whether or not access to ILO premises in the various countries was being facilitated for retirees.   In this respect, the Section would like to see all ILO retirees treated equally as regards access to ILO premises. The Section is in talks with the administration to ensure that, as is the case at Headquarters in Geneva, all retirees can, at their request, obtain a specific badge (courtesy retiree) to access to the ILO premises.

The Section also wanted to know the nature and quantity of the ILO’s network of associations of retirees throughout the world (official or unofficial) in order to list them and include them on its website, so as to encourage new retirees to get in touch with them.

The Section also wishes to inform its retired members in the various countries that, in the absence of specific ILO groups, they have the possibility of joining Associations of the United Nations System generally known as AFICS and of which the umbrella Federation, FAFICS, maintains an up-to-date list on its site. (FAFICS_Member_Associations_E)

The Section will also be taking advantage of the redesign of its website to expand the information on the regions, but to do this, it also needs contacts on the ground who are willing to provide this information. We are therefore counting on all our members in the regions to ensure that the activities of ILO retirees around the world are better represented.

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The new Bureau 2024-2026 of the Section of ILO former Officials

Category : News

After several complicated years, generated by the COVID-19 pandemic and during which the Section operated with a reduced Board and without being able to hold proper elections, the return to normality is very welcome.

Proper elections have been held and we are pleased to introduce the new members elected for the 2024-2026 term of office:

  • Alejandro Bonilla Garcia
  • Catherine Comte-Tiberghien
  • Abdoulaye Diallo
  • François Kientzler
  • Simar Proust
  • Jean-Francois Santarelli
  • Pierre Sayour
  • Cherry Thompson-Senior
  • Peter Wichmand

The Board met for the first time on Tuesday 16 January to allocate the following executive functions:

Executive Secretary : François Kientzler
Deputy Executive Secretaries : Catherine Comte-Tiberghien, Abdoulaye Diallo
Treasurer : Peter Wichmand
Deputy Treasurer : Cherry Thompson Senior
Secretary : Simar Proust
Honorary Board member (not elected) : Ivan Elsmark

For more information on the various responsibilities of Bureau members, click here:



From left to right: P. Sayour, S. Proust ,F. Kientzler, C. Comte-Tiberghien, S. Deboos (President of the union), A. Diallo, J-F. Santarelli, C. Thomson- Senior, P. Wichmand, A. Bonilla Garcia, I. Elsmark

Activities report 2022-23

Category : Message 70 en

Former Officials’ Section
Executive Secretary: François Kientzler
Activities report 2022-23

The end of the COVID pandemic in the summer of 2022 resulted in the return of the members of the Board of the Former Officials Section to ILO premises. This facilitated the resumption of contacts with active staff and, above all, with the Staff Union’s Committee, Chairperson and secretariat.

Continuing the activities of the members of the Board

The Former Officials Section was absent from the ILO for two and a half years due because of COVID. Since its return in September 2022, it has met regularly once a month.  The Board has been expanded to include young retirees, but there are still vacancies; we can have up to ten members.  Elections to the Board are scheduled before the end of 2023. The process is underway.

Impact of COVID on secretarial work

We had our own way of working before the pandemic, and we were surprised to find that while we were away from the ILO, new applications and practices had been put in place. When we returned to the office, nothing worked, neither computers nor printers. We had to call in the IT technicians and the Staff Union secretaries to bring us up to date. We now have two laptops like other members of staff, so we can work from home.

Our means of communication and information

Fortunately, in 2016 we chose to host our website outside the ILO. This decision enabled us to keep control of it and our webmaster to feed it at our request; the website receives hundreds of visitors every month. We continue to publish our “Message” magazine, which is especially welcome among those who don’t use the Internet. We respond to individual requests and maintain our contacts with the Staff Union, HRD, the Staff Health Insurance Fund and other Common System retiree organizations, notably AAFI-AFICS, where three of our colleagues represent us on the Committee.

SHIF Centenary and Retirees’ Reception: 8 December 2022

The Centenary of the SHIF was well attended by retirees. On the same day, retirees from the Geneva area were invited by the ILO Administration to the autumn reception. It was an eagerly awaited event: the last reception had been held in December 2019. Over 200 people registered for this friendly cocktail party, which also welcomed participants from the SHIF Centenary AGM that had just been held.

Meeting of the Section Bureau with Mr. Gilbert F. Houngbo, Director-General of the ILO on 8 April 2023

This was an opportunity for the Board of the Former Officials’ Section to meet the new DG, to explain the objectives and raison d’être of the Section, and to listen to his objectives for the ILO. He expressed his concern at seeing economic progress take precedence over social progress, and is showing his determination to work to ensure that social issues, like climate change, are at the heart of the global debate.

Information meeting on 25 May 2023

This meeting, organized by the Board of the Section, was held in person and by video-conference. The first part focused on the digital certificate of pension entitlement. In order to simplify and speed up the Certificate of Entitlement (CE) process, an alternative to the CE form has been created: the Digital Certificate of Entitlement (DCE). The paper form can still be used, and the document sent electronically.

The second part of the meeting focused on developments at the SHIF. A dedicated Call Center now handles telephone calls. A satisfaction survey was carried out among policyholders. While 62% of active policyholders are satisfied with the SHIF, this rate rises to over 85% among retirees.

Our immediate concerns

One of our concerns is the lack of access to the external offices in the field, for our retirees living in the regions. If this is possible in Geneva, it must also be possible everywhere else. We have just learned that the ILO has embarked on a policy of restricting access to the building for retirees from other organizations. We are surprised by such a decision, and intend to take action with the representatives of retirees from other organizations to return to the situation of the past.  What’s more, ILO retirees have access to the other organizations, so it’s only normal that reciprocity should remain. After all, isn’t the ILO everyone’s home, and particularly that of workers, whether active or retired?


Event organized in Geneva and on Zoom on the theme of «Intergenerational Dialogue 2023»

Category : News

Greycells and its partners are organizing an event in Geneva on 7 December, 5 pm at Palais Eynard on the theme of «Intergenerational Dialogue 2023», an initiative that highlights the rights of older people as pillars of human rights.

Download the PDF of the invitation


Message by the UN Secretary General António Guterres. International Day of Older Persons 1st October 2023

Category : Message 70 en

“This year’s International Day of Older Persons coincides with the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

To realize the promise of the Declaration, we must do more to protect the dignity and rights of older persons everywhere.

Challenges abound. Ageism is rampant in societies. From the COVID-19 pandemic to poverty and climate emergencies, older persons are often among the first victims of crises.

Addressing these and other issues is a human rights imperative that will benefit everyone.

Older persons are invaluable sources of knowledge and experience and have much to contribute towards peace, sustainable development, and protecting our planet.

We must ensure their active engagement, full participation, and essential contributions – including through social and workplace policies built around their specific needs.

We must promote lifelong learning, quality healthcare, and digital inclusion.
And we must foster intergenerational dialogue and unity.

Together, let us build more inclusive and age-friendly societies and a more resilient world for all”.

The UN International Day of Older Persons has the following objectives:

  • “To increase global knowledge and awareness of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and generate commitments among all stakeholders to strengthen the protection of the human rights of current and future generations of older persons around the world;
  • “To share and learn from intergenerational models for the protection of human rights around the world;
  • “To call on Governments and UN entities to review their current practices with a view to better integrate a life course approach to human rights in their work, and to ensure the active and meaningful participation of all stakeholders, including civil society, national human rights institutions and older persons themselves, in the work on strengthening solidarity among generations and intergenerational partnerships”.

The ILO has specifically addressed the particular situation of older workers (usually taken to be those aged 50 and above) as long ago as 1980, in the Older Workers Recommendation, No. 162. This offers a constructive framework for decent and productive conditions of work for older workers who choose or need to have paid employment.

Today, the percentage of people over the age of 65 represents 18.6% worldwide, 21.1% for the EU, 22.1% for the United Kingdom, 21.7% for France, 23.3% for Finland.

By 2030, 1 in 6 people in the world will be aged 60 years or over. At this time, the share of the population aged 60 years and over will increase from 1 billion in 2020 to 1.4 billion. By 2050, the world’s population of people aged 60 years and older will double (2.1 bil-lion). The number of persons aged 80 years or older is expected to triple between 2020 and 2050 to reach 426 million.

(Sources UN, ILO and WHO)

The annual reception for retirees of September 28, 2023, at ILO Headquarters in Geneva

Category : News

On September 28, 2023, the annual reception for retirees was held at ILO Headquarters in Geneva. No less than 150 people attended this festive event, which is always eagerly awaited and very well organized by HRD (special thanks to Fiona). Indeed, it’s a great opportunity for our members to catch up with old colleagues with whom they’ve worked, to meet the new faces at the helm of the organization, and to catch up on the latest activities of the Section of ILO Former officials.

This year, in the unfortunate absence of the new Director General, Gilbert Houngbo, the administration had sent to replace him its new Deputy Director General, Céleste Drake, its Deputy Director in charge of Internal Services, Hao Bin, and its brand new Director of Human Resources, Danielle Guiho. As usual, the President of the Syndicat, Séverine Deboos, was also present.

Ms. Céleste Drake spoke on behalf of the DG, briefly outlining the organization’s main new activities and objectives underway, and ended her speech by emphasizing the value represented by the former employees, and the fact that the organization’s successes also rested on them. She encouraged greater exchange between them and the organization’s current staff.

Mr. François Kientzler, Executive Secretary of the Alumni Section, welcomed members and gave a brief account of the Section’s activities this year, including the Bureau’s meeting with the DG, and the relaunch of activities after COVID. He spoke of the recurring difficulty for retirees in many field offices to gain access to ILO premises, particularly those nested within the UN buildings. Conversely, at ILO Headquarters in Geneva, new arrangements recently put in place by the security service now seem to prohibit access by retirees from other UN organizations. The Section hopes that reciprocity will be maintained, for as F. Kientzler reminded us, “isn’t the ILO, after all, everyone’s home?

After the official part, as usual, everybody enjoyed the reception in good spirits, making new contacts, recalling fond memories of their workplace and promising to meet again next year.

The photos:

List 2023 of former officials who died

Category : Message 70 en , News

In memoriam:

Personnes décédées: informations transmises par le BIT depuis janvier 2023

Le Bureau de la Section des Anciens du BIT adresse ses condoléances aux familles des personnes décédées.

Information communicated by the Office since January 2023

The Bureau of the Section of Former Officials of the ILO extends its sincere condolences to the bereaved families.

M. AGARWAL Sutya Prakarsh 15/03/2023
Mme Vve ALLEN Jacqueline 23/03/2023
M. ARAUJO PONCIAN Eduardo 01/06/2023
Mme Vve BASTARD Ciria Elba 02/12/2021
M. BEAUD  Michel 10/02/2023
M. BERROD Daniel 08/07/2023
Mme BILLSON Betty 10/02/2023
Mme BINGELLI Renée 23/02/2023
Mme CHAILLEUX Jeannine 28/04/2023
M. CICERON Gaston 07/07/2023
M. CICHON Michael 30/12/2022
Mme CLARKE Anne Barbara 10/02/2022
M. COCHET Bernard 08/03/2023
Mme COMTE Eliane 24/04/2023
Mme Vve CUMMINGS Monica 11/12/2022
M. DANESI Franco 22/12/2022
M. DIOT Bernard 07/01/2023
M. DJEUFA Jean 04/12/2022
M. ECHEVARRIA Luis Mario 20/06/2023
M. ERBUKE Ayan 14/11/2022
M. FAZZIO Joseph Ciro 09/07/2023
Mme FISHER Susan Margaret 15/01/2023
Mme FRASER Eliza Alison 01/06/2023
M. GHOSE Ajit Kumar 19/01/2023
M. GODONOU DOSSOU Jean 21/06/2023
Mme Vve GUERRA DA SILVA Norma 04/04/2023
M. GUGLIELMOTTO Giulio 20/04/2023
Mme Vve GUNTER Helga 14/02/2023
M. HAISE Bekele 13/02/2023
M. HEFFNER Guy 10/02/2023
M. KABAI Mieczslaw 01/04/2023
Mme KRETHLOW Thea 21/03/2023
Mme LILO Arthurleen J. 21/04/2023
Mme LOVATTI Donatella 12/06/2023
M. MARTINEZ Antonio 13/12/2022
M. McGILLIVRAY Warren 11/04/2023
Mme Vve NETTO DOS REYS DE BRITO Graziella 12/02/2023
Mme Vve PARMEGGIANI Renata 17/02/2023
M. PILLET Lucien 05/07/2023
Mme POSS Elisabeth 22/12/2022
Mme Vve RICHARD Anne-Marie 09/03/2023
Mme ROBERTS Margaret 07/01/2023
Mme ROCHAT Suzanne 15/01/2023
Mme Vve STRAWSON Jeanine 16/02/2023
Mme STRIFFLER Jean  Mary 05/06/2022
M. TARUD Ricardo 08/07/2023
Mme Vve THEOCHARIDES Nina 08/01/2023
M. TORNARE Gilbert 25/03/2023
M. VON ROHLAND Hans-Friedrich 10/04/2023
Mme Vve VOUGHT Brigitte 17/01/2023
Mme VULLIOUD Muguette 28/06/2023
Mme WYNN Sandra S. Alameddine 12/07/2023



Minutes of the May 25, 2023 Information Meeting on the Digital Certificate of Pension Entitlement and SHIF Developments

Category : News

The meeting was hosted by François Kientzler, Executive Secretary of the Former Officials Section, and Catherine Comte-Tiberghien, Deputy Executive Secretary. Opening the session, the Executive Secretary welcomed speakers and participants, noting that this was the first time the Section had ever organized a hybrid meeting, combining attendance in person with a videoconference. The number of participants was a big unknown, as there was no requirement to register. But retired officials had turned out in force.

[Vous pouvez télécharger le document en format PDF]

Presentation of Digital Certificate of Entitlement

Mr Aliamane Bacar Saïd, Chief of the Operations Support Section of the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund (New York, by videoconference), assisted by Mr Abdoul-Wali Mahdi, Section Deputy (Geneva Office)

During his presentation, Abdoul-Wali outlined the aims and benefits of the Certificate of Entitlement (CE) and then explained in detail the process of installing the app on a smartphone or iPad. (The presentation is posted on the Former Officials Section website: Abdoul-Wali said he would stay after the meeting to help retired staff install the application software on their phones.

To simplify and speed up the entitlement certification process and provide an improved customer experience, the Fund – in partnership with the United Nations International Computing Centre (UNICC) – has created an alternative to the paper-based CE form used up to now: the Digital Certificate of Entitlement (DCE).

The DCE provides an additional means of submitting your “proof-of-life” certificate. It is optional: paper CEs will continue to be sent out to those who do not issue a DCE. The DCE app can verify and guarantee the identity of retirees/beneficiaries, as well as their location, via biometrics, storing key elements (non-personal data) of the transactions on an immutable and independently auditable digital ledger (using blockchain technologies). With this app, retirees and beneficiaries now have the option to complete the annual Certificate of Entitlement by providing their proof of life in biometric format.

The security of the DCE has been tested and validated by an independent body and has obtained ISO27001 certification. The biometric data used by the app is captured and stored only on the user’s device. No information is stored in the cloud. In addition, the digital CE infrastructure is hosted by the UNICC and protected by the relevant and applicable privileges and immunities.

Participants’ questions

Mr Abdoul-Wali Mahdi’s presentation prompted many questions from the floor, which he answered in conjunction with Mr Aliamane Bacar Saïd in New York. For example, biometric facial recognition can only be done if you have an Apple device with iOS version 11 or later or an Android phone running at least operating system version 7.0; creating your identification is relatively quick, but it cannot be done on a computer. As with any account created on the internet, it is essential to note down and keep a safe record of your personal identification code and password.

Until now, in the event of incapacity, it has been necessary to have your state of health validated by a doctor and your home address confirmed by the local authorities. Facial biometrics enables immediate validation through recognition of the beneficiary’s face. The photo is updated every year, which means that the way the person’s face alters can be tracked throughout the ageing process. After the beneficiary’s death, the widow or widower entitled to the pension will in turn be able to use biometric facial recognition or revert to the paper-based process.

If you forget to validate at the beginning of the year, the UNJSPF will send a reminder in hard-copy format. Paper application forms will continue to be sent out, though the aim is to limit their use. To date, around 20,000 out of a total of 62,000 pensioners are using the app (900 out of 2,400 ILO retirees); the Pension Fund’s objective is to reach 50 per cent. Even by phone, it is important to send the update from your country of residence, as the app will geolocate the place it is sent from. The same applies if you send your proof of life by letter: it must be posted from the country where you have elected to live. The certificate can also be sent by email or from the UNJSPF’s Member Self-Service (MSS) portal. Please note that the Fund sends out several reminders if you forget or omit to send it.

Presentation of the latest developments in the Staff Health Insurance Fund (SHIF)

Florian Léger, Executive Secretary

Florian Léger began by giving some figures about the SHIF (also available on the Section’s website). These include the fact that 13,000 people are insured, $50 million is spent each year on benefits, 80 per cent of claims are submitted online and the average time taken to process a claim in 2022 was 18 days. The distribution of insured members is also interesting: 5,800 live in Europe, 3,100 in Asia-Pacific, 2,500 in Africa and 1,100 in the Americas. The SHIF’s centenary in 2022 was marked by a publication entitled One hundred years of mutual health insurance, available in paper and electronic versions.

In response both to past recurring difficulties in contacting the SHIF by phone and to the demand from insured members, a dedicated call centre has now been put in place. Since the Fund is regarded as a compulsory Swiss health insurance scheme, a certificate of membership can be obtained via SHIF Online or from the SHIF secretariat, a document that is sometimes requested by the local authorities. The SHIF membership card currently in use mentions the emergency number that can be called outside office hours, as well as the number of the call centre.

A satisfaction survey was carried out among insured members. While 62 per cent of active staff members are satisfied with the SHIF, this rate rises to over 85 per cent among retired staff. Very few retired staff are dissatisfied: less than 5 per cent, compared with almost 20 per cent of active staff. An actuarial study of the financial situation is carried out on a regular basis; this enables the Fund to make projections to ensure its long-term future, though it may require adjustments to contributions. In 2020 the SHIF saw its Guarantee Fund grow; this was likely due to the reduced use of medical procedures during the Covid-19 pandemic, but in 2021 and 2022 the Guarantee Fund decreased. Other reasons linked to the cost of medicines and changes in exchange rates may also explain these fluctuations.

To conclude his presentation, Florian Léger mentioned that the SHIF Management Committee was looking into possible amendments to benefit regulations, the introduction of telemedicine and the use of SHIF Online for complementary health insurance claims.

Participants’ questions

Following his presentation on the situation of the ILO health fund, Florian Léger answered questions from participants and recalled, among other things, that more than 1,000 out of 2,400 retirees were now using the internet (SHIF Online) to submit claims for reimbursement of medical expenses. These claims can be made using a mobile phone, and photos of invoices are accepted. He reminded participants that it is compulsory to keep the original paper invoices for five years. In this regard, a participant pointed out that originals now often only exist in electronic format. Concerning the SHIF Online site, improvements could be made, particularly with regard to the “Prescription” dropdown box heading, since in very few cases does this give rise to reimbursement as such. For those who use the SHIF as a supplementary scheme, only paper claims are accepted at present. All paper claims can continue to be submitted to the SHIF. A comment was made by a participant concerning the agreements signed with various hospitals in the region for the direct payment of hospital costs; there are difficulties with their application.

Retired staff contributions have increased over the past two years, owing to inflation rates, changes in exchange rates and the value of the dollar, as well as pension increases. Any change in the amount of pension contribution applies from December onwards; it is then fixed for one year.

Florian Léger pointed out that the call centre’s opening hours were extensive so as to respond to telephone enquiries. He also mentioned the survey ordered by the UN Joint Inspection Unit, which is currently under way; all participants in the health funds of common system organizations are invited to respond. The aim of the survey is to take a closer look at these funds and establish how satisfied users are. The last such survey was conducted in 2007.

Closing session and practical exercise

François Kientzler closed the afternoon by thanking the speakers as well as the technical staff who had made the session possible, both in person and via videoconference. He discussed the activities of the ILO Former Officials Section, and in particular the contribution needed from everyone to keep the Section going, either by serving on the Bureau – elections for which will be held at the end of the year – or by contributing articles to Message magazine.

Mr Abdoul-Wali Mahdi made himself available at the end of the session to help those who wished to install the Digital Certificate of Entitlement app straight away. A large number of participants gathered around him to ask for help installing it on their smartphones or iPads; we would like to thank him warmly for his assistance. And we encourage everyone to take advantage of this technology to validate their proof-of-life certificate.

FK, 9 June 2023