The Secretariat

 A Statistical Profile of UN Staff

March 2016: There are over 76 thousand people working for the United Nations and its various entities around the world. That does not include the staff of the autonomous UN Specialized agencies (like the World Health Organization), but does include programs like UNICEF initiated by the UN General Assembly.  Of that grand total, fewer than 10,000 are subject to a national quota system linked to the size of a country's budgetary contribution. 

Most UN staff have contracts ranging from a few months to five years. A minority have permanent or continuing contracts. There are two major categories of staff, Professional (P) and the mainly secretarial General Services (GS). The Professional entry level is P-1 and goes up to P-5. Above that are two Director levels, D1 and D2 (the latter being more senior), and then the political appointee levels of Assistant-Secretary-General (ASG) and the more senior Under-Secretary-General (USG). The General Service ranks also ascend numerically and those who qualify can move up into the Professional ranks.

The charts below show the June 2015 breakdown of all UN staff by entity and location.


Where 41,081 UN staff were posted as of 30 June 2015

Duty station                          Country                               # Staff    

New York                           United States                           6 545   Geneva                                Switzerland                             3 459

Nairobi                                     Kenya                                    1 836

El Fasher                                  Sudan                                   1 710  

Vienna                                       Austria                                  1 156

Port-au-Prince                         Haiti                                     1 101

Juba                                      South Sudan                           1 090

Monrovia                                 Liberia                                    1 041

Goma                                    DR of Congo                                988

Kabul                                     Afghanistan                                938

Addis Ababa                          Ethiopia                                     899

Naqoura                                 Lebanon                                     861

Bamako                                      Mali                                           819

Kinshasa                              DR of Congo                                 806


"Restoring Humanity"

The Economic and Social Council convened an “event” on the morning of 27 June that considered the theme “Restoring humanity and leaving no one behind: working together to reduce people’s humanitarian need, risk and vulnerability.” An account of the informal panel discussion of what used to be referred to as the transition from relief to development will appear shortly here. ECOSOC has decided that the theme itself will be known hereafter as “rethinking the humanitarian-development nexus.” 

Music by Pau Casals

UNEP Gets New Head

Erik Solheim of Norway took over in June as the new Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), replacing Achim Steiner of Germany. United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had announced his selection following consultations with the Chairpersons of the regional groups in the UN General Assembly earlier this year. Mr. Solheim was the Chair of the Development Assistance Committee of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), a post he held since 2013. From 2007 to 2012, he was Norway's Minister for the Environment and International Development, and before that, the Minister for International Development from 2005 to 2007. Photo by Magnus Fröderberg/Nordic Council  norden.org

WMO Says 2016 is Hottest Year: Kuwait @ 54.C 

21 July 2016: The World Meteorological Organization is reporting that 2016 is on track to be the hottest month ever. Kuwait has just hit a record 54.centigrade.

According to the WMO, Arctic sea ice melted early and fast this year and carbon dioxide levels driving global warming have reached new highs. Citing reports from the U.S National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies it says there are dramatic and sweeping changes in the state of the climate. 

June 2016 marked the 14th consecutive month of record heat for land and oceans. It marked the 378th consecutive month with temperatures above the 20th century average. The last month with temperatures below the 20th century average was December 1984. “Decades-long trends of climate change are reaching new climaxes, fueled by the strong 2015/2016 El Niño,” said WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas.

Although the global temperature-raising impact of the El Niño event has now disappeared, the longer term phenomenon caused by greenhouse gases continues, bringing more heatwaves and extreme weather such as torrential downpours and fierce storms.

Carbon dioxide concentrations have passed the symbolic milestone of 400 parts per million in the atmosphere so far this year.  CO2 levels vary according to the season, but the underlying trend is upwards. They showed a surprising increase for the first half of 2016, rising in June 2016 to nearly 407 ppm, 4 ppm greater than June 2015.



Read Part I of this article

July 2016 
Why Connectivity is a Game-Changer         The connectivity revolution reverses trends that have concentrated power in elite groups for the last five centuries and made them, even within democratic frameworks, increasingly authoritarian. In particular, connectivity can decentralize the capacity to create and control wealth, making it realistic to expect changes long considered “Utopian:” that human development will equalize around the world; that all war can be ended; that democracy will become the human standard. 

Beyond that lies a longer term prospect seemingly fantastic but entirely within the realm of scientific possibility: that the worldwide web of human consciousness will become the neural network of a global brain and give humanity a new level of universal awareness. Achieving those goals will require a level of international cooperation without precedent. To mobilize and build it into UN reform we must understand the nature and emergence of modern Europe, the region most responsible for the current state of the world.

The Shaping of Modern Europe       Two quite different but mutually reinforcing processes 
                                                                                                                                                              Read More


Peace & Security

Rich Debate on UN Peace Ops Misses key Issue    
A richly detailed and lively two-day discussion of United Nations peace operations and architecture (10-11 May), left untouched the basic reason for the Organization’s 70-year failure to achieve its primary Charter aim. Although the debate was shot through with facts and themes pointing to a malign and actively hostile international environment, no one tried to define it or say how the UN should respond.                                 Read More

Could Next SG be Picked in July?

6 July 2016: Intriguing signs of a horse race for the post of Secretary-General suggest the possibility that someone might be picked in the first straw polls in the Security Council beginning 21 July ...

                        Read More 

Erratic service from UNTV!

Mahatma Gandhi (1869 - 1948), Nelson Mandela (1918 - 1913) and Mother Teresa (1910 - 1997) are legendary figures but each has enduring lessons to teach. Click the links above for more. 

Drug Trafficking Massive Source of Terrorism Finance 

The failure of the General Assembly thematic debate on peace operations (see above) to focus on drug trafficking and money laundering is a serious one, for they are a massive source of terrorist financing. According to a 2014 study on financial flows linked to the production and trafficking of Afghan opiates published by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) a 1989 initiative of the Group of 7 largest industrialized countries:

"Drug trafficking is a business, but our understanding of this enterprise and response to it remain limited - less than 0.5% of the total laundered funds are seized. 

"Terrorists profit from and are engaged in opiate trafficking - over half the Afghan Taliban Senior Leadership listed under United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1988 are involved in drug trafficking. 

"International opiate traffickers rely on the services of financial professionals, either unwitting or complicit, to manage their assets but no global system exists to alert countries or the private sector of these individuals and entities, or to freeze the assets of opiate traffickers."      


Candidates in World Town Hall

UN ENTITY                    TOTAL STAFF                                %
Secretariat                         41 081                                       54.0 
UNICEF                                12 386                                       16.3  
UNHCR                                   9 728                                       12.8 
UNDP                                     7 456                                         9.8   
UNFPA                                   2 621                                         3.4  
UNOPS                                   1 009                                        1.3 
UN-Women                             816                                         1.1
ITC                                               298                                        0.4  
UNJSPF                                     240                                        0.3
UNRWA                                      144                                        0.2
UNU                                            123                                        0.2
ICJ                                               117                                         0.2  
ICSC                                              56                                         0.1    
UNITAR                                        40                                         0.1  
Total                                     76 115                                    100.0

  $5.4 Billion Two-Year Budget for UN
The UN biennial budget for 2016-2017 is $5.4 billion, $170 million less than the amount requested by the Secretary-General. The approved total is $400 million less than the 2014-2015 budget. Most of the cut came from Public Information funding. Acting by consensus in December 2015, the Assembly also decided how much each Member State will pay. The United States and Japan remain the top two contributors to the budget, with 22 and 9.68 per cent); for the first time is China will be third, with 7.92 per cent. 

UN Specialized Agencies, Funds and Programmes