SG prepares for UN-ASEAN Summit in Vietnam tomorrow, DSG presents human resources reform initiatives to the GA and more from UN Direct.

SG in SE Asia: Today, the SG met with President Nguyen Minh Triet in Hanoi, Vietnam and discussed the MDGs and tomorrow’s UN-ASEAN Summit, among other topics.  Prior to his visit to Vietnam, the SG visited the former Tuol Sleng prison in Cambodia and briefed the press there on the trials by the Extraordinary Chambers of the Cambodia Courts.  Since other countries are set to join ASEAN members at the Summit, the SG plans to meet with various leaders and talk about the MDGs, what was achieved during the GA period, and focus on upcoming agenda. The election in Myanmar is also expected to be discussed.

Haiti: In regards to the cholera outbreak and whether it stemmed from the Nepalese peacekeeping camp, the Spokesperson stated that the UN is taking the issue very seriously and is currently conducting tests. MINUSTAH released a statement, detailing that tests from the military camp and waters adjacent to the camp were conducted on Friday, October 22nd, which were negative. Additional tests were conducted on Tuesday, October 26th and Wednesday, October 27th throughout the military base, and those results will come out by Friday. MINUSTAH stressed that all 710 Nepalese soldiers underwent comprehensive medical tests and all were cholera-negative.

Fifth Committee: this morning the DSG and USG Management Angela Kane introduced Reports on Human Resources Management (HRM) in the Fifth Committee.  Of the numerous reports, the two most significant cover the harmonization of conditions of service and the implementation of continuing contracts.  In the 63rd session of the GA, a wide-ranging HRM reform resolution was adopted, paving the way for such reforms as streamlining the UN’s complex system of contracts and harmonizing the conditions of service across all UN staff, regardless of whether they’re at HQ or in the field.  Though the GA implemented the new system of contracts in 2009, only two (temporary and fixed-term) of the three have become operational.  The remaining contract, continuing, has been the subject of debate and the modalities for its implementation will be debated this session.  On harmonization of conditions of service, inequities remain in areas labeled “non-family duty stations”, which are typically the most dangerous areas where families of UN staff are not allowed. The current proposals would reduce disparities in remuneration packages in the field across the UN system, hopefully enhancing the UN’s ability to attract and retain staff in some of the most challenging environments where the UN’s is needed the most.

Natural Disasters in Indonesia: today the SG issued a statement that he is “deeply saddened by the loss of life and destruction of property in Indonesia” due to the volcanic eruption and tsunami and sends his deepest condolences to the families of those affected.  The UN stands ready to contribute to the efforts of the Indonesian Government.

Updates from the PGA: Jean Victor Nkolo, Spokesperson of the PGA, briefed the press about the speech that the President made on a nuclear-free world in Hiroshima, Japan today. In addition, he stated that he continues to support the Mideast peace process.