Decision taken by the Governing Body of the ILO regarding the appointment of the ILO’s Director-General

By letter dated 30 September 2011, Mr Juan Somavia informed the Officers of the Governing Body that he would advance the date of his departure as Director-General of the ILO to 30 September 2012. In accordance with past practice, the Governing Body of the ILO adopted at its 312th session in November 2011 the following proposals for action regarding the appointment of a new Director-General.

Instructional material | 05 January 2012

Modalities of the appointment process

The report adopted in 2009 by the Joint Inspection Unit of the United Nations on the process for selection of the executive heads in the United Nations system1, provides a number of observations intended to ensure fairness, transparency and impartiality of the electoral process. The lessons learned may prove useful to the considerations of the Governing Body in adapting its own procedures concerning the election of the Director-General. For that purpose, the following actions and associated rules changes are recommended:

  • (a) The Governing Body request the Chairperson of the Governing Body to call for candidates for appointment to the Office of Director-General of the ILO through communication to Governing Body members and ILO member States.
  • (b) The Governing Body should remind the candidates that any appointment to the post of Director-General will require the divestment of any earning of any income, gift or allowance, and any financial involvement or interest, where such could have, or be perceived to have, an impact on the objectivity or independence of the person appointed; furthermore, the appointed candidate will be required to comply with the procedure for financial disclosure laid down in the ILO’s internal rules.
  • (c) The Governing Body should explicitly prohibit unethical practices such as promises, favours, gifts, etc., provided by, or in support of, candidates for the post of Director-General.
  • (d) The Governing Body should note that the Director-General has informed the Officers that he will remind the staff of the Office of the rules and standards of conduct aimed at ensuring the Office’s neutrality with respect to the electoral process, as well as the sanctions that can be imposed on staff in the event these rules are not respected.
  • (e) The Governing Body should further note that the Director-General has informed the Officers that he will issue a directive to ILO staff prohibiting the use of ILO resources for the purposes of campaigning for, or supporting, any candidate. Such directive will also regulate the conduct of ILO staff presenting as candidates for the appointment as Director-General.

Modalities of election

The rules governing the election of the Director-General are laid down in Annex III of the Compendium of rules applicable to the Governing Body (see Appendix II of the present paper). These rules were adopted by the Governing Body at its 240th Session (June 1988). It is proposed to supplement the rules to ensure an open and interactive procedure allowing the Governing Body to make an informed choice. To this end, it is recommended to amend the current rules with the following provisions:

  • (a) Candidatures for election must be submitted by an ILO member State or by a Governing Body member to the Chairperson of the Governing Body and be received on, or before, a date to be determined by the Governing Body, which shall be at least two months prior to the date of the election.
  • (b) Each candidate shall annex to their candidature a curriculum vitae.
  • (c) Each candidate shall also annex a certificate of good health signed by a recognized medical facility.
  • (d) Candidates shall be invited to provide, together with their candidature, a statement of no more than 2,000 words describing their vision for the Organization and the strategic direction they would pursue in the event they are appointed. The statement should also address the candidate’s commitment to the values and work of the ILO and its tripartite structure; their experience in economic, social and labour issues, international affairs, leadership and organizational management; and their appreciation of cultural, social and political diversity. Candidates should also indicate their language proficiency with regard to the official languages of the ILO.
  • (e) The documents mentioned in (a), (b) and (d) above shall be submitted by the candidates in English, French and Spanish.
  • (f) To be valid, candidatures must meet the conditions specified in (a), (b), (c) and (e) above.
  • (g) The documents received with the candidature, other than the certificate of good health, shall be distributed in the official languages in which they are submitted to the members of the Governing Body, and to member States not represented in the Governing Body for information, as soon as practical after the candidature has been received. Only statements received at the same time as the candidatures shall be receivable and distributed.
  • (h) Hearings should be conducted with the candidates at a special private sitting of the Governing Body held prior to the election. The order of appearance in the hearings would be drawn randomly by the Governing Body Chairperson and candidates would be informed of the date and approximate time of their hearing at least one week prior to the hearing. Each candidate would be heard individually and would be invited to make a presentation to the Governing Body. Following the presentation the candidate will receive and respond to questions from the Governing Body. The time allocated to candidates for making their presentation and receiving and responding to questions shall be determined by the Officers. Equal time will be allocated for all candidates.

As the hearings would be conducted in a special private sitting of the Governing Body, only regular and deputy members, and their substitutes, would be entitled to participate. In accordance with article 1.6.2 of the Standing Orders of the Governing Body, only one substitute may accompany each Government regular delegate. However, the Office will be requested to provide a separate facility with video link for observation of the proceedings.

Date of the election

It is recommended that the process for the appointment of the next Director-General be conducted over two sittings of the Governing Body. The first sitting will be held on 30 March 2012, being the last day of the 313th Session of the Governing Body, and dedicated to the conduct of the hearings. The second sitting shall be conducted as a specially convened meeting of the Governing Body for the purpose of conducting the ballot for the election of the Director-General, to be held on 28 May prior to the commencement of the 101st Session of the Conference (May–June 2012). To facilitate this process, it is proposed that candidatures must be received in the office of the Chairperson of the Governing Body by 9 March 2012.

Conditions of appointment of the Director-general of the ILO

The Governing Body will be required to determine the remuneration and other conditions and benefits of appointment of the Director-General. To facilitate this, it is recommended that the Officers be requested to propose to the Governing Body, for adoption, the remuneration, other benefits and conditions of appointment of the Director-General not covered by the rules, having regard to the current arrangements, and provisions for similar appointments in other United Nations specialized agencies.

Financial implications

The Programme and Budget for 2012–13 contains no provision for the election process set out in this document. The costs would include travel arrangements for candidates to attend the hearings, travel costs of Governing Body members not part of their national delegation to the Conference, subsistence allowance for the non-governmental members of the Governing Body attending the meeting on 28 May and miscellaneous meeting costs. At this stage, it is not possible to determine how many Governing Body members would not be included in their national delegations nor how many candidates would be invited to the Governing Body hearings.

Should all Governing Body members be part of their respective national delegations to the 101st International Labour Conference, only the travel costs of the candidates, the cost of an extra day’s subsistence allowance for non-governmental members of the Governing Body on 28 May, the cost of interpretation services for the meeting on 28 May and the miscellaneous meeting costs would require financing. Under the scenario where ten candidates would be invited to the hearings, the estimated cost would be some US$132,900.

Should no Governing Body member be part of their respective national delegations, financing would also be required for the travel costs of all Employer and Worker members of the Governing Body. Under this scenario the total estimated cost would be some US$747,900.

1 JIU/REP/2009/8