Update on the work of UN-GLOBE - May 10, 2017

Dear all,

I wanted to give you an update on all that’s been going on during the past month or so.

The work of UN-GLOBE is about changing minds and attitudes within the UN, on parental leave, on mobility, on peoples of diverse sexual or gender identities, or expressions… And I can say that on this front, we have managed to see concrete progress.

The SG’s draft gender parity strategy for the UN system, which aims to have gender parity at all job levels in the near future, includes UN-GLOBE’s ideas on parental leave.

Some of the recommended actions are: 

- Substitute maternity/paternity/adoption leave policies with one parental leave policy where parental leave (maternity, paternity, adoption and surrogacy) is equal in length, provided that specific pre- and post-delivery needs of the birth parent are covered additionally (including insurance and leave).

- Develop a policy for the sharing in either direction of parental leave where both parents are in the common system

These are UN-GLOBE proposals that were made back in July 2015, and which we pitched left and right to directors of human resources two years ago, and to staff federations (who copied and pasted our proposals).

So we are managing to change the conversation. Where we have failed, unfortunately, is to make the gender parity strategy more inclusive of trans, gender non-conforming, and non-gendered persons. This is a setback given that we reached out to the working group drafting the SG’s strategy. Now that it will be issued shortly, UN-GLOBE will engage in extensive advocacy to make our point that gender parity should go beyond the binary, that the vision it should expose is one that is inclusive of people of diverse gender identities.

On another front, IDAHOT 2017 is coming up, marked on May 17 around the world.

UN-GLOBE has already sent letters to the heads of all UN organizations. This year we are asking not only for a statement, but also for each organization to hold an event to mark the Day, or to carry out a symbolic act like flying the rainbow flag at Headquarters. Post-IDAHOT 2017, I’ll let you know what has been done.

In terms of UN-GLOBE, we have some fantastic events planned for IDAHOT 2017.

In Geneva, we are working with the Director-General of the UN Office in Geneva (UNOG) to organize a training for senior leaders on sexual orientation and gender identity. The one-hour training will be similar to the one we did in New York, which the Executive Director of UN Women attended, among others.

We will share more details after, but it will have high-level participation.

In Nairobi, as I updated you earlier, we are really trying to change minds and attitudes there within the UN office in Nairobi when it comes to peoples and issues of diverse sexual and gender identities. While I’m there during the week of May 22nd, I plan to meet with the Director-General of the UN Office in Nairobi, the head of UNEP, the head of UN-Habitat, and the Resident Coordinator.

We are also planning trainings for all these UN senior leaders on sexual orientation and gender identity.

This would mean that we would have conducted trainings for senior leaders in New York, Geneva, and Nairobi.

We’ll push for trainings in other duty stations as well, including Bangkok and peacekeeping missions.

Exciting events are also in the works in Islamabad, Pakistan.

Finally, in Nairobi, I’m very excited to announce that we will be organizing a panel discussion featuring local LGBTI activists working for equality in Kenya. They will speak about their work, and the realities faced by LGBTI people there to a UN audience. This will be the first time something like this is done in the UN office in Nairobi, and I look forward to contributing to a much needed conversation on these issues within the UN.

This panel discussion will be broadcast live and then archived in our website. I urge all of you to watch it as it will be a fascinating conversation.

The UN becomes a stronger advocate for people of diverse sexual or gender identities everywhere once it itself has internalized these issues.

I would like to make one last plead for LGBTI staff members in Nairobi to agree to participate in this panel discussion. We need one or two voices from the inside who can make the link between the world outside the UN, and the world inside. Please consider participating. E-mail me at nam@un.org to further discuss.


Hyung Hak Nam

President, UN-GLOBE



Update on the work of UN-GLOBE - March 17, 2017

Dear colleagues,

I wanted to update you on our work.

As you know, UN Secretary-General António Guterres has made gender equality one of his priority issues, which will have a domino effect on the rest of the organizations of the UN system. Well, UN-GLOBE wants to make sure that in the UN system, when we speak of gender, we do not speak in the binary only, but also address the diverse range of gender identities and gender expressions that exist in the world.

To achieve this, UN-GLOBE has convened a Task Force on Gender, which over the past few months has come up with 52 draft recommendations on making the UN System a model workplace for trans, and gender non-conforming people. We also plan to issue recommendations for intersex people as well.

The draft recommendations cover a wide range of areas: from discrimination and harassment, to health care, to restroom facilities, to security and functional immunity.

We also wanted to make sure to address the needs of trans, gender non-conforming, and intersex visitors to the UN, as well as those who are UN contractors, beneficiaries, and clients.

At this stage, the draft recommendations are being shared with LGBTI rights groups, particularly trans rights groups, and intersex rights groups. We want to make sure we are getting the recommendations right, and if need be, go back to the drawing room for drastic changes depending on the inputs we receive.

Once the draft recommendations are finalized, we will begin meetings with heads of UN organizations, and other senior leaders in order to push for a more inclusive dialogue on gender.

On other fronts, please know that will continue working with UN for All to ensure there is a roster of trainers ready to be deployed to conduct workshops on sexual orientation and gender identity.

We have already e-mailed you on train the trainers sessions in Geneva and New York. More are in the works. I am aware that the need is particularly acute in duty stations in Africa and the Middle East, without neglecting Asia and Latin America, in order to ensure we are not just preaching to the choir.

And we continue establishing a growing number of representatives in both UN agencies and in duty stations. With over 40+ organizations of the UN system serving in over 140 countries, it is crucial that we establish UN-GLOBE representatives in as many organizations and duty stations as we can in order to ensure the voices of peoples of all sexual or gender identities are heard.

The latest to join us are:

- Paul Morejon, ITC, morejon@intracen.org

- Jochen Luther, WMO, jluther@wmo.int

- Ilija todorovic, UNHCR, todorivi@unhcr.org

- David Clark, UNICEF, dclark@unicef.org

I would strongly encourage trans, intersex, gender non-conforming, and persons of color to consider volunteering as UN-GLOBE Coordinator in other organizations and duty stations. Please reach out to me at nam@un.org to speak.

More exciting developments are in the works, including a great dialogue between UN-GLOBE and the newly-appointed UN Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on SOGI, Vitit Muntarbhorn. I will share them with you in the coming months!

Moving onwards!


Hyung Hak Nam (Alfonso)

President, UN-GLOBE



Update on the work of UN-GLOBE - January 30, 2017

Dear all,

I wanted to update you on the work of UN-GLOBE as it has been a while. What has driven our work, what will continue to drive our work is to change minds and attitudes in the UN system on issues related to sexual or gender identities, and regarding peoples of all sexualities, and gender identities, including gender non-conforming people.

To this end, the UN-GLOBE Task Force on Gender continues to work on its recommendations to the UN system on more inclusive workplaces for trans individuals, as well as intersex individuals. We are nearing the end, and hope to be able to share our draft recommendations with trans rights groups, and intersex rights groups, before we publicize them and make an all-out push for them.

The new Secretary-General has made gender equality one of his core issues, which is likely to be adopted by the UN system as a whole. It is imperative that the SG and other heads of UN organizations understand that when speaking of gender, we should not limit the discussion to the male-female binary. We must make it an inclusive dialogue that includes people of various gender identities. I believe this is crucial, and UN-GLOBE will advocate every chance it gets to make this point in any gender equality strategy meetings in any of the UN organizations.

On other fronts, please know also that UN-GLOBE continues to work together with UN Plus, the staff group that advocates for people with HIV/AIDS in the UN System, on recommendations for more inclusive workplaces for individuals with HIV/AIDS.

And we continue to strategize on ways to ensure the ICSC— which establishes what counts as a hardship duty station or a family duty stations— factors in the serious dilemmas LGBTI staff face in the field, from being unable to bring their spouses, to security threats.

We also are increasing our network of UN-GLOBE Coordinators, solidifying our presence around the world. UN-GLOBE representatives are in place in Nepal and Nairobi, with more to be announced soon, and thanks to the work of UN-GLOBE Vice-President Gurchaten Sandhu (Nanoo), we now have representatives in Geneva for the following agencies: ILO; ITC; WIPO; WMO; and WTO.

Lastly, I wanted to address the situation faced by LGBTI staff in Nairobi. Nairobi is one of the headquarter duty stations of the UN, where both UN-HABITAT and UNEP are based. The situation for LGBTI staff there is concerning. We are aware of this. UN-GLOBE will address this and look for solutions. In the coming weeks, for example, we’ll initiate a search for representatives for UN-HABITAT and UNEP. We are also looking for ways to establish a dialogue on sexual and gender identities.

If you are serving in Nairobi, please get in touch with me at nam@un.org to share your views. I can also connect you with the UN-GLOBE Coordinator there.

If we can get a big player like Nairobi to do a 180° on sexual and gender identities, it would represent a big step towards change.

Looking forward to continuing this work with UN-GLOBE Board members and representatives,


Hyung Hak Nam

President, UN-GLOBE



UN-GLOBE statement on the formal recommendation by the Security Council of António Guterres as Secretary-General

António Guterres, former UN High Commissioner for Refugees, and former Prime Minister of Portugal, has been formally recommended as Secretary-General of the UN.
UN-GLOBE calls on António Guterres to be a strong advocate as Secretary-General for the equal rights of LGBTI people and for their safety, and stresses that this advocacy is made stronger when the UN’s own LGBTI staff have full access to their rights. Equality called for around the world must be practiced at home.
UN-GLOBE looks forward to working closely with the new Secretary-General to bring greater awareness of LGBTI issues in the UN system, to change its culture to one of inclusiveness, to embrace equal benefits for all families, and to institute inclusive policies for trans and intersex employees, among other issues. We will reach out to him in the weeks ahead.
Hyung Hak Nam (Alfonso)
President, UN-GLOBE



Update on the work of UN-GLOBE - September 29, 2016

Dear all,
I wanted to give you a brief but long overdue update on the work of UN-GLOBE. 
In previous messages, I have already written to you about the workshops we conducted on sexual and gender identity issues targeted to UN senior leaders. These workshops were attended by the Executive Director of UN Women, and one of the Under-Secretary-Generals of Peacekeeping, among others.
I have also written to you about finally achieving equal pension rights for all same-sex unions with the status of marriages.
You should also know that one of the main focus of UN-GLOBE these past two months has been gender, especially trans individuals and gender-nonconforming individuals. In particular, the UN-GLOBE Working Group on trans, and intersex issues, has been meeting weekly to come up with comprehensive (and we hope far-reaching) recommendations on building inclusive workplaces in the UN system. After we finalize the draft recommendations, we will engage in active consultation with national and international trans advocacy groups, and also intersex groups, to make sure that we have gotten it right. And then, we will mobilize and actively work towards turning words into reality. I can’t wait to share these recommendations with you. 
I should also note that UN-GLOBE Coordinator for IOM, Jennifer Rumbach, and I spent a few days in Washington, D.C. in August to attend a workshop organized by the Department of Safety and Security. The workshop looked into ways to raise awareness among UN security officials about gender issues. Jennifer moderated one of the sessions, and throughout the workshop, we discussed the particular realities faced by trans and gender-nonconforming individuals.
In addition, particularly in Europe, we have reached out to national and international advocacy groups that are working to ensure that workplaces are inclusive of LGBTIQ individuals, and we have proposed partnerships. UN-GLOBE Vice-President Gurchaten Sandhu (aka Nanoo) has been active on this front, recently attending an international conference in Amsterdam that discussed ways to enroll labor leaders as advocates of LGBTIQ equality.
Looking ahead, this will be a busy fall for UN-GLOBE. 
-- We will wrap up the recommendations of the UN-GLOBE Working Group on trans and intersex issues. 
-- We will work, together with UN Plus, on a set of recommendations to make the UN workplace more inclusive of individuals with HIV or AIDS.
-- We will mount a full advocacy campaign for gender-neutral parental leave policies (meaning the same parental leave time for all parents regardless of their gender); and parental leave policies that grant the same leave time for parents who adopt, have kids through surrogacy, or give birth to their child. All families should be treated equally.
-- We will also push for the trans voice to be heard during the finalization of the UN Secretariat’s 2030 Gender Equality strategy.
-- And of course, we will continue to find solutions, together with administrations of the UN system, to individuals who have been hampered by policies that negatively impact LGBTIQ individuals.
I’ll continue to keep you posted. 
Please feel free to write to me at nam@un.org, or you can write to UN-GLOBE at ohrm_globe@un.org, for any suggestions, comments, or complaints.
Hyung Hak Nam (Alfonso)
President, UN-GLOBE
PS – I should add that helping us over the next few months is Evangelia Siska (aka Lila), an intern who will be doing research for us on various subjects!




Dear all,

At its annual meeting which has just concluded, the United Nations Pension Board has endorsed a new policy recognizing all unions according to the law of the country where the union took place, not the staff member's country of nationality. 

All staff who are in a legal union will now be able to designate their partners as the recipient of pension benefits when the staff member dies. This is an important change from the previous policy that only granted these benefits if the staff member’s country of nationality recognized the legal union, resulting in unequal benefits for some couples who had married in another country.

It was a policy that disproportionately impacted LGBTI couples, and I am glad to see it gone.

This is one more step towards equality and inclusion in the UN system. It also signals that UN-GLOBE is slowly succeeding in pushing the UN system to become a more embracing workplace for all people.  

Change in pension policies has been one of the top priorities for UN-GLOBE and it’s finally here. LGBTI staff members should not die without assurances that their spouses will be taken care of by a pension scheme to which they have contributed so much money.

The intent to change the policy was announced to me at a meeting I had with the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Board (UNJSPF), the Secretariat body of the Pension Board, a few months ago. I am grateful to them for delivering on their promise.

I am also grateful to all those who of you who, following UN-GLOBE’s call, wrote to the UNJSPF asking for recognition for your partner. Your letters helped put pressure on them to change their policies. I am also grateful to individuals like Christophe Monier and Pierre Sayour who represented the interests of staff before the Pension Board and who played an instrumental role.

With this step, the UNJSPF will finally align its policies with the policies of the majority of the UN system when it comes to recognizing all legal unions.


Hyung Hak Nam (Alfonso)

President, UN-GLOBE

PS - In the short term, the UNJSPF , following this decision by its Board, will now update its current guidelines. Some more patience may be needed until they do.



Senior leaders of the UN System participate in SOGI workshops at UNHQ for the first time + other updates – July 21 2016

Dear all,

For the first time in UNHQ, at the invitation of UN-GLOBE, Under-Secretary-Generals (USGs), Assistant Secretary-Generals (ASGs), and senior managers of the UN system attended 3 workshops dedicated exclusively to LGBTI issues, to concepts such as gender expression, gender identity and the meaning of queer,.

The workshops were also an opportunity to engage in frank discussions with UN-GLOBE on the current realities for LGBTI staff in the field.

I attended all 3 workshops and can say that for quite a number of attendees, a number of the issues we discussed, such as the need for the UN to be a place LGBTI staff can call a safe haven, was revelatory to them.

I believe that it was a good first step to get senior leaders to understand issues related to sexual or gender identity, in a way that goes a bit deeper than any public reciting about their  support for the equality of all people.

The first workshop was targeted to USGs and ASGs, and was attended by the Executive Director of UN Women, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka; the USG for Field Support, Mr. Atul Khare; the ASG for Field Support, Ms. Lisa Buttenheim; and the ASG, Assistant Administrator for UNDP, Mr. Magdy Martínez-Solimán.

The other workshops were attended by D1s and D2s from UNDP, UNICEF, DFS, DPA, as well as the ASG for Safety and Security, Ms. Fadzai Gwaradzimba.

In addition to the frank discussions on issues, participants also engaged in a series of exercises such as matching terms with their meanings; taking a quiz on human rights standards; or hearing testimonials from gay and trans staff members.

We hope to be able to do more of these workshops later this year, both in New York and Geneva. I would also really like to do these workshops with senior leaders of the peacekeeping missions, and UN offices in countries with high levels of homophobic and transphobic incidents. I will keep you posted.

I am grateful to the UN Cares team leader, Laurie Newell, for facilitating these workshops, and for being a great partner during the organizing stage. The LGBTI workshop was part of the UN for All trainings on diversity from UN Cares. I hope we can continue to collaborate together.

In other developments, please know that the UN-GLOBE Working Group on Trans and Intersex issues continues to develop recommendations for an inclusive workplace for trans staff, and for intersex staff. We hope we can share these with senior leaders of the UN system in the fall.

In the meantime, we continue working hard to bring the LGBTI voice from inside the UN in places such as Colombia, Cote D’Ivoire, Mozambique, the North Africa region, and the South East Asian region to name a few.

If you are serving in a peacekeeping mission, or UN office in a country where instances of homophobia and transphobia are known to be high, and want to help, please get in touch. You can reach us at UN-GLOBE atohrm_globe@un.org, or myself at nam@un.org

I will continue to keep you informed.


Hyung Hak Nam (Alfonso)

President, UN-GLOBE



Update on the work of UN-GLOBE (10 May 2016) + UN-GLOBE's IDAHOT 2016 message and poster

Dear colleagues,

As you know, IDAHOT 2016 is coming up, to be commemorated next Tuesday, May 17. UN-GLOBE has picked a theme for the day: the cost of hiding one’s sexual or gender identity in the UN workplace. We aim to highlight the cost to the UN of homophobia and transphobia, and bring attention to the issues faced by LGBTI staff in the field, in particular.

As part of our IDAHOT 2016 campaign, we have reached out to all the heads of organizations of the UN system with a UN-GLOBE statement for IDAHOT 2016, and our poster. Please feel free to use either as you see fit. It would be particularly useful if you could help disseminate the message, or put up the poster in a visible place at your workplace. It may not be the most stunning poster you’ve ever seen (or for the wrong reasons it actually is), but I believe it effectively makes a point.

In other developments, please know that I was in Geneva this March where I met with the heads of ILO, UNOG, and WIPO; the deputy head of OHCHR; and the Director of HR at WHO. Together with Nanoo (Sandhu Gurchaten), our Vice-President, we asked for a commitment to incorporate an LGBTI perspective in all their policies. Our issues, our concerns, the ways certain policies such as mobility to certain countries impact us should never be ignored. When drafting policies, we should be consulted. The meetings were successful, and going forward, it would be a matter of holding them accountable.

While in Geneva, I also moderated a panel discussion featuring UN parents who had adopted or had children through surrogacy. This was part of our efforts to bring attention to the need to change parental leave policies at the UN so that all children – whether adopted, born through surrogacy, or given birth by a staff member – are treated equally. The stories told by parents at this event were very moving, and I would encourage all of you to watch the video at www.unglobe.org/events.

On other matters: the project with the Fordham Law School, together with Mala Kumar who is building an interactive map for us where LGBTI staff can record their experiences in countries they have served, continues to move forward. Please bear with us as it takes time to do the research, and time to bring a map to reality when our resources are so limited.

Finally, we continue drafting the proposals on an inclusive workplace for trans and intersex staff, and the Working Group established to examine these proposals will soon be debating them. I hope we can send them out by June to all organizations of the UN system.

Next, we will tackle proposals for an inclusive workplace for staff members with HIV and AIDS, plus a survey of all staff of the UN system on sexual and gender identity matters.

UN-GLOBE continues to operate under one overarching goal: to create a true culture of diversity and inclusion in the UN system. LGBTI advocacy in the UN has to start at home.


Hyung Hak Nam

President, UN-GLOBE



Update on the work of UN-GLOBE (23 February 2016)

Dear all,
UN-GLOBE continues to pursue one overarching goal: to change the cultures of the organizations of the UN system so that they truly embrace diversity and inclusion. This change has to be felt in even the most remote UN offices.
I am fully aware that, particularly in the field, many of you are tired from having to hide your sexual or gender identity, or having to face inequalities in treatments and in policies.
We are pursuing our goal along five tracks:
Encouraging open and honest discussion on sexual and gender identity.
Seeking genuine commitment from senior leaders, through actions, not words.
Increasing visibility for LGBTI staff.
Calling for protections for LGBTI staff, from discrimination to physical integrity.
Calling for equality of opportunity for LGBTI staff that take into account their realities.
And when it comes to specifics, this is the work of the past month:
We continue to partner with the Fordham Law School to gather the experiences of LGBTI staff serving in the field: from not being able to secure visas for same-sex spouses, to facing hostile work environments. A white paper with recommendations to the UN system will be issued in May.
We continue to put together a world map detailing country by country the realities faced by LGBTI UN, foreign service and private sector employees, thanks to the help of Mala Kumar.
We continue to work with UN Cares to ensure that a training on diversity (with a very strong LGBTI component) is delivered to all staff.
The UN-GLOBE working group on an inclusive workplace for trans and intersex staff has already started work.
An event in Geneva on March 17 with parents, whether LGBTI or not, who have adopted or had kids through surrogacy is taking shape.
And we have established representation in Cote d’Ivoire, Mexico, and South Sudan.
We will continue working towards our goal day by day.
Hyung Hak Nam (Alfonso)
President, UN-GLOBE



Update on the work of UN-GLOBE (14 January 2016)

Dear colleagues,
Last Thursday, for the first time in UNHQ, staff members who identify as part of the LGBTI community spoke publicly and openly about themselves.
The event was a great success, with over a 100 people in attendance, over a thousand people viewing our webcast (www.unglobe.org/events), and valuable connections made. 
U.S. Ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power, even tweeted about the event calling it “very moving”, a sentiment shared by many of you, who also called it inspiring.
I am thrilled by the response, and I hope our next event in Geneva will be even more successful. If you still haven’t watched the event, please do! www.unglobe.org/events
In the meantime, we continue working on the five priorities that UN-GLOBE has established for 2015-2016. The priorities are available here: http://www.unglobe.org/our-issues/ 
One of our priorities is to push for inclusive parental leave policies in the UN system. For us, this means gender neutral policies that give the same leave time to all parents, whether LGBTI or not, whether adopting a child, having children through surrogacy, or giving birth to a child. 
We have met with a number of senior officials on this, who generally have been resistant. And we are working with the staff federations of the UN system, who have agreed to support us. 
I believe that if we continue pushing, we will manage to turn our vision into reality. I’m optimistic we can get this done.
We also move now to another priority: proposals for inclusive policies for transgender and intersex staff members.
This is very much needed in the UN system, which is often at a loss when it comes to handling the issues faced by transgender and intersex employees. 
A call for volunteers to serve in a working group will go out very soon.
If you have expertise in this area, please volunteer. The aim is to come up with forward-looking and bold proposals that can make a difference.
Finally, our collaboration with the Fordham Law school continues. They have started interviewing all those who have volunteered to share your experiences serving in the field. 
We will collect all your experiences, including those we are not able to interview, and those of LGBTI employees in the foreign ministries.
Eventually we’ll create a white paper on best practices, and an interactive map that will give visitors a snapshot of what it means to serve as an LGBTI individual in countries around the world, based on the experiences of those who have served there before.
This map has the potential to be an incredible tool for both UN workers and employees of the foreign services, and even those in the private sector.
Looking forward to a great 2016!
Hyung Hak Nam (Alfonso)
President, UN-GLOBE



Update on the work of UN-GLOBE to push for inclusive parental leave policies in the UN system (5 November 2015)

Dear colleagues,
As you know, UN-GLOBE issued in August guiding principles and proposals for inclusive parental leave policies.
We asked that all parental leave policies in the UN system focus on the needs of the child. No distinction should be made between a child who has been adopted, a child who was born through surrogacy, or a child born from a staff member. All children deserve equal parental leave time with their parents.
We also asked that all parental leave policies be gender-neutral. Policies should not grant 16 weeks to mothers, while only granting 4 weeks to fathers. This only reinforces old-fashioned and gendered ideas that mothers should stay home taking care of babies while fathers should go out and work. Parenting is the equal responsibility of both parents, and UN policies should reflect this.
We also asked in our proposals that 8 weeks of Special Leave with Pay be an option, in addition to 16 weeks of parental leave time, for all parents, male or female. We did this to ensure that staff members who have given birth, or staff members who have children with disabilities can have the time they need to ensure the well-being of their families.
Since sending our parental leave policy to all organizations of the UN system, we have seen a very positive response.
We have met with the Directors of Human Resources at UNDP, UN Women, and WHO. And we have met with the staff federations CCISUA, and FICSA; and with individual staff unions. 
The responses have been positive and supportive, but tentative. 
This type of response is to be expected. It was never my expectation that change in the UN system would happen right away.
What we have done, however, is to present a vision of how things should be, and of where we would like to be. 
And we have managed to change the conversation.
As long as we can secure the agreement of UN agencies and staff unions that our vision is the end goal we all want to strive for, as long as we can engender enthusiasm, then we would have taken a big step forward. 


Hyung Hak Nam (Alfonso)
President, UN-GLOBE



The next 2 years for UN-GLOBE (24 September 2015)

Dear UN-GLOBE colleagues,
It’s been about a month since we held the UN-GLOBE Board elections. Thank you to all those who voted.
The new UN-GLOBE Board is already hard at work. I wanted to let you know of our agenda going forward.
We will work on 5 priorities for the next 2 years.
1. We will continue to push for new parental policies across the UN system that treat all families equally. We believe parents are parents. They deserve equitable parental leave time whether their children are adopted, born through surrogacy, or given birth by the staff member. 
2. We will continue to push for equal pension benefits for all staff members. At a time when the majority of organizations of the UN system now recognize all legal same-sex unions, the UN provider of pension benefits, the UNJSPF, should do the same. No same-sex spouse of a staff member should go unrecognized. We have recently written to the Chef de Cabinet of the Secretary-General on this. She has promised to look into it. 
3. We will introduce proposals for inclusive workplaces for transgender and intersex staff members. All staff members deserve dignity and equal opportunities.
4. We will introduce proposals for inclusive workplaces for staff members with HIV/AIDS. A stigma-free workplace is our cause, and we’ll embrace it.
5. We will introduce a survey to measure the satisfaction of LGBTI staff in the UN system, and to measure attitudes towards LGBTI issues. Having hard numbers can benefit us all, staff and administrators alike.
Attitudes take time to change. Policy changes can take even longer.
What is important is that we start by changing the conversation. When we open people’s minds; when we make them see a problem where they thought there was none before; when we make administrators realize that our policies cater to heterosexuality, and not to diversity, we would have taken a big step forward. And we would be that much closer to our ultimate goals.
The UN system may rarely change overnight. 
But we will continue to push for our causes until the changes do come.
Hyung Hak Nam
President, UN-GLOBE



ILO adopts policy recognizing all same-sex unions! (31 July 2015)

ILO is now the last remaining big UN organization to now recognize all same-sex unions!
The process was long and arduous, but we are glad that it’s finally official.
A big thanks to our colleagues in the ILO Staff Union who worked closely with UN-GLOBE to get this passed.
This is much needed change for our ILO colleagues, and one more step towards equality.

Click here for the ILO policy.



UN-GLOBE Guiding Principles and Proposals on an Inclusive Parental Leave Policy (30 July 2015)

Dear all,
After two months of deliberations within UN-GLOBE, I’m proud to finally share with you the UN-GLOBE Guiding Principles and Proposals on an Inclusive Parental Leave Policy.
I believe we have a paper that is strong, bold, and forward-looking. One that can change the conversation around adoption and surrogacy, and the care and responsibility we have for our children.
Ultimately, our goal is this: to change UN policies so that they become inclusive of all families, and treat them equally.
Currently, couples trying to start a family through adoption or surrogacy often encounter bureaucratic nightmares, and decisions that depend on the interpretation of the human resources officer, or apply for this one time only.
Parents who adopt or have babies through surrogates are often granted reduced parental leave time.
And because the adoption of a child can takes years, even if the child is under the custody of a staff member, that child can be without insurance coverage from the UN for that period of time.
The current policy is antiquated and needs to change.
I hope this paper will get us moving in the right direction.
We hope you will agree.
Please share this paper widely, with your staff union officials, and with colleagues.
We will be sharing it with the heads of UN agencies, funds, and programmes; and the heads of the staff unions.
And as always, please feel free to share your thoughts. You can write to us at ohrm_globe@un.org, or to me at nam@un.org
Hyung Hak Nam (Alfonso)
President, UN-GLOBE


Top ten images of UN-GLOBE at NYC Pride 2015 (28 July 2015)

Dear UN-GLOBE colleagues,
Last month, we marched in NYC Pride under the UN-GLOBE banner as proud LGBTI staff serving for the UN system.
It was a fun day. We were mindful of the historic feel that the day had, on the heels of the U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage across the United States. A right that we have now earned across the UN system (with the remaining holdout agencies to fall very soon).
About 40+ UN-GLOBErs joined the celebrations. 
Next year, we’ll aim for an even bigger crowd, including celebrations in the other duty stations, where UN-GLOBE is increasingly present.
Hyung Hak Nam (Alfonso)
President, UN-GLOBE

UN-GLOBE message for IDAHOT 2015 (17 May 2015)

On the occasion of the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (17 May), 

UN-GLOBE – the staff group representing lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex staff members of the UN system – calls on all UN staff members to reflect on what each one of us can do to confront discrimination towards LGBTI staff and peoples around the world. 

We encourage all UN staff members, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, to reflect on the following three scenarios: 

1. During a meeting of staff, chaired by the senior manager, the manager makes a homophobic joke that reveals hostility towards gay female individuals. People in the room laugh, some uncomfortably. The meeting ends without further comments on this joke. 

2. In the duty station where you serve, you notice with alarm the increasing levels of homophobia and transphobia in the country. You notice this in the media, in declarations made by the country’s leaders, in the neighborhood in where you live. One night, you observe security forces raiding a neighbor’s apartment. Men had gathered to celebrate a birthday, raising suspicions that the celebrations were sexual in nature. All men at the apartment are arrested. 

3. You are a manager. One of the local staff members whom you supervise, a transgender staff member, writes to you to inform you that over the weekend, she was detained by the police and jailed. She will be prosecuted in the months ahead for cross-dressing, and faces ten years in jail. She does not know what to do, and asks you what she should do. 

For each of these scenarios, ask yourself and discuss with your colleagues: What would you do? Who would you turn to? Do you feel sufficiently empowered to take action? 

These scenarios are real, and our colleagues have been forced to ask themselves the same questions. 

On IDAHOT Day 2015, commit yourself to be an agent of change. 

Make sure you and those around you have zero tolerance for any form of homophobia or transphobia. 

Speak out and report any instance of homophobia or transphobia in the workplace. 

And join UN-GLOBE, whether you are a LGBTI staff or an ally, and add your voice to our demands for full equality and inclusiveness for all staff in the UN system. 

Find out more about UN-GLOBE at www.unglobe.org 

Some background info on the vote of 24 March 2015 + List of recorded vote + Thank you letter to the SG on the outcome of the vote (9 April 2015)

Dear colleagues,

The victory last week in the Fifth Committee of the General Assembly truly was incredibly significant, if not historic within the UN system.

Although the strategy was to turn this into a vote on the authority of the Secretary-General to issue administrative instructions, and not on gay marriages, there was no denying that there was an LGBTI angle to this vote.

Colleagues of ours who have followed the Fifth Committee for years don’t recall seeing a room that full on the day of the vote for an issue not involving the budget for the biennium.

And the presence that day of actual Ambassadors such as Samantha Power, of the United States, reinforced how important this vote was.

From December till March, I had been hearing quite often how this particular issue was now being decided back in country’s capitals, as opposed to in the corridors of the UN.

The vote was taken very seriously.

Unfortunately, there is a strong possibility that similar votes may surface again in the future, as Russia, and other countries, were not happy with the vote on 24 March.

We would have to remain vigilant.

Regardless of what other votes may come in the future, it is important that we continue to fight for full equality and inclusiveness for LGBTI staff.

As I have mentioned in the past, these are our priorities for the year:

– Inclusive adoption and surrogacy policies.

– Equality in pension rights

– Inclusive mobility policies

– Inclusive policies for transgender and intersex staff;

– and Inclusive policies for staff with HIV/AIDS.

Please bear with us as our positions on these issues take shape.

These are complex issues, and we want to make sure that the proposals we offer to UN administrations are not only forward-thinking, but also knowledgeable, detailed, and thoughtful.

I will keep you posted in the months ahead.


Hyung Hak Nam (Alfonso)

President, UN-GLOBE

PS – Two attachments:

1. The results of the vote – There’s a minefield of interesting information, and quite a number of surprises when it comes to the votes of some countries.

2. The thank you letter to the SG on the outcome of the vote.

Russian proposal defeated today in the Fifth Committee of the General Assembly (24 March 2015)

Dear all,

The proposal from the Russia Federation to deny benefits to legal same-sex couples at the UN was not adopted today during a vote in the Fifth Committee of the General Assembly, with 80 countries voting against the proposal, 43 voting for it, and 37 countries abstaining.
UN-GLOBE, the staff group representing LGBTI staff in the UN system, has been fighting the proposal from Russia since it first surfaced back in December, and considers this vote a huge victory for equality and non-discrimination at the UN. 
With this vote, a majority of countries present also sent a strong message of support to the Secretary-General, and his prerogative to issue administrative instructions as Chief Administrative Officer of the UN.
The Secretary-General’s policy, whose withdrawal was sought by Russia, grants equal benefits to all staff members in legal unions, including those in same-sex unions. 
The previous policy, while automatically granting partnership benefits to staff members in opposite-sex unions, only granted partnership benefits to staff members in same-sex unions if their embassies gave consent, creating discriminatory practices. 
Staff members legally married to same-sex partners who could not obtain consent from their embassies were considered to be single by their UN organizations.
Following this vote, UN-GLOBE will continue its fight to ensure that there is full equality and inclusiveness for LGBTI staff in the UN system, which does not currently exist. 
UN-GLOBE will also continue to ensure that no staff member is discriminated against, or targeted because of his or her sexual orientation or gender identity.
UN-GLOBE is thankful to allies who worked to make the outcome of this vote possible, including countries friendly to LGBTI rights; LGBT human rights organizations such as IGLHRC and COC; staff federations of the UN; and the Secretary-General’s office.

Hyung Hak Nam (Alfonso)
President, UN-GLOBE

Update on Russia's proposal to repeal the SG's policy recognizing all legal couples at the UN (3 March 2015)

Dear all,
Russia has not yet asked the Fifth Committee to vote on its proposal to repeal the Secretary General’s policy recognizing all legal couples at the UN. 
The Fifth Committee began its March session yesterday. 
Russia, during its opening statement to the Committee, urged for the withdrawal of the policy. The US and the EU used their opening statements to defend the prerogative of the SG to issue administrative instructions.
The vote may happen at the end of March, but I’m still trying to find out more.
In the meantime, please know that FICSA and CCISUA have used a UN-GLOBE drafted message to reach out to close to 30 member states over the past few days. These are countries targeted because they are either undecided or amenable to change their votes.
Allies among the LGBTI human rights organizations, and allies in the Administration are also working hard to prevent success for the Russian proposal .
I will continue to keep you posted.
Hyung Hak Nam (Alfonso)
President, UN-GLOBE

2015, the year ahead + UN-GLOBE Mobility Proposals (19 January 2015)

Dear UN-GLOBE colleagues,
As 2015 begins, I hope that this will be another great year for equality in the UN system.
UN-GLOBE is committed to achieving more this year than was achieved last year, the highlight of which was the adoption of inclusive legal unions policies in an increasing number of UN organizations.
But much still remains to be done in 2015.
Pension rights still do not exist for many same-sex couples.
Mobility policies do not sufficiently factor in the levels of homophobia or transphobia that make it particularly difficult for LGBTI staff to go wherever the UN serves, especially for those with partners or families. 
At the same time, as I have said several times before, the UN system is not sufficiently inclusive of transgender and intersex staff; nor of staff with HIV/AIDS. 
We also have to ensure that the UN has inclusive adoption and surrogacy policies.
All of the above are our priority areas for 2015.
And we will stress that what we want is equality, fairness, and non-discrimination, not special rights.
I look forward to sharing with you the position papers that UN-GLOBE will draft in the months ahead, as well as the advocacy activities undertaken in the priority areas.
In fact, I can report progress already in one of our priority areas. For the past two months, UN-GLOBE has been working on concrete, actionable proposals on mobility that will be sent out in the coming days to the heads of all UN organizations. You can find the UN-GLOBE mobility proposals attached. 
This will be followed next month by the UN-GLOBE position paper on inclusive adoption and surrogacy policies.
We count on your support. Please let colleagues know that UN-GLOBE exists and that we are here for staff. Please continue to get in touch with us— a list of your representatives is available at www.unglobe.org/about-us/. And please also consider making your annual 2015 voluntary contribution to UN-GLOBE, which is $90 for Professional staff, and $45 for General Service and National staff. 
Your voluntary contributions will allow UN-GLOBE to be present at important meetings such as the ones held by the Staff Management Committee, bringing together human resources heads, and staff unions. Currently, this is not the case as UN-GLOBE cannot self-finance such attendance. 
Please contact us at ohrm_globe@un.org on how you can make your voluntary contribution. 
Wishing you all the best for 2015,
Hyung Hak Nam (Alfonso)
President, UN-GLOBE  

UPDATED - The Russian Federation did not submit its proposal for a vote (30 December 2014)

Dear colleagues,
The Russian Federation has decided not to submit its draft decision for a vote this session. They might try again during the March session of the Fifth Committee. In fact, the Fifth Committee has just wrapped up its work for the year. The issue was not brought up for discussion.
From some updates I have received, Russia concluded they were going to lose the vote – not by much though.
This is a big turnaround from two weeks ago, when it seemed that together with the African Group, the Organization of Islamic Conference states, along with a number of countries from Latin America, and from Asia, the Russian proposal was going to win.
The tireless work of friendly member states; LGBT-rights organizations such as IGLHRC and COC; staff federations and unions at the UN such as CCISUA; and the office of the Secretary-General as well as the Office of Legal Affairs helped turn this situation around. 
UN-GLOBE remained in touch with them, and owes them sincere gratitude.
They broke the consensus in the African Group; convinced most countries in Latin America to vote No; and convinced a number of countries from Asia to abstain. The OIC states, however, maintained consensus, and planned to vote with the Russians. 
UN-GLOBE will continue to monitor this situation as the proposal may surface again in March.
At the same time, we will continue our work to ensure equality for LGBTI staff at the UN.
As I mentioned in earlier e-mails, there are a number of position papers we will work on that will address the needs of transgender and intersex staff; that will address the needs of staff with HIV and AIDS; and that will address the needs of LGBTI staff who decide to start families.
Actionable points for an inclusive mobility policy addressed to UN organizations is at its final stages right now.
And, of course, we will continue to fight for equality in pension rights.
Hoping to write to you again in the new year on all these initiatives,
Hyung Hak Nam (Alfonso)
President, UN-GLOBE

URGENT - The rights of LGBTI staff at the UN are in danger! (21 December 2014)

Dear colleagues,

At this time I was planning to send you all an end of the year message highlighting UN-GLOBE achievements over the past few months.

Instead, I have to message you about something direr.

The revised ST/SGB, which now recognizes legal unions according to the laws in the country where it was performed, will be debated by member states over the next few days.

Needless to say, there is danger that they will succeed in asking for the policy to be withdrawn.

Over the last few days UN-GLOBE has been doing all it can to ensure this outcome does not happen, including working with allies on statements to the Fifth Committee that will be issued shortly (I will share this with you). I still continue to hope that any effort against our hard-earned right will fail. And I will continue to work on this until this is so.

It is our collective right to demand and to receive equality. And we will never stop demanding this.

For now, I strongly encourage all of you who have taken that big decision to make your relationship official, please do this as soon as you can. And please write to your employer to have your personal status changed. (Instructions on how to write to your employer are available at Resources)

I will also ask you for one thing: all those of you who have had your union recognized since the decision of the Secretary-General, please write to me at nam@un.org, and let me know who you are. We may need you.

I will update you on this issue over the coming days.

Please know that UN-GLOBE will continue to do all it can to ensure our rights.


Hyung Hak Nam (Alfonso)

President, UN-GLOBE


Dear UN-GLOBE colleagues,

Now that summer is past us, and September is in full swing, I wanted to briefly update you on the work UN-GLOBE has done.

Same-sex unions

More and more organizations are revising their policies in order to recognize all legal same-sex union. You can see the list of organizations that have done so at the bottom*. (You can also see them in our Resources page.)

ILO, WHO, and WIPO are very close to doing so, and we are ensuring that these organizations do not get cold feet.

Letters to Resident Coordinators

Following requests from you, we have sent individual UN-GLOBE letters to all Resident Coordinators around the world. [SEE sample letter to Resident Coordinators - Zimbabwe]. 133 letters total. This is what we have asked of them:

- That they release a statement making it clear that homophobia and transphobia have no place in the workplace

- That they ensure that all legal same-sex partners are able to secure residency visas so that legal couples can move together to the duty station

- That they ensure the safety and security of LGBTI staff and their families in countries with high levels of homophobia and transphobia

- That in countries with anti-gay laws, they have a plan to secure the release of any LGBTI staff member prosecuted under said laws.

We hope these letters will make a difference. Already, we have received responses from 14 Resident Coordinators willing to look into these issues.

We have also reached out to Helen Clark as head of the United Nations Resident Coordinator System. We have asked her to send her own message to Resident Coordinators.

Pension issue

Making sure that the UNJSPF changes its rules is one my top priorities.

An increasing number of UN organizations are adopting a Jurisdiction-based approach to recognition of personal status. So should the UNJSPF. It is the legality of your same-sex union that should be relevant, not your country of nationality.

What the UNJSPF should be mindful of is this: we live in a world where there is still great amounts of homophobia and transphobia, where same-sex couples who want to legalize their unions have very limited options to do so. Equality demands that LGBTI staff members be given a fair shot to secure a future for their spouses should he or she die.

We have sent you a form letter to fill out if you are in a legal union recognized by your employer but not recognized by the UNJSPF. Please send this form letter to the CEO of the UNJSPF, and please let us know that you have done so.

We will be actively monitoring UNJSPF’s response while discussing other options beyond the form letter.

I’ll continue to keep you informed.

Future work

Immediate priorities are:

- To draft UN-GLOBE position papers on three issues: a) inclusive adoption/ surrogacy policies; b) inclusive policies towards staff members with HIV/AIDS; and c) inclusive policies towards transgender and intersex staff members.

- We will also institutionalize the work of UN-GLOBE so that UN-GLOBE is more accountable. We are also exploring aligning ourselves closely, or officially with the staff associations of the UN such as FICSA, CCISUA, and UNISERV. More details on this will follow.

Finally, the commitments I wrote to you about in July are commitments we still have. We will come up with effective ways for you to pay your UN-GLOBE member ship fees; we will come up with a way for UN-GLOBE members to volunteer and give back to their communities; we will work on a survey for all staff of the UN system; and we will continue to ask for sensitive  mobility policies that take into account the needs of LGBTI Staff.

Our work for full equality and non-discrimination continues.

If you have any questions or comments, please e-mail us at ohrm_globe@un.org, or drop me a note at nam@un.org.


Hyung Hak Nam (Alfonso)

President, UN-GLOBE

* FAO, ICAO, IFAD, PAHO, UNAIDS, UNDP, UNESCO, UNFCCC, UNFPA, UNHCR, UNICEF, UNMICT, UNODC, UN Secretariat, UN Women, WFP (Go to our Resources page in order to see the actual policies)


Dear all,

It is with great pleasure that I would like to inform you that, at long last, the UN will begin recognizing staff members' legal same-sex unions.

This is a historic achievement, one that was long overdue— a step that brings us closer to full equality.

What this means is simple: if you a staff member in a legal union, the UN will recognize it. If you were thinking of entering into one, you can now do so with the full knowledge that the UN will recognize it.

Too many of us have suffered under the previous policy. Too many of us have been unable to secure, for example, residency visas, and health benefits for our spouses because of a discriminatory policy that would refuse to recognize our legal partners. You have written to us constantly, and you have reminded us on a daily basis of the urgency of this issue.

This discriminatory practice is now gone.

With this new policy in place at the UN, I believe that the entire UN system will follow suit, if history is any guide. And if any agency, fund, or programme still refuses to change, we will make sure they hear from us.

This includes the UNJSPF, our pension fund.

In fact, with this new policy in place at the UN, it is my hope that the pension fund will be under a lot of pressure to change its discriminatory policies towards staff. And we will be front and center advocating for change.

Much still remains to be done. We have to address homophobia and transphobia in the workplace. We have to make sure staff members' sons and daughters— our families, not only our partners— are recognized.

These are the battles coming up.

Let me reiterate also UN-GLOBE's belief that the fairest policy would have been an affidavit policy, as it would have covered general service and national staff who, under the newly adopted policy, may not be able to secure visas, nor have the resources, to travel to a country where legal unions are performed.

The affidavit approach should by no means be tossed out the window. We ought to advocate for it still.

But for now, I would say this: let us just enjoy this moment, this huge victory.

The UN is finally starting to listen, and to act, much to its credit.

We owe immense gratitude to the Secretary-General, to staff in OHRM who have worked hard to make this happen, and to previous, and current UN-GLOBE colleagues who have advocated tirelessly for this,

Signing off with immense relief,


Hyung Hak Nam (Alfonso)

President, UN-GLOBE

Announced on i-Seek:

Secretary-General Announces New Policy on Personal Status for Same-Sex Couples
Thursday, 3 July 2014, Global | DM

Acting on his conviction that “equality begins at home,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has announced a new way of determining personal status applicable to same-sex couples across the UN Secretariat.

Previously, a staff member’s personal status was determined by the laws applicable in their country of nationality. Now, personal status will be determined instead by the law of the competent authority under which the personal status was established.

As such, if a same-sex couple get married in a country where same-sex marriages are legal, the personal status of the staff member(s) involved will be determined on that basis.

“All staff members are part of the UN family and deserve to be treated equally,” said the Secretary-General in a recent article on LinkedIn.

This landmark policy reform follows a pledge by the Secretary-General to address discrimination against staff based on sexual orientation. On 16 November 2012, he held the first-ever meeting of any Secretary-General with representatives of UN-GLOBE, which represents lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) UN staff, hearing their concerns and announcing steps to foster greater equality.

Describing the new policy, the Secretary-General said, “Human rights are at the core of the mission of the United Nations. I am proud to stand for greater equality for all staff, and I call on all members of our UN family to unite in rejecting homophobia as discrimination that can never be tolerated at our workplace.”

Policy recognizing legal same-sex unions at the UN.


Dear all,

It has been a really busy past five months.

Since January, we have sent the Secretary-General a letter on mobility co-written with our sister organizations at the State Department, GLIFAA, and the European Union, Egalité; we have reacted quickly to the adoption of an anti-gay law in Uganda to write to the Secretary-General again to express our concern for LGBTI staff serving in countries with increasing levels of homophobia; we have carried out a video campaign featuring staff speaking about their experiences; released posters to publicize issues such as inequalities in pension benefits, and unfair policies when it comes to same-sex unions; and we have a brand new website up and running.

Our advocacy is yielding results. I believe this. The UN, to its credit, is reacting to our demands, increasingly addressing homophobia in the workplace with a “let’s roll up our sleeves and address this” approach. A working group is meeting in the Secretariat to come up with concrete solutions. WFP organized a wonderful event in May against homophobia and transphobia with the active involvement of our Rome coordinator, Antonio Brina. During this event, Ertharin Cousin, Executive Director of the food agency delivered passionate remarks against homophobia and transphobia in the workplace. Having also spoken at this event, I can say that many WFP staff were moved by such a clear statement of support from their head.

WFP, by the way, recently adopted the Jurisdiction approach, whereby all legal unions will be recognized regardless of the staff member’s country of nationality. IFAD adopted this last year.

As to when the rest of the UN system will move towards this, I hope it will be soon. I can’t discuss much just yet, but we will be pushing again, a push I hope becomes it. We are close, it’s all I will say at this point.

We have not forgotten at the same time that the Jurisdiction approach is not the most inclusive approach. The Jurisdiction approach, quite frankly, prioritizes international staff who can be mobile, and national and general service staff serving in developed countries. It does not do enough for national and general service staff in countries whose citizens have a hard time securing visas to the West, let alone to get married. We are mindful of this, and we have not given up on the Affidavit approach, whereby a staff member can get his or her union recognized if certain requirements are met, such as obtaining a notarized statement of commitment.

When it comes to pensions, the Pension Board meets this July. We are strategizing, working out an action plan that can be effective and can bring about change. As the UN system increasingly moves towards a Jurisdiction approach, where all legal unions are recognized, it will become increasingly indefensible for the UNJSPF to continue its policy of only recognizing legal unions from staff members with the correct nationality.

We will need all of you to get involved, so please stay tuned. And remember this, the pension issue is not an issue that concerns only those who are near retirement. Even if you have decades of work left before retirement, you too are impacted. If you are in a legal union that is not recognized by the UNJSPF, should you die at any moment in the near future, your legal partner will be left without any benefits. The UNJSPF policy can impact us all, and we ought to stand together in solidarity.

Another issue of concern to us all is homophobia and transphobia in the workplace. This is a problem particularly in field duty stations. Many of you have expressed your concerns, and we want the UN system to address them.

In fact, the fight against homophobia and transphobia will be a priority for UN-GLOBE in the months ahead.

As part of this fight, please find attached one of the letters sent to heads of agencies, funds, and programmes, as well as to the heads of regional offices. What we ask is this: that a clear statement be issued declaring that homophobia and transphobia will not be tolerated in the workplace, and that there will be accountability, especially for managers; that a diversity strategy be initiated to make the Organization a more inclusive place for all; and that the Organization support us in changing the policy at UNJSPF.

Starting today, and continuing over the next few days, this letter will be sent to over 30 senior leaders of the UN system.

We hope that it will have an impact and that UN-GLOBE can start working with all UN entities who want to address homophobia and transphobia in the workplace.

As always, if you have questions, or suggestions, please feel free to e-mail us at ohrm_globe@un.org. On our website, you will find our list of Coordinators around the world, and our Coordinators for specific agencies, funds, and programmes (http://www.unglobe.org/about-us/). We are here to help.

Finally, let me say this: we will be holding elections starting this month for the UN-GLOBE Board. I strongly encourage you to consider running for any of the offices (President, Vice-President, Secretary, or Treasurer). There will be a call for nominations; release of candidates’ statements; and finally, electronic voting.

As for myself, I do plan to run for another term. We have achieved quite a number of impressive results in the past year, but the work is not finished. There is quite a lot more on my to-do list, and I have the determination and energy to see that list narrow.  As our slogan for IDAHOT 2014 states: equality starts at home. We have to achieve this in the UN system, a symbol of a better future to so many people.

Please stay tuned for more messages from us.


Hyung Hak Nam (Alfonso)

President, UN-GLOBE

CBD     CTBTO     ECA     ECLAC     ESCAP     ESCWA     FAO     IAEA     ICAO     IFAD     ILO     IMO

ITC     ITU     OHCHR     OPCW    UNAIDS     UNCCD     UNCTAD     UNDP     UNECE     UNEP          


UNODC     UNOG     UNON     UNOPS     UNOV     UNRWA     UNV     UN WOMEN     UNWTO     UPU     

WFP     WHO     WIPO     WMO     WTO

Responses received:    ITC    UNEP (letter)    UNEP (memo)    WIPO


Dear UN-GLOBE colleagues,

As you remember, a UN-GLOBE letter was sent to the USG of the Department of Management [letter requesting Mr. Takasu that UN-GLOBE be invited to join this Group] asking that UN-GLOBE be allowed to participate in the working group that has been established to discuss matters of concern to LGBTI staff, among them visa issues for same-sex spouses; and staff security in countries with anti-gay legislation or environments.

Please find the response from the ASG of Human Resources, which is encouraging.

I will keep you posted on the discussions of the group.

We’ll continue to fight to make sure our voices are heard.


Hyung Hak Nam (Alfonso)

President, UN-GLOBE

See also - letter from the Under-Secretary-General of the Department of Management, Yukio Takasu


Dear UN-GLOBE colleagues,

I wanted to share with you two important documents that we have received recently.

One of them is a fax sent by the Department of Field Support to all peacekeeping missions for distribution to all staff [Awareness raising to end discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) staff].

It states in strong language that discrimination against LGBTI individuals will not be tolerated “under any circumstances” in the UN office, and makes clear that a manager has the responsibility to act when he or she becomes aware of any incident.

This is a great step in the right direction, and I’m personally glad to see that the points UN-GLOBE has raised have made it into the fax.

I hope this fax will contribute to making the office environment in peacekeeping missions more inclusive, and more tolerable, particularly in countries where it is difficult to serve as an openly gay, or openly trans staff member.

Also, this fax can now be used as a model for other non-peacekeeping UN offices around the world so I would encourage you to forward this in whatever ways you think would be helpful.

Furthermore, let me use this opportunity to say that if you need any assistance from UN-GLOBE, please let us know.

On another news, pension continues to be an issue.

Please find attached the latest circular from the UNJSPF clarifying which same-sex unions they will recognize, and from which countries.

The good news is that they are starting to be more transparent about which unions they would recognize.

The bad news is that they continue to not recognize some legal unions, without caring whether the employer of the staff member does recognize such a union. This can lead to the untenable situation where a staff member is in a legal union recognized by her employer, but the same legal union is not recognized by the UNJSPF. From being considered Married (or equivalent) on the last day of employment, to being considered Single by the UNJSPF on the first day of retirement.

In addition, they will stop recognizing French PACS, and are asking that some of you already in French PACS get married instead in order to continue receiving recognition for your partner. This sets a dangerous precedent: all of us in legal unions other than marriages that are currently recognized by the UNJSPF can find ourselves no longer recognized by the UNJSPF two years from now.

UN-GLOBE continues to address this issue.

We are making sure that staff unions of the UN system are aware of this issue, and supportive of change; we will continue pushing this issue as an agenda item whenever the UN system gets together to discuss human resources matters; and we will continue to push for our people to get elected to any position that could play a relevant role— such as staff representatives to any pension committee, as one UN-GLOBE colleague already is.

If any of you can help in this regards, please do. And please let us know.

Pension might sound like an issue that won’t affect you until decades from now. But this is not so. If you are to die while serving in duty today, your partner could not be entitled to any survivor’s benefit.

Please take a look at the pension circular to see if your legal union is affected.

Those of you in French PACS are particularly affected, so please read the document very carefully. Get in touch with the UNJSPF to address your particular situation, and keep us at UN-GLOBE on the loop.


Hyung Hak Nam (Alfonso)

President, UN-GLOBE


Dear colleagues,

Last week, I shared with you the letter we received from Under-Secretary-General for Management Yukio Takasu [letter from the Under-Secretary-General of the Department of Management, Yukio Takasu] informing us that a Group had been established to address the issues we raised in two letters to the Secretary-General, particularly the situation in Uganda.

Today, I have sent a letter requesting Mr. Takasu that UN-GLOBE be invited to join this Group. Although I’m not optimistic that we will be invited, at the very least, I hope UN-GLOBE can meet with the Group.

In the meantime, I would ask that you share any instances where you faced homophobia or transphobia as a staff member. Although not all individual issues can be raised, it would give us a clearer idea of the realities we face. Any positive outcome, or innovative solution used, would also be welcome.

You can e-mail me at nam@un.org.

Also, very shortly, I will be forwarding to you the latest Guidelines issued by the Pension Fund that will be of particular interest to those of you in same-sex unions. And even if you are not, it would be really worth for you to take a look.

I will send that shortly.


Hyung Hak Nam (Alfonso)

President, UN-GLOBE


Dear all,

We continue to be concerned about the situation in Uganda, and the increasing number of countries that have adopted or are considering anti-gay legislation.

This is going to impact our ability to serve in those countries, and our ability to be mobile.

As the attached letter from the Under-Secretary-General of the Department of Management, Yukio Takasu, states, the UN Secretariat has decided to convene a group to study this matter. Please note that he is writing on behalf of the Secretary-General.

In the days ahead, we will try to influence this group’s thinking. If necessary, we will reach out to all Under-Secretary-Generals involved and request meetings as well.

I will continue to keep you posted on this issue.

I strongly encourage you to share your thoughts and comments with UN-GLOBE coordinators and officers-at-large, or the Board.

How will this impact you? What solutions would you like to see?

Please feel free to reach me at nam@un.org at any time.


Hyung Hak Nam (Alfonso)

President, UN-GLOBE

PS – Please find attached also a letter of support from the President of the Staff Council (representing UNDP/UNFPA/UNOPS/UN-WOMEN) and UNISERV, Dimitri Savaras. It was sent yesterday to the Secretary-General.


Dear UN-GLOBE colleagues,

Last week, Anthony Lake and UNICEF issued an internal message to staff, and a public message on Tumblr expressing opposition to anti-homosexuality laws, and pledging to continue its work to protect all children from discrimination, including those who identify as LGBT.

UNICEF is increasingly being explicit about its support for LGBTI children and individuals, specifically citing them, and we, at UN-GLOBE, welcome this move.

We have met with UNICEF’s Director Human Resources last year, exchanged numerous correspondences, and we will continue to advocate for LGBTI staff at UNICEF.

You can find both messages attached.

Also, UN-GLOBE has reached out to the Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, asking her to add her voice in opposition to the anti-homosexuality bill in Uganda, and to use her good offices to urge the Ugandan President to repeal it. Given that she is the head of the UN agency charged with education, science and culture, and given how President Musveni has based his decision on a report by a team of scientists that concluded that homosexuality is a learnt behavior, we thought it was important to reach out to her.

I want to thank our UN-GLOBE Coordinator at UNESCO Richard Lo Giudice, Frederick (Russ) Russell-Rivoallan, and other staff at UNESCO for their work on this letter.

The letter to the Director-General is attached.

The increasing homophobic environment in countries around the world is of concern to us all.

We are asked to serve in all corners of the world, but what happens when our conduct is criminalized in the countries we serve? What kind of protections should we seek?

This is something we are studying, and we will seek your input on this.

Please remember you can always reach out to your coordinators, officers-at-large, the Board, or myself at nam@un.org.

More on this soon.


Hyung Hak Nam (Alfonso)

President, UN-GLOBE 


Dear colleagues,

Please find attached a letter to the Secretary-General on the situation in Uganda and how it impacts LGBTI staff there.

This is a situation that concerns all of us.

I have already heard from a few staff members in Uganda. If you are currently serving in Uganda, or know of a staff member who is, please get in touch with me at nam@un.org

We will continue to monitor the issue.


Hyung Hak Nam (Alfonso)

President, UN-GLOBE

See also - The President of the Staff Union e-mailed the Secretary-General expressing her support for UN-GLOBE's position.


Dear UN-GLOBE colleagues,

I wanted to share with you great news.

The World Food Programme is the latest UN agency to change its same-sex unions policy and move towards inclusiveness.

WFP has adopted the jurisdiction approach, which means that all same-sex unions legally recognized by a competent national authority regardless of the staff member’s country of nationality will now be recognized. If you manage to get married or enter into a legal union, it is this legality which will now be recognized.

We feel that this is a great step forward, and we will continue to push for change in the rest of the organizations of the UN system, including the UN Secretariat. We will also continue to advocate for the affidavit approach as the most inclusive one, as not all of us can afford or secure the requirements to get married or legally partnered in a third country.

I wanted to thank our coordinators in Rome: Antonio Brina, who is the overall UN-GLOBE coordinator for Rome, as well as the coordinator for WFP; Susan Beccio who is the coordinator for IFAD; Michael Riggs who left his post as coordinator for FAO this past January; and Nicoletta who is the incoming UN-GLOBE coordinator for FAO.

Given the many discussions we’ve had, I know they have worked hard on this issue, and on other issues as well. Thank you.

We will send a thank you letter on behalf of UN-GLOBE to Ms. Ertharin Cousin, Executive Director of WFP.

An update on other issues will be coming very soon.


Hyung Hak Nam (Alfonso)

President, UN-GLOBE

TOP 10 ACHIEVEMENTS FOR 2013, AND PLANS FOR EARLY 2014 [22 January 2014]

Dear UN-GLOBE members,

Happy belated New Year.

As we begin 2014, I wanted to take the opportunity to share with you the top ten UN-GLOBE achievements for 2013.

These TOP TEN achievements are:

[Rest of the message here.]