What is a Federation of United Nations Staff Associations (FUNSA).

FICSA introduced the creation of FUNSAs in 1978, as members with Observer Status in FICSA, as a part of its efforts to support and strengthen International Civil Service particularly in Country Offices and in the field.

The FUNSAs (Federation of UN Staff Associations) are local inter-organizational federations of the staff associations from all UN organizations in a particular duty station. FUNSAs mainly function as an information network in a duty station between its members,  and its main interlocuter would normally be the UN Country Team or UN Operations Team in the duty station. FUNSAs represent both locally recruited staff and internationally recruited staff.

Functioning of FUNSAs.

FICSA envisioned that the FUNSA network would help strengthen staff representation in country offices, therefore strengthening the human rights of association and representation. FUNSAs can also contribute to capacity building through access to FICSA trainings and workshops; traditionally, FUNSA members who are not from FICSA Member Organizations are accorded 30% discount from training fees.

FUNSAs as affiliated members of FICSA are most effective in coordinating efforts of all United Nations system staff in a given duty station, to find common solutions to common problems. Their affiliation to FICSA provides numerous advantages, as they receive regular information and communications from FICSA on all staff matters, as well as sustained support (including training and support for salary surveys; participation in FICSA Council meetings; and legal matters relating staff rights and conditions).

FUNSAs are also invited to participate in the annual FICSA Council which brings together the full membership to identify the Federation’s policies and work programme, etc.  but it is also used as a forum to learn, to exchange ideas and concerns.

It is quite common that staff representatives in the field or country offices feel isolated in facing the challenges involved in their role. It is therefore important and satisfying to federate efforts and gain strength from one another in the form of a FUNSA.

Relationship with headquarters / regional staff association/union in the Organization.

The local staff association in these country offices should continue to liaise and work closely with their regional or global staff association counterparts in the organization, and use the FUNSA platform to discuss issues of common interest in the duty station, for example Local Salary Surveys for locally recruited staff, Place to Place Survey / Housing Surveys for internationally recruited staff, security and safety conditions for all staff, and any other local problems of common interest to UN staff.

Being affiliated to membership of the headquarters staff association/union is a fundamental factor in the process of representation and protection of staff interests. In this context, to optimize action to protect their interests, staff members in country offices should undertake parallel initiatives:

  1. if possible, join their regional / headquarters staff association/union;
  2. organize themselves locally by forming a local federation of United Nations staff associations/unions and institutions (FUNSAs);
  3. and/or both

Staff in Country Offices and Field Offices may encounter challenges that are different from those at headquarters, for example issues related to security and safety, abuse of authority by local management team, post adjustment and/or local salary scales in the duty station, entitlements such as danger pay, rest and recuperation leave/travel, etc. It is crucial that at the agency/organization (internal) level, each civil servant in the country offices or field offices must, if possible, be an active member of the staff association/union which exists within his/her organization's headquarters or region, and at the local level, collective mechanisms must be developed which combine all the bodies representing the staff of the United Nations organizations through the FUNSA.

How to establish a FUNSA in your duty station.

To establish a FUNSA and affiliate it to FICSA the following steps should be taken:

  1. As a first step, the United Nations staff associations/unions and institutions should gather together to create the Federation and adopt its Statutes based on the attached model statutes.
  2. Each local staff association/union which wishes to belong to the FUNSA should sign the Statutes and agree to abide by them.
  3. The FUNSA normally organizes themselves by electing officers of the FUNSAs, identify frequency of meetings, channels of communications, establishing whether the FUNSA will collect any dues for inter-agency activities in the duty station, etc.
  4. Once fully established, the FUNSA may then apply for FICSA membership by using the application form (FR) and enclosing a copy of the Statutes as adopted by the FUNSA. 
  5. Please note that there are no fees for this category of membership.

FICSA strongly encourages all international civil servants in field and country offices, in addition to joining their respective headquarters Staff Associations/Unions, to form a FUNSA and work most closely with FICSA in a joint common cause for the greatest achievement of collective staff rights and justice.

Frequently Asked Questions.

  1. There is only one local staff association in my duty station, can I form a FUNSA and join FICSA?

Unfortunately, a FUNSA is a federation of several different staff associations from different UN organizations in a duty station, and membership is not possible through one staff association only. It is recommended that staff in the duty station organize themselves in staff associations/unions, or join an existing one in their organization’s headquarters or regional office.

  1. I am a member of a local staff association, which is a part of my headquarters or regional staff association affiliated with CCISUA or UNISERV. Can I still form a FUNSA and become observers with FICSA?

The formation of FUNSAs in 1978 predates the existence of CCISUA or UNISERV, and all international civil servants regardless of their headquarters staff association/union’s affiliation are encouraged to organize locally, and form a FUNSA to collectively deal with issues in the duty station, as well as having a platform to discuss with the local UN Country Team / Operations management team.

  1. What are the benefits of being an Observer member of FICSA?

See this webpage on the various different membership categories in FICSA and its benefits.

  1. Can I get a list of all FUNSAs around the world affiliated with FICSA?

See this webpage for the updated list and contact details for each FUNSA.

  • FAPNUU - Federation of United Nations Staff Associations in Uruguay
  • FAPSNUBA - Federacion de Asociaciones de Personal del Sistema de Naciones Unidas en Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • FASAPNUP - Federation of United Nations Staff Associations in Peru
  • FASPANUCI - Federation des associations et syndicats du personnel des agences et institutions des Nations Unies en Cote d'Ivoire
  • Federation of United Nations Staff Associations in Cameroon - UNSSAG
  • FUNSA Benin - Federation of United Nations Staff Associations in Benin
  • FUNSA Denmark - Federation of United Nations Staff Associations in Denmark
  • FUNSA Egypt - Federation of United Nations Staff Associations in Egypt
  • FUNSA Ethiopia - Federation of United Nations Staff Associations in Ethiopia
  • FUNSA Ghana - Federation of United Nations Staff Associations in Ghana
  • FUNSA Guinea - Federation of United Nations Staff Associations in Guinea
  • FUNSA Islamabad - Federation of United Nations Staff Associations in Pakistan
  • FUNSA Lebanon - Federation of United Nations Staff Associations in Lebanon
  • FUNSA Lesotho - Federation of United Nations Staff Associations in Lesotho
  • FUNSA Mexico - Federation of United Nations Staff Associations in Mexico
  • FUNSA New Delhi - Federation of United Nations Staff Associations in New Delhi, India
  • FUNSA Nigeria - Federation of United Nations Staff Associations in Nigeria
  • FUNSA Sao Tome et Principe - Federation of United Nations Staff Associations in Sao Tome et Principe
  • Funsa United Nations Staff Federation in Sudan - UNSF Sudan
  • FUNSU Congo - Federation of the United Nations Staff Unions and Associations - DRC

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