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2 March 2018 - FICSA flash news N°3 on the current ACPAQ session in New York

Dear Colleagues,

Day three (28 February) of the current ACPAQ session, where post adjustment issues are being discussed, was devoted entirely to the agenda item entitled "Review of the methodology for compilation of the housing index:  the calculation of the rent index for group I duty stations."

It is recalled that the rent element of the 2016 cost-of-living surveys was one of the most controversial parts of the surveys conducted in headquarters duty stations.  Instead of basing house/apartment rental costs on national statistics and indexes, the International Civil Service Commission (ICSC) uses data taken from the International Service for Remunerations and Pensions (ISRP).  Following the 2016 cost-of-living survey conducted in Geneva, senior statisticians nominated by the HR Network found that the ISRP data used for the survey indicated a significant downward trend in rents for the period covered by the survey (2010 - 2016) while the rent statistics gathered and published by the Statistical Office of the Canton of Geneva for the same period revealed a steep upward trend in rents.  After lengthy discussions, this anomaly has still not been properly explained by the ICSC Secretariat. To enhance transparency, FICSA requested that members of the Local Survey Committee should be involved in the selection of the neighbourhoods in the future.

Late in the afternoon, when the discussions intensified, it was decided that a smaller group of participants comprised mainly of statisticians would meet informally tomorrow morning (1 March) in order to explore whether any progress could be made in the discussions.

With best regards,

The FICSA delegation to the ACPAQ session (Brett Fitzgerald and Imed Zabaar)