CSAIO - exchanges and sharing of ideas for staff associations of international organisations and European agencies


In the autumn of each year, the two-day CSAIO conference (Conference of Staff Associations of International Organizations) is held for representatives of the staff associations of international organisations, mainly ones based in Europe, and also European agencies.

Creation, aims and developments

CSAIO, created by the Staff Associations of CERN and OCDE in 2000, allows some 30 staff associations to share their experiences and ideas in order to better understand the expectations and aspirations of members of personnel working in international and European organisations.

For more than six years, an informal follow-up to the themes discussed during the previous year has been become the customary set of topics of the first part of the conference. This follow-up allows for the sharing of issues related to the implementation and impact of proposals or measures in the respective organisations or agencies – including those that originated from the associations and the management.

During the remaining time, the conference deals with a series of specific themes, identified by the participants. A presentation of 15 to 20 minutes launch each debate, allowing everyone to understand and become familiar with the approach developed in another organisation or agency.

We have observed that staff associations, at CERN or elsewhere, are often a force for proposal and progress.

All the presentations and legal analyses can be consulted on CSAIO website, which includes all the interventions since the first conference.

24th edition in November 2023

In 2023, for the first time after two consecutive years of video conferences, the event was again held in person at Eurocontrol headquarters in Brussels.

The three themes discussed were:

  • Medical and social protection scheme: the international organisations offer medical and social protection to staff members, within the framework of the Staff Rules and Regulations. This covers health cover for staff and members of their families, as well as benefits relating to parenthood, old age and invalidity. Specific internal regulatory procedures also cover sickness and accidents in the workplace. This cover is essential for the protection of civil servants who have been detached from their social and medical protection system in their country of residence.Particular attention should be paid to short-term contracts, where this cover ceases once the contract has ended. Medical examinations on arrival and departure, and the resulting exclusions from death and disability cover, are also points that should not be overlooked. A comparison of our different systems, in terms of both shortcomings and good practice, can enable us to take stock and establish areas for discussion with our respective administrations.
  • New world of work: Covid-19 is still fresh in our minds and has profoundly changed the way we work over the last 4 years. Administrations have proposed changes to the way we work, in terms of work organisation, meetings and official travel. In particular, teleworking has become the norm for many of us. What are the implications for management and the organisation of our teams? Are there any lessons to be learned? Are other arrangements in place in your Organisations (flexible working hours, staggered working hours, compressed working week, etc.)? It is very interesting to be able to compare practices and regulatory changes that have been put in place or are under discussion between management and staff representatives.
  • Staff Associations / Committees: Staff Associations and Committees are a statutory part of the workings of our international organisations. They play a vital role in the relations and discussions that govern the employment and working conditions of all staff. The collective and individual defence of staff affected by decisions taken by the Organisation is also an important part of the remit of staff defence bodies. A comparison of the various internal and external operating methods in our different organisations can enable us to establish effective operating models.

25th edition in 2024

The next conference will be held in the autumn. ESA in Frascati has volunteered to organise this 25th conference. This should be confirmed in the coming weeks. The Scientific Committee and the organisers are looking forward to seeing colleagues, from the associations of members of the personnel of international organisations and European agencies, in person for this second year after the Covid period. It is always more pleasant to meet together face-to-face, and to be able to discuss other subjects of concern during coffee breaks and lunch.

The meeting of the different families of organisations is always a time to compare progress or setbacks and to gain valuable information from the experiences of diverse participants.

We extend our thanks to the Scientific Committee and the secretariats of the OCDE and CERN Staff Association for organising this edition, which we are certain will be rich in information exchange and the sharing of viewpoints and ideas, where we look forward to once again encountering participants either in person or virtually.