Addressing Sexual Harassment within the Organizations of the UN System

Harassment of any type is antithetical to the principles of the UN, and sexual harassment in particular undermines its credibility and degrades its staff. The Secretary-General and UN system leaders committed to a zero-tolerance approach to tackling sexual harassment, to strengthening victim-centred prevention and response efforts, and fostering a safe and inclusive working environment across the UN system.

To realize these commitments, the UN System Chief Executives Board for Coordination (CEB) established in November 2017 the CEB Task Force on Addressing Sexual Harassment within the organizations of the UN system (‘Task Force’), under the leadership of the former Under-Secretary-General for Management, Strategy, Policy and Compliance, and former Chair of the HLCM, Ms. Jan Beagle, to drive joint action in key priority areas. In September 2019, Ms. Kelly T. Clements, United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees and Vice-Chair of HLCM, has been appointed as interim Chair of the Task Force.


UN System Model Policy on Sexual Harassment

Developed by the CEB Task Force, the model policy, is expected to lead to the issuing of consistent and strengthened sexual harassment policies throughout the UN system. It includes, among others, model provisions for formal and informal reporting of sexual harassment, prevention, support to affected individuals, and protection against retaliation.

CEB, in November 2018, endorsed the UN System Model Policy on Sexual Harassment on recommendation of HLCM which had approved the model policy at its 36th session on 10-11 October 2018.

Screening Database “ClearCheck”

The Screening Database is a critical system-wide tool to avoid the hiring and re-hiring of individuals whose working relationship with an organization of the system ended because of a determination that they perpetrated sexual harassment. The Database also allows for the inclusion of individuals with pending allegations of sexual harassment who leave the organization before the completion of the investigation and/or disciplinary process.

Guide for Managers: Prevention of, and Response to, Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

This practical guide assists managers to fulfil their obligations to prevent and respond to sexual harassment in the workplace by providing a checklist of measures to take, possible signs of sexual harassment to watch out for and principles to follow when being approached with a complaint.

UN System Code of Conduct

The organizations of the United Nations system are committed to enabling events at which everyone can participate in an inclusive, respectful and safe environment. UN system events are guided by the highest ethical and professional standards, and all participants are expected to behave with integrity and respect towards all participants attending or involved with any UN system event.

Strengthening Investigative Capacity and Improving Investigations of Sexual Harassment

In November 2018, the Task Force established a Sub-working Group on Strengthening Investigative Capacity and Improving Investigations of Sexual Harassment within the Organizations of the UN System. Membership of the Sub-working Group was sought from those with responsibilities for undertaking investigations, taking decisions on disciplinary matters and providing legal advice. The Sub-working Group of 14 members is Chaired by the UN Office of International Oversight Services (UN/OIOS), with a steering group composed The World Bank Group), UN Office of Legal Affairs (UN/OLA), IAEA and UNHCR.

This page is maintained by HLCM and was last updated on Fri, 11/08/2019 - 16:34