Addressing Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment results from a culture of discrimination and privilege, based on unequal gender relations and power dynamics. It has no place in the United Nations system. Leaders of UN System organizations reiterate their firm commitment to uphold a zero-tolerance approach to sexual harassment; to strengthen victim-centred prevention and response efforts; and to foster a safe and inclusive working environment.
 
CEB STATEMENT ON 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.

In May 2018, CEB issued a CEB Statement on Addressing Sexual Harassment within the Organizations of the UN System in which UN system leaders unequivocally declaring their firm commitment to upholding a zero-tolerance approach to sexual harassment.

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.

  • a factsheet of all task force initiatives is available at the bottom of the page (updated july 2020)

  • The Task Force is currently in its second phase of work and is implementing its workplan for 2020-2021, which was endorsed by HLCM in fall 2020 (the workplan is available at the bottom of the page).

News

New Facilitators' guide: A SESSION ON VALUES, ATTITUDES AND ORGANIZATIONAL CULTUREIN RELATION TO PREVENTION OF SEXUAL MISCONDUCT (SEXUAL EXPLOITATION AND ABUSE AND SEXUAL HARASSMENT)Facilitators' Guide

 

Now available: Investigators' Manual for the Investigation of Sexual Harassment Complaints in the United Nations Investigators' Manual

Peer To Peer Learning Event: Making zero tolerance a reality: Driving organizational culture change to prevent and eliminate sexual harassment

This event was part of the CEB Task Force on addressing sexual harassment within the Organizations of the UN system‘s ongoing efforts to engage actors from within and outside of the UN to strengthen approaches and actions on sexual harassment. This is the objective of the Task Force’s outreach and knowledge sharing efforts. The meeting was jointly organized by the CEB Task Force on Addressing Sexual Harassment, the UN Secretariat and UN Women.

For more information, find the report of the event here and watch the recording of the event here, using the password B2?4#r=z

CSW Side-Event: Making zero tolerance a reality: Peer to peer learning on prevention and elimination of sexual harassment

On March 17 2021 a peer-to-peer learning dialogue on the latest work of the Chief Executives Board (CEB) Task Force on Addressing Sexual Harassment within the Organizations of the UN system, as well as of the Civil Society partners and UN Member States took place during the Commission on the Status of Women. The event explored collaboration to address, prevent and, ultimately, eradicate sexual harassment. It is was jointly organized by the Permanent Mission of Sierra Leone to the United Nations, the Group of Friends to Eliminate Sexual Harassment, the CEB Task Force on Addressing Sexual Harassment, the UN Secretariat and UN Women.

For more information, find the report of the event here and watch the recording of the event here, using the password $f0&rcxA

Dialogue with UN Member States on Addressing Sexual Harassment

Panelists discuss how to eradicate sexual harassment in the UN system and beyond

A dialogue between Member States and the CEB Task Force on Addressing Sexual Harassment within the Organizations of the United Nations took place virtually on 8 February 2021 as part of the ongoing efforts to strengthen actions to addressing sexual harassment within the UN system and beyond. Find out more

Policies and guidance

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.

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.

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.

ClearCheck Database

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.

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.

In addition, to strengthen investigative capacity for sexual exploitation and sexual harassment cases across the United Nations entities and partners, the CEB and IASC Secretariats brought together heads and senior staff of investigatory bodies, from the CEB Task Force and of the IASC. The objectives of the joint meetings were to foster constructive dialogue and closer coordination between investigatory bodies, harmonise standards, align methods, ensure consistency, strengthen capacities throughout the aid sector, and integrate a victim-centred approach.

The Task Force's sub-group on investigations, under the lead of OIOS and with the input of a wide range of actors, has developed a Manual for investigations of sexual harassment, which will lay the foundation for consistent, effective and efficient investigations. This tool, approved by the High-level Committee on Management in March 2021, is also the fruit of the effort of the Task Force to put victims/survivors at the center of efforts to address sexual harassment in the UN system. The Manual is looking to reduce the burden for victims/survivors, for which the investigation process can be difficult. It is also intended to be a living document, taking into account emerging evidence and is at the disposal of the UN system's diverse partners in the spirit of knowledge sharing.

  • Addressing Sexual Harassment
  • Business Operations
  • High-Level Committee on Management (HLCM)

Documents

  • CEB Task Force Sexual Harassment - Factsheet (July 2020)

    PDF | 168.93 KB

  • Workplan Sexual Harassment Task Force 2020-2021.pdf

    PDF | 142.12 KB

  • Report_CSW Side Event_Making Zero Tolerance a Reality_20210317.pdf

    PDF | 164.69 KB

  • Investigators Manual_print.pdf

    PDF | 513.1 KB

  • Investigators Manual_screen.pdf

    PDF | 501.48 KB

  • Report Peer to Peer Dialogue Event 3 May 2021.pdf

    PDF | 163.5 KB

  • Facilitators' Guide - Organizational Culture Session Sexual Misconduct.pdf

    PDF | 333.59 KB

Related resources

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Content type
  • High-Level Committee on Management (HLCM)

    Session Report

  • Dialogue with UN Member States on Addressing Sexual Harassment

  • Chief Executives Board (CEB)

    2020 Annual Overview Report

  • High-Level Committee on Management (HLCM)

    Session Report

  • High-Level Committee on Management (HLCM)

    Strengthening Investigative Capacity and Improving Investigations of Sexual Harassment

  • High-Level Committee on Management (HLCM)

    Briefing Note on Clear Check

  • High-Level Committee on Management (HLCM)

    UN System Code of Conduct

  • High-Level Committee on Management (HLCM)

    Clear Check Screening Tool: Standard Operating Procedure

  • High-Level Committee on Management (HLCM)

    Agenda: 2nd Joint Meeting of IASC and CEB Task Force on Sexual Harassment, 4 November 2019, Geneva