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Ethics office

Ethics Advice and Guidance

Outside Employment and Activities

The image and reputation of the United Nations depends in large part on our conduct and behaviour. As staff members, we are expected to devote our time and energy to the work of the Organization. Outside employment and activities, paid or unpaid, may interfere with our ability to serve the UN. More importantly, some external activities are incompatible with our status as United Nations officials, or conflict with the best interests of the Organization. For these reasons, outside employment and activities are not permitted unless prior approval has been given by the Secretary-General.

We must be careful not to engage in activities that may adversely impact on the Organization, contradict our UN Core Values, or contravene our status as international civil servants. We can participate in local community, civic or charitable activities without the Secretary-General’s permission, provided that we are certain that they do not conflict with our status as international civil servants. Likewise, outside activities which are beneficial to both the Organization and staff members, such as the development of our professional and technical skills are encouraged. As private citizens, we may vote and belong to political parties. However, we must avoid political activities that may compromise our effectiveness in performing our duties and responsibilities for the Organization.

We are expected to maintain our status as international civil servants at all times, including periods of paid or unpaid leave. We must exercise sound judgment in our decisions and actions, and to seek ethics guidance or management permission before engaging in any kind of outside employment or activities.

Reference: ST/AI/2000/13 and ST/IC/2006/30

To contact us, please call our Helpline: +1-917-367-9858 or email us: ethicsoffice@un.org.

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