Ethics Advice and Guidance
Use of UN Property and Assets
As staff members, we should only use the property and assets of the Organization for official purposes. We are expected to exercise reasonable care when utilizing the UN’s property and assets.
Each of us is responsible for the appropriate use and protection of United Nations property and assets. These include human, financial and material resources such as facilities, equipment, supplies, and other organizational resources. All UN property and assets should be used with care for purposes directly related to official objectives and duties. For example, you should not ask a staff member under your supervision to run your personal errands. Any careless or improper use of United Nations resources whatsoever — whether involving the large-scale abuse of a procurement exercise or the abuse of uncertified sick-leave — is incompatible with honesty and integrity.
The UN recognizes that certain activities of a personal nature can only reasonably be undertaken during working hours. Many staff members, particularly in field missions, face the reality that they must perform certain official tasks after-hours and during their personal time. In this context, we must responsibly maintain a reasonable balance in how UN resources are used.
Information and Communication Technology (ICT) resources are assets of the UN that should be used predominately for official UN purposes. However, limited personal use of ICT resources is permitted provided that it:
- Is consistent with the highest standard of conduct for international civil servants. For instance, using ICT resources for obtaining or distributing pornography, engaging in gambling, or downloading audio or video files to which a staff member is not legally entitled to have access are examples of unacceptable use of UN resources;
- Does not compromise the interests or the reputation of the Organization;
- Involves minimal additional expense to the Organization;
- Takes place during personal time or, if during working hours, does not significantly impinge on such working hours; and
- Does not adversely affect the ability of the authorized user or any other authorized user to perform his or her official functions.
Staff members must respond fully to requests for information from staff members and other officials of the Organization authorized to investigate possible misuse of funds, waste or abuse.
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