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Ethics office

About the Ethics Office

Who we are

The Ethics Office offers five lines of service:

May I talk to you in private for a minute?

We provide the answers to questions that arise naturally from the work we do. Because of our varied cultures and norms, some of the answers may not seem so obvious, and we are here to help.

Some of the more common questions we get are:

The need for an ethics office in the UN

The UN must respond to public expectations. All public and private sector organizations face increasing scrutiny from citizens, shareholders and the news media. Given the explosion of new information and communication technologies, the rapid and global diffusion of ideas and practices, globalization, spreading democratization, and changing social values, the public expects greater accountability from the UN.

The UN also needs to respond to staff expectations. An integrity perception survey showed the top staff concerns to be:

The nature of the UN’s work has changed. In today's complex and rapidly-evolving environment, we must often make decisions with only incomplete information. The UN employs a multi-cultural staff in duty stations in every region of the world, making uniform ethical practice more challenging. The UN’s ethical values and principles serve as a reliable guide and foundation to making tough decisions.

The UN is the guardian of several new international standards addressing accountability and transparency, such as the UN Convention Against Corruption and the UN Global Compact. As such, we should practise what we preach. We need to preserve and invest in one of our greatest assets: moral credibility. A reputation for honesty and integrity is indispensable to the work we do.

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

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