About the Ethics Office
Who we are
The Ethics Office offers five lines of service:
- Confidential ethics advice
- Ethics awareness and education
- Protection against retaliation for reporting misconduct
- Financial disclosure programme
- Promotion of coherence and common ethics standards across the UN family
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:
- May I accept this gift from a government official? To refuse would be an insult in my country.
- I already accepted a gift. What do I do now?
- Can I take a second, weekend job to earn some additional income?
- May my spouse work for the UN?
- How involved can I be in my country’s political scene?
- I have been asked to serve on the board of directors of an NGO that I support. Is that OK?
- How do I know what misconduct looks like?
- I might lose my job if I come forward. How can you protect me?
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 tone at the top"
- Inadequate accountability mechanisms
- Concern about whistleblower protection
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.