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2012: marking 10 years of ombudsman services in the Secretariat


Since 2002, when the function of United Nations Ombudsman was established in the Secretariat, many things have changed — the Office now includes a mediation service and seven regional branches that serve colleagues away from Headquarters — but the objective remains the same: to empower staff to resolve workplace conflicts early and constructively.

It’s an objective that cannot be achieved by any single entity alone: you too can play a role in developing a more collaborative workplace in the United Nations.

Some things you can do to empower yourself and contribute to a positive working environment:

  1. Keep in mind that conflict is a part of life and that it can be an opportunity to clarify opinions and roles.
  2. When conflicts arise, address them. Avoidance often results in a problem festering or escalating until it is much harder to resolve.
  3. Remember that there are always at least two versions of a story.
  4. Listen to others. Attentively.
  5. Show respect for diversity in all its forms.
  6. Remember that people have different communication styles.
  7. Take advantage of conflict resolution training opportunities.
  8. If you are facing a problem and don’t know what your options are, get in touch with us: contacting an ombudsman is always a safe first step!