New York

10 July 2018

Secretary-General's message to the 10th Meeting of the Ethics Network of Multilateral Organizations (ENMO)

[Delivered by Under Secretary-General Maria Luiza Viotti, Chef de Cabinet]

Ms. Bonnie Green, Chair of ENMO, Ms. Elia Armstrong, Co-Chair of ENMO and Host of the 10th Meeting, Ms. Ursula Wellen, Vice-Chair of ENMO, Distinguished Members of the ENMO community,
It is a pleasure to greet the 10th Meeting of the Ethics Network of Multilateral Organizations.  I am glad that the UN Secretariat, through our Ethics Office, is able to host this milestone event.
You all play an important role in ensuring that international civil servants uphold the highest ethical standards.
As many of you represent independent offices, your voices carry weight in matters pertaining to integrity, transparency and accountability.  You provide valuable confidential advice on managing conflicts of interest, as well as content for ethics and anti-corruption training.  You are the driving force for financial disclosure exercises, put forward recommendations to protect “whistleblowers” and support wide-ranging policies that have integrity dimensions. 
This work is all the more crucial at a time when there is a crisis of public confidence in international organizations, national governments and aid agencies that rely on public funding in their efforts to help others around the world.  Although this crisis has complex and varied roots, many aspects of it are closely linked to your work.
At the onset of my mandate, I gave two strong signals on the priority I place on ethical conduct.
First, we improved the policy on protection against retaliation for reporting misconduct and cooperating with audits and investigations.  The policy enhancements provide stronger safeguards for personnel who come forward when something is wrong, and aim to instill a “speak-up” culture and strengthen accountability. 
Second, I established a four-pronged strategy to prevent Sexual Exploitation and Abuse and better respond to any incidents committed by those serving under the United Nations flag.  We are also taking determined steps against sexual harassment and to build a working environment based on dignity, equality and mutual respect.
The United Nations and other intergovernmental organizations have a double duty to demonstrate organizational integrity and professional ethics to our Member States and to the public at large.  These values form the foundation of the unique organizations we serve as well as the independent and impartial international civil service to which we belong.
Undoubtedly, you will continue to face many new challenges in carrying out your mandates.  But as in other professional communities, you can learn from one another through successes and setbacks alike.     
Thank you for contributing to ongoing efforts to enhance a culture of ethics and integrity in your organizations.  This Network plays a valuable role in promoting, collaboration among institutions and ethics professionals on issues of common concern.  Your discussions of successful practices, exchanges of materials, strategic planning and other initiatives can benefit all of us. 
Please accept my best wishes for a successful gathering.