The Ethics Office was created in 2009 as an independent office to assist the Commissioner-General in fostering an ethical environment, whereby all staff and personnel can observe and perform their functions with the highest standards of integrity, as required by the Charter of the UN, the Standards of Conduct for the International Civil Service, the Area and International Staff Rules and Regulations and UNRWA’s code of ethics .
The Ethics Office aims to foster a secure, confidential environment, where all UNRWA staff and personnel feel free to consult on ethical issues and/or dilemmas they may face while performing their duties, as well as speak up without fear of retaliation. The Ethics Office fulfils this mission by providing services to management and individual staff members in the following six areas:
Confidential ethics advice and guidance:
Providing practical ethics advice to UNRWA staff and personnel is one of the most critical areas of work for the Ethics Office. This includes a broad range of issues, including conflicts of interest, engagement in outside activities, prohibited conduct (harassment, including sexual harassment, discrimination, and abuse of power), workplace issues and other employment-related concerns.
Financial and outside interest disclosure:
The Ethics Office helps prevent conflicts of interest through annual financial and outside interest disclosure for staff in positions of authority, or which entail financial decision-making.
Protection against retaliation (PaR):
The UNRWA PaR Policy encourages staff to report misconduct and/or cooperate with authorized audits or investigations, without fear of retaliation. The Ethics Office supports the Department of Internal Oversight Services (DIOS) in implementing this policy by working with staff who believe that they have suffered retaliation. In addition to providing relevant advice, the Ethics Office also carries out preliminary assessments for retaliation complaints and with recommends (interim) remedies to protect the interests of affected staff. If you believe you have been retaliated against, reach out to us confidentially at [email protected].
Training, education and outreach:
The first step in building and maintaining an ethical work environment is awareness. Knowing and internalizing the UN and UNRWA values, standards and principles is essential for understanding, and ultimately, modelling ethical behaviour. As such, the Ethics Office raises awareness and conducts training on ethical standards and expected behaviour through mandatory online learning courses, face-to-face training, workshops and targeted training support.
Policy support and standard setting:
The Ethics Office advises and supports management in the development of policies, strategies, and standards that promote integrity.
Coordination on sexual misconduct:
The Ethics Office also has a number of responsibilities related to the Agency’s policies on protection from sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA) of beneficiaries and on the prohibition of discrimination, harassment – including sexual harassment – and abuse of power in the work context.
The Ethics Office is administratively attached to the Executive Office, although it operates with full independence, impartiality and confidentiality, as required by ST/SGB/2007/11 and provided in the Organizational Directive No. 30.
The Ethics Office provides regular updates on its work plan and achievements to the Advisory Committee of Internal Oversight (ACIO), which represents a measure of oversight with respect to its functioning and further enhances the independence of the Office.
The Ethics Office is also a member of and collaborates with the Ethics Panel of the United Nations (EPUN) to promote coherence of UNRWA’s ethics-related policies, strategies and standards with those of the UN Secretariat and the other funds and programmes.
Chief, Ethics Office
Senior Ethics Officer
SExual Misconduct Task Force Coordinator