Ending sexual harassment at UN events

Monday, 29 July 2019

Tuesday, 23 July 2019 | Worldwide | DMSPC 

Advancing the Secretary-General’s “zero tolerance” vision, and priority agenda to address sexual harassment in the workplace,  a Model Code of Conduct has been developed to prevent harassment, including sexual harassment, at UN system events.

Developed through Chief Executives Board (CEB) Task Force on sexual harassment and adopted by the High-Level Committee for Management (HLCM) on behalf of the CEB, the Model Code aims to raise awareness of the standards of conduct expected from and towards all participants at UN system events.

Launching the Code at an event hosted by the Permanent Mission of the UK on 15 July, UK Ambassador Karen Pierce welcomed the Model Code and the collaborative process undertaken in its development. “This is a Code for us all, and that we can all be proud of,” she said. “We at the UK Mission will abide by the Code and we encourage other Missions to do the same.”

Under-Secretary-General for Management Strategy, Policy and Compliance Jan Beagle said “The goal of the Code is to help prevent incidents, as well as to support anyone who feels they have been subject to or witness of harassment, including sexual harassment, at UN events. The Code provides a practical means to encourage system-wide organizational culture change.”

Extensive consultation took place across the system in the development of the Code, including through the Ambassadorial Group of Friends against Sexual Harassment co-chaired by France, Israel, Kenya and the Netherlands, which provided critical review and guidance. “We can say today that this is our collective achievement and it will make an important difference,” said Koki Muli Grignon, Deputy Permanent Representative of Kenya. The Model Code applies to all UN system events and all events held on UN system premises including meetings, conferences and symposia, assemblies, receptions, scientific and technical events, expert meetings, workshops, exhibits, side events and any other forum hosted or sponsored in whole or part by a UN system entity wherever it takes place. It also applies to any event or gathering that takes place on UN system premises whether or not a UN system entity is organizing, hosting or sponsoring.

The Model Code of Conduct is not a legal document but aims to prevent harassment from occurring at UN system events by sharing expectations of standards of conduct in advance of an event, as well as to support victims by ensuring they are aware that harassment is not tolerated at UN system events and what steps they can take if they are harassed or witness harassment.

Acknowledging that each UN system entity has a policy and regulatory framework that may require adjustment to the Model Code in practice, the ‘Model’ is therefore designed to be adapted by UN system entities and others organising events on UN system premises as they consider appropriate to best serve a particular event or context.

With the launch of the Model code, organizations of the United Nations system are emphasizing commitment to enabling events at which everyone can participate in an inclusive, respectful and safe environment. Your support to uphold the Model Code of Conduct at events you organise or are associated with is encouraged! Related materials for use at UN events, to raise awareness of the Model Code of Conduct are available.