Photo: UNDP/Fay Daoud

 

March 1 marks the annual Zero Discrimination Day, which underscores the organization's commitment to inclusivity and non-discrimination. UNDP fosters an inclusive culture where all its personnel have equal opportunities to contribute and progress without fear of biases and discrimination.

UNDP knows that an inclusive culture attracts the best talent. It allows the organization to deliver better results by tapping into wider perspectives, experiences and approaches. Fostering and using our diversity is one of the focus areas of our People for 2030 Strategy.

As part of our work to advance diversity and inclusion, promoting gender equality is a key pillar. During the last years, UNDP has made important progress in our programmes and our internal operations. Gender equality in UNDP means equality in representation, and also equal rights and opportunities for all our employees, irrespective of their gender identity.

Half of UNDP's staff, including leadership across the world, are women, yet challenges persist at some levels. We are exploring best practices to be more creative on ways to get make progress.

Enabling working environments

UNDP is taking concrete actions to create a working environment that is enabling, inducive and empowering to all employees. To achieve that, UNDP is revising its comprehensive Flexible Working Arrangements (FWA) Policy. These measures are proven to increase resource efficiency, foster organizational resilience, improve productivity, and elevate employee's well-being. Examples include telecommuting and compressed work schedules.

To support diversity and inclusion and prevent discrimination in its workplace, UNDP has tools that include a policy on harassment, sexual harassment, discrimination and abuse of authority, a strategy and an action plan. The four focus areas to address sexual harassment in the workplace are prevention, reporting and response, victim/survivor support, and accountability.

Advancing the inclusion of persons with disabilities and eliminating barriers that may hamper their opportunities to deliver at their full potential is also central to UNDP's efforts against discrimination. More than 15 percent of the world's population (one billion people) are persons with disabilities. Around 80 percent of them (about 800 million) live in developing countries. And anyone of us might experience disabling conditions in our lifetimes, as well as interact with relatives, friends or colleagues with disabilities.    

Inclusion of persons with disabilities

In accordance with the United Nations Disability Inclusion Strategy (UNDIS), UNDP has taken steps to advance the inclusion of persons with disabilities. Internally and externally, we have led on many initiatives aimed at creating a non-discriminatory and inclusive work environment.

Our recruitment systems are now fully accessible, and a funding mechanism to cover reasonable accommodation costs in our offices will soon be available. UNDP and UNV have jointly launched the UNDP-UNV Talent Programme for Young Professionals with Disabilities, the first of its kind in the UN system, seeking to enhance the employability and careers of these young professionals through work experience at UNDP offices. In 2019, 13 young professionals with disabilities have been deployed in offices across the globe, and recruitments are on-going.

Preventing discrimination

We also pay great attention to the specific challenges that LGBTI employees in UNDP may face. We work in collaboration with UN Globe, an organization that advocates for the equality and non-discrimination of LGBTI staff in the UN system and its peacekeeping operations, to further ensure their inclusion and support their mobility.

These are some of the efforts to promote diversity and inclusion and prevent discrimination across our organization. We in UNDP believe in respect and value of perspectives from people of all gender identities, diverse abilities and different backgrounds. We are 100 percent diversity and Zero Discrimination.

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