Zero tolerance for Harassment, Sexual Harassment, Discrimination, and Abuse of Authority

Zero tolerance for Harassment, Sexual Harassment, Discrimination, and Abuse of Authority

December 11, 2019

UNDP is committed to creating and maintaining a working environment that respects the inherent dignity of all persons, affording them the opportunity to reach their fullest potential and empowering them to deliver the best possible results for UNDP and the people we serve. Every person working for UNDP has the right to be treated with dignity and respect, and to work in a safe environment free from harassment, sexual harassment, abuse, and discrimination. UNDP does not, and will not, tolerate harassment, sexual harassment, discrimination, and abuse of authority in any form. UNDP personnel1 exhibiting such behaviour or conduct may be subject to administrative, disciplinary or contractual measures, up to and including dismissal, as appropriate

Responsibilities of UNDP personnel

1.    UNDP personnel must:

a)    Be respectful to others and maintain the highest standards of conduct;

b)    Maintain a harmonious working environment by behaving in a manner that is free of intimidation, hostility, offence and any form of prohibited conduct;

c)    Familiarize themselves with UNDP’s policies, including an understanding of what constitutes prohibited conduct. In addition, UNDP personnel must take mandatory courses related to prohibited conduct, as determined by the Organization.

d)    Be aware of the various options and internal channels available to them for reporting and/or otherwise addressing such behaviours; and

e)    Respect confidentiality and fully cooperate with those responsible for investigating reports of prohibited conduct under this policy.

Responsibilities of Managers and Supervisors

2.    Managers and Supervisors have special obligations to prevent and deter prohibited conduct and must:

a)    Create a safe and harmonious working environment, free of intimidation, hostility, offence and any form of prohibited conduct. In order to achieve such an environment, managers and supervisors must act as role models by upholding only the highest standards of conduct.

b)    Communicate the present policy to all UNDP personnel, ensure that they take relevant mandatory courses and certification, and act as a resource for UNDP personnel and external personnel.

c)    Address, report and escalate alleged incidents of prohibited conduct consistent with the present policy.

d)    Ensure that incidents of prohibited conduct are promptly addressed through appropriate channels. In such cases, managers and supervisors must demonstrate fairness, impartiality, and

be free from intimidation or favouritism; managers should not attempt to pre-investigate allegations.

e)    Ensure that all discussions, communications and actions are handled with extreme discretion, sensitivity and utmost confidentiality; and

f)     Ensure appropriate action is taken to prevent UNDP personnel from retaliation.

3.    While consensual, intimate relationships between UNDP personnel are generally not prohibited, managers and supervisors should recognize that such relationships are not appropriate where one person manages, reviews or takes administrative decisions concerning the other person, is subordinate to the other person in the same line of reporting/authority, or is in a position in which some other conflict of interest may arise.  The parties to any such relationship must disclose in writing to the next level up in their management and may consult the Ethics Office for advice.

Responsibilities of UNDP

4.    UNDP shall make available appropriate learning resources to all UNDP personnel to ensure awareness of key provisions of this policy, standards of conduct, values and forms.

5.    UNDP will ensure that timely and appropriate action — including action to protect the safety and well- being of the complainant4— is taken when prohibited conduct is reported.

6.    UNDP will take timely and appropriate measures to protect UNDP personnel from retaliation for reporting prohibited conduct, when such protection is sought. Such measures may include the temporary or permanent suspension of the action alleged to be retaliatory, the temporary or permanent transfer of the accused or the complainant. Disciplinary action, when warranted, will be taken against UNDP personnel found to have engaged in retaliation.

Responsibilities of the Complainant

7.    Anonymous reporting by complainants is permitted under this policy. Complainants should be aware that anonymous reporting may make it more difficult for investigators to thoroughly investigate the allegations – despite their best efforts.

8.    The complaint must be made in good faith, which means that the person reporting the allegations of prohibited conduct must have a reasonable belief that misconduct has occurred. Intentionally making a false report, verbally or in writing, constitutes misconduct for which disciplinary measures may be imposed.

Reporting of prohibited conduct

9.    To report prohibited conduct, UNDP or external personnel may wish to first contact the Office of the Ombudsman who can guide them on their options under the current policy. Contacting the Office of the Ombudsman will not affect the right of UNDP personnel to file a formal complaint with OAI at any time. Sexual harassment may also be reported to the external sexual harassment helpline where the counseling and guidance on the process will be provided. See Annex I for details on how to contact these offices.

10.  Alternatively, UNDP personnel can contact OAI directly.

11.  There is no time limit for reporting sexual harassment.

12.  OAI is responsible for conducting preliminary assessments and investigations of complaints of prohibited conduct.

Annex 1.  Contact details


Office of the Ombudsman for United Nations Funds and Programmes

304 East 45th Street 6th Floor, Room FF-671 New York, NY 10017 USA

Telephone: +1 646 781 4083

Fax: +1 212 906 6281



Ethics Office

Helpline: +1-212-909-7840

Fax: +1-212–906-6153 Email:

Skype account:


Office of Audit and Investigation

Through an Online referral form

Through an independent telephone service:

+1 877 557 8685 (within the US)

+1 770 776 5678 (worldwide);

By e-mail at:

By regular mail to: Deputy Director (Investigations), Office of Audit and Investigations, One UN Plaza, New York, NY 10017, USA



General enquiries about the UNDP Policy on harassment, sexual harassment, discrimination and abuse of authority (OHR) can be made by e-mail to: