Ethics Office

On 9 October 2009, UNESCO established the Ethics Office located in UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, France, to assist and provide counsel to the Organization and its personnel on ethics and standards of conduct, both at UNESCO Headquarters and in the Field Offices and Institutes around the world.

To ensure its independence from all UNESCO Sectors and Central Services, the Ethics Office reports directly to the Director-General.

Who we are

The Ethics Office promotes an ethical organizational culture based on our shared values of integrity, professionalism and respect for diversity. We are:

  • Independent from management and all other services.
  • Impartial in how we treat individuals.
  • Confidential with information that is entrusted to us.​
  • Professional in our dealings with our stakeholders.

All employees, regardless of rank or contractual status, can feel free to consult on ethical issues, including harassment, or report unethical behavior. ​ We offer protection for those who do so in good faith.

What we do

The Ethics Office is responsible for providing confidential advice and guidance on ethics to the Organization and its personnel on the following:

  • conflicts of interest 
  • moral and sexual harassment
  • abuse of power or authority
  • discrimination

The Office is also responsible for: 

  •  the protection of UNESCO employees for reporting misconduct and/or for cooperating with audits or investigations through its Anti-Retaliation Policy 
  •  the development and implementation of the Declaration of Interest and Financial Disclosure Programme 
  • delivering training sessions on ethics, standards of conduct and harassment related issues to all employees of the Organization. The training sessions are designed to empower staff and management to take responsibility for their actions and for making informed and ethical decisions in many situations

What we don’t do

The Ethics Office is not responsible for taking administrative decisions regarding employment matters, and we can’t conduct investigations either.

Why an ethics office?

Rules and regulations can never cover every possible scenario. That is why the Ethics Office was established to assist UNESCO’s employees, at Headquarters and in the Field, in identifying any potential ethical dilemma so that appropriate steps can be taken to prevent problems before they arise.

The Ethics Office assists UNESCO’s personnel in upholding ethical standards perform to the highest standards of integrity as required by the UNESCO Constitution and UNESCO’s Staff Regulations and Staff Rules since the reputation of UNESCO is determined by its personnel. Establishing an ethical culture in the Organization will enhance UNESCO’s internal climate of trust and transparency.

The Ethics Office believes that by establishing a strong ethical working environment, UNESCO personnel will be motivated to perform to their highest standards and the job satisfaction on our personnel will increase. 

Vacancies at the UNESCO Ethics Office

For an overview of work opportunities and a list of the currently advertised vacancies at UNESCO, please visit UNESCO’s employment page. The site provides detailed information to guide you through the online application process.

The Ethics periodically hires interns to work on projects. We are currently looking for candidates with the following qualifications:

  • Advanced university degree in law, international relations or political sciences
  • Excellent knowledge of English and good working knowledge of French
  • Excellent communication skills 
  • High sense of confidentiality and discretion.
  • The candidate must be enrolled in a graduate or post-graduate degree program in a university or equivalent institution at the time of application

Interested candidates are encouraged to download the post description. Candidates must also apply to the general intership program here.