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. 

The Ethics Office is headed by the Ethics Advisor, Mr Jean-Paul Proulx.  

Following the departure of Mr. Jean-Paul Proulx, the Director-General has decided to entrust Ms. Wendy Watson-Wright, Executive Secretary of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission and Assistant Directo-General UNESCO (ADG/IOC) with the responsabilities of the post of Ethics Advisor ad interim until such time as the post is filled. The duties of this post will be carried out in addition to her other responsabilities.

The decision took effect as of 5 September 2013.

Contact information: ethics(at)

Why does UNESCO need an Ethics Office?

The Ethics Office is implementing a system of ethics based on principles, since rules and regulations can never cover every possible scenario. Ethical principles are the foundation for appropriate rules and conduct. Indeed, the public sector is key to promoting integrity, since the reputation and performance of public institutions, like UNESCO, are determined by the conduct and the work of their personnel.

What does the Ethics Office 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
  • the management of the Financial Disclosure Programme (FDP)
  • 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
  • delivering training sessions on ethics, standards of conduct and harassment related issues to all employees of the Organization
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