Conflicts of Interest

UNESCO employees are likely to face ethical dilemmas entailing a conflict of interest at some time. Some conflicts of interest may be complex, and difficult to identify.

In general, UNESCO personnel should strive to avoid situations where it can be perceived to benefit, directly or indirectly, or allow a third party to benefit, from the decisions they make. Even where such a perception is not warranted, UNESCO employees need to be aware of how their decisions, in the absence of explanation, could appear to others.

Possible fields of Conflicts of Interest

  • Honours, Gifts and Remuneration
  • Favouritism
  • Outside Employment and Activities
  • Use of Privileged Information
  • Use of UNESCO Property and Assets

Some conflict of interest situations do not necessarily imply any wrongdoing. However, if they are not identified and managed appropriately, they can compromise our work and the Organization's integrity. It is of utmost importance that the independence and impartiality of official decision-making is preserved at all times. Conflicts of interest can only be appropriately avoided or resolved by clearly placing the interests of the Organization above personal interests.

In order to avoid financial conflicts of interest, the Ethics Office is currently developing a Financial Disclosure Programme for UNESCO staff members who are in a position of authority, or hold specific postions which entail financial decision-making responsibilities.

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