Core Principles

International civil servants working for UNESCO should share the principles and values of the agencies of the United Nations system. In order to ensure a common understanding of ethics and integrity among all UNESCO personnel, the Ethics Office has identified the following guiding principles:

1. Integrity

Integrity is a core value in all aspects of one's professional and personal life. Integrity includes, but is not limited to:

  • loyalty
  • impartiality
  • fairness
  • honesty
  • transparency 

These qualities provide a basis for ethical conduct and decision-making. As the integrity of UNESCO depends on the integrity of its workforce, UNESCO employees are expected to:

  • reflect the values of UNESCO in their activities and conduct
  • make decisions without consideration for personal gain
  • resist political pressure in decision-making
  • ensure power or authority is not abused
  • seek to promote the Organization’s interests at all times
  • take prompt and effective action to deal with unprofessional or unethical behaviour
  • make appointments and award contracts based on merit and transparency

2. Professionalism

High-standards of professionalism are required for UNESCO employees to fulfill their duties at UNESCO. They should:

  • show pride in their work
  • demonstrate the highest standards of competence
  • be conscientious and efficient in meeting goals and commitments
  • be motivated by professional objectives rather than personal concerns
  • show persistence when faced with problems or challenges
  • treat colleagues fairly and equally, with dignity and respect
  • encourage teamwork

3. Respect for diversity

UNESCO takes pride in the diversity of its workforce which brings together people from varied backgrounds, cultures and experiences. This diversity should be embraced and viewed as an advantage. UNESCO employees should:

  • work effectively with people from all backgrounds
  • show respect for and understanding of diverse points of view
  • avoid stereotyping
  • show no discrimination against any individual or group

4. Gender Equality

Gender equality is one of UNESCO’s two global priorities for its Medium-Term Strategy for the period 2008-2013.

UNESCO employees are expected to respect the dignity, worth and equality of all people without any distinction whatsoever. Assumptions based on stereotypes should be avoided and gender equality should continued to be promoted.

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