How to Identify, Report and Manage Sexual Harassment, Abuse and Exploitation: An on-the-job Primer for UNDP Team members, partners and beneficiaries


UNDP's Position

Sexual Harassment is Prohibited Conduct or Misconduct at UNDP. UNDP's Policy on Harassment, Sexual Harassment, Discrimination, and Abuse of Authority sets out serious disciplinary measures for offenders found gulity after due process, and sets out significant protections for complainants who have filed complaints in good faith.

Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse is regarded as prohibited conduct or serious Misconduct. UNDP team members found guilty after due process face disiplinary measures up to dismissal and or prosecution by local authorities depending on the offence. There are also significant protections for complainants who have filed complaints in good faith.


An Obligation to Complain

What do I do if I as a UNDP Team Member witness or experience Sexual Harassment from other UNDP team members OR If I witness UNDP team members engaging in Sexual Abuse and Exploitation of partners and beneficiaries?



1. Make a formal complaint immediately to UNDP's Office of Audit and Investigations. All reports of sexual harassment will be prioritized by OAI.


2. Not yet ready to file a formal complaint? Explore your options or clarify issues

1. Talk to a trusted manager

2. Contact UNDP's new external, independent helpline for confidential information on the various options HERE

3. Contact the Office of the Ombudsman, Website

Telephone: +1 646 781 4083 Fax: +1 212 906 6281


Regular mail: Office of the Ombudsman, 304 East 45th Street 6th floor, New York, NY 10017, USA


Are you experiencing retaliation for filing a complaint?

Individuals who believe that retaliatory action has been threatened or taken against them may report their concern and request protection by contacting the Ethics Office and submitting a formal written (or email) for Request for Protection e-mail ( Address One United Nations Plaza, New York, NY, 10017, and can also be reached by telephone +1(212-909- 7840), or fax +1(212-906-6153). Website


UNDP Team members may at any time visit UNDP’s Intranet Portal for more information and resources on Sexual Harassment HERE

UNDP Team members may at any time visit UNDP’s Intranet Portal for more information and resources on Sexual Abuse and Sexual Exploitation HERE


How UNDP defines Sexual Harassment

Download Policy on Harassment, Sexual Harassment, Discrimination, and Abuse of Authority

Sexual Harassment is a form of harassment and is any unwelcome sexual advance, request for sexual favour, verbal or physical conduct or gesture of a sexual nature, or any other behaviour of a sexual nature that has or that might reasonably be expected or be perceived to cause offense or humiliation. Sexual harassment may result in an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment or is made a condition of employment. Sexual harassment normally implies a series of incidents. However, a one-time incident could fall within the definition of sexual harassment if it has an unambiguously offensive sexual character. Staff members with any gender identity can be either the injured party or the offender.

DOWNLOAD Examples of Sexual Harssment, Discrimination and Abuse of Authority


UNDP's Policy Position on Sexual Harassment

Any form of discrimination or harassment, including sexual or gender harassment, as well as physical or verbal abuse at the workplace or in connection with work, is prohibited." UNDP personnel exhibiting such behaviour or conduct may be subject to administrative, disciplinary or contractual measures, up to and including dismissal, as appropriate.


UNDP's Policy Position on Sexual Abuse and Sexual Exploitation by UNDP team members

Download SG's Bulletin on Sexual Abuse and Sexual Exploitation

Sexual exploitation is any actual or attempted abuse by UNDP personnel of a position of vulnerability, differential power, or trust, for sexual purposes, including, but not limited to, profiting monetarily, socially or politically from the sexual exploitation of another. Similarly, sexual abuse means the actual or threatened physical intrusion of a sexual nature by UNDP personnel, whether by force or under unequal or coercive conditions. All cases of sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA) are specifically addressed under the Secretary-General Bulletin ST/SGB/2003/13: Special Measures for Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse.


UNDP’s Policy on Retaliation for filing a complaint in good faith

Download Policy for Protection Against Retaliation

"Retaliation is any direct or indirect detrimental action recommended, threatened or taken against an individual because that individual engaged in a “Protected Activity” as defined in the UNDP Policy for Protection against Retaliation. Interim and permanent protective measures may also be implemented to ensure the victim of retaliation is shielded from current or future threats or acts of retribution. However, the legitimate application of regulations, rules or administrative policies, issuances or procedures, or the mere expression of disagreement, admonishment, criticism or a similar expression regarding work performance, conduct or related issues within a supervisory or similar relationship, do not constitute Retaliation. Retaliation is itself a separate act of misconduct and a violation of the UNDP Policy for Protection against Retaliation.


Caution. Be Honourable. Do not file complaints without basis

The dissemination of unsubstantiated or false rumors, or the submission of intentionally false or misleading allegations of wrongdoing, are not Protected Activities under UNDP's policies. These acts may constitute misconduct for which disciplinary or other appropriate measures, including summary dismissal or termination, may be imposed either in accordance with the UN Staff Regulations and Rules and administrative issuances (for staff members), or as are referenced within that individual’s contract.


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