Code of conduct for UNFCCC conferences meetings and events

Code of conduct for UNFCCC conferences, meetings and events

Background

1.       UNFCCC conferences, meetings and events are professional, respectful and harassment-free environments for all participants, regardless of, inter alia, gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, ethnicity, race, national origin, age, or religion.

Purpose

2.       The purpose of this Code is to communicate that harassment of participants in any form, including sexual harassment, will not be tolerated and every participant is expected to conduct themselves in a professional, respectful and responsible manner at all times.

Applicability

3.       This code of conduct (‘Code’) applies to all attendees, including visitors, of UNFCCC conferences, meetings or events, within the premises under the auspices of the United Nations (‘UN premises’). If a complaint is made against a UN staff member, then appropriate UN regulations and rules will apply.

Prohibited conduct

4.       Conduct that constitutes, or could reasonably lead or contribute to, harassment because of, inter alia, an individual’s gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, ethnicity, race, national origin, age, or religion is prohibited (‘prohibited conduct’).

5.       Examples of harassment include, but are not limited to:

           o   Use of ethnic slurs or derogatory terms relating to an individual’s gender or sexual orientation;

           o   Distribution of racially offensive e-mails or other electronic communications;

           o   Threatening, intimidating, or hostile acts directed at a particular group or an individual because of, for example, their sexual orientation, gender, ethnicity or religion.

6.       Sexual harassment is a specific type of prohibited conduct. It is any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature. Sexual harassment may be any conduct of a verbal, including via electronic or telephonic means, nonverbal or physical nature and may occur between persons of the opposite or same sex. Men and women may perpetrate or be subject to sexual harassment.

7.       Examples of such conduct include, but are not limited to:

          o   Unwelcome sexual flirtations, advances or propositions;

          o   Uninvited and unwelcome touching of an individual’s body;

          o   Unwelcome comments about an individual’s body or appearance;

          o   Sexually degrading words used to describe an individual however communicated;

          o   The use of the Internet to display or distribute sexually explicit images or messages;

          o   Uninvited comments of a sexual nature on social media, whether private or public.

8.       Harassment, including sexual harassment, does not require intent for it to be considered harassment. Inappropriate conduct or language meant as a joke or even a compliment can lead or contribute to harassment, including sexual harassment.

Complaint process

9.       If an incident of prohibited conduct occurs within UN premises, then the person who is the target of possible prohibited conduct or any third party who has direct knowledge of the possible prohibited conduct (‘witness’) should promptly report it to the person(s) or service identified for this purpose by the UNFCCC (‘Focal Point’).

10.     In the case of Conferences of the Parties and sessions of the subsidiary bodies, the Focal Point is the United Nations Department of Safety and Security (‘UN DSS’) and a dedicated telephone number for reporting is published in the Daily Programme, on the UNFCCC website and on CCTV. For other meetings or events, the head of security or the organizer is the Focal Point and their contact information will be identified in meeting information.

11.     If an incident of prohibited conduct occurs outside UN premises, the person who is the target or witness of possible prohibited conduct may contact the Focal Point who, as a courtesy, will connect the person who is the target or witness of possible prohibited conduct to the local security authorities who will then address the complaint in accordance with the applicable laws of that country.

12.     If an incident of prohibited conduct occurs either within or outside UN premises during a conference, meeting or event, then the person who is the target of or witness to the prohibited conduct is encouraged to report it promptly through the channels referred to in paragraphs 10 and 11 above. While reporting is encouraged at any time, reporting after the conference, meeting or event has ended and attendees have departed limits the options for action that can be taken.

13.     The Focal Point will gather and record relevant information in a written account of the incident, taking into consideration any applicable United Nations or United Nations entity regulations and rules.  If a witness reports the incident, the views and situation of the person who is the target of possible harassment will be taken into consideration. At all times, the safety and well-being of the person who is the target of possible harassment is a priority.

14.     As a guide, the following is the minimum information typically required to commence an investigation: name or other identifying information of alleged perpetrator; date and location of the incident; a description of what happened; if there were witnesses, their names.

Response to a complaint

15.     Once it is completed, the Focal Point conveys the written account of the incident to the organiser of the event and Chief of Security, if applicable, for such action as may be appropriate. If an incident of prohibited conduct occurs within UN premises, the person who is accused of harassment will be requested by the Focal Point to immediately stop the offending behaviour.

16.     In response to a credible complaint, a person who breaches the Code may have their registration revoked or access privileges suspended and be removed from the venue; and may be refused registration or access at future conferences, meetings or events; or both.

17.     If a UN staff member breaches the Code, then UN regulations and rules shall apply.

No retaliation

18.     Threats or other intimidation against a person who has made a complaint or provided information in support of complaint will not be tolerated.

19.     Consequences for retaliation include revoking registration and/or access privileges and removal from UN premises; or refusal to register and/or allow access at future conferences; or both.