JIU Inspectors Eileen Cronin and Aicha Afifi introduced the Review of Whistle-Blower Policies and Practices at UNOG Executive Briefing

Representatives of 26 member States and eight organizations took part in the UNOG Executive Briefing on Tuesday, 25 September 2018 in Geneva.

The UNOG Executive Briefings are designed to bring to Geneva’s diplomatic community and United Nations system organizations the views of key senior officials of the United Nations and its partners. This session focused on whistle-blowing and protection against retaliation (PAR) policies and practices as essential components of organizational accountability and integrity. It was organized following the issuance of a Joint Inspection Unit report that finds that no United Nations system organization fully applies best practices, raising the risk of impunity for misconduct and substantive harm to organizational reputation and operations.

At the meeting, the Inspectors emphasized the main findings, conclusions and recommendations of the report. In addition to outlining the best practices criteria for written policies, the review identified that the key functions supporting the implementation of PAR policies may not be fully independent, and reporting and case-handling procedures are often vague, unclear and delayed. Poor handling of cases, as well as fear of retaliation and personal risks and fears, yield under-reporting and reduce personnel satisfaction when cases are reported. In their statement, the Inspectors emphasized the importance of the “tone at the top” for facilitating change, in that organizational leadership must develop and support a culture of accountability and integrity.

During the discussion following the presentation, six representatives of member states and organizations welcomed the JIU review, noting the importance of the topic and emphasizing the comprehensive approach to the issues addressed in the report. Participants requested clarifying information on the report methodology and data sources, and inquired on future follow-up on the recommendations made. The Inspectors responded that the JIU web-based tracking system monitors organizations’ progress on implementing recommendations, and that reviews covering related topics are in process and planned. Read the report Review of whistle-blower policies and practices in United Nations system organizations.