Supporting Strategies — Human Resources Management — Ethics



Training: As of 23 December 2019, 198 staff members had completed the online ethics course (Module 1: The ICAO Framework on Ethics), and 52 had completed the online ethics in leadership course (Module 2: Leadership). In 2020, the Acting Ethics Officer will revise the online ethics training courses to update the contents thereof to more accurately reflect the various changes that have occurred in the context of the Ethics Framework, including the changes pertaining to the Investigations Committee and the enhanced whistleblower and protection against retaliation provisions.


Advisory Services: The Ethics Office had 58 one-on-one meetings with staff wherein confidential ethics advice and guidance on a range of issues was provided. Provision of advisory services is undertaken in conjunction with other sources of advice such as the Ombudsperson, the Staff Association, and Human Resources Sections of the Bureau of Administration and Services (ADB).


Policy Advice: The Ethics Office provided advice to the Secretary General on: conflicts of interest, outside activities, acceptance of gifts, honours and remuneration, and the prevention of sexual abuse and exploitation. In addition, the Ethics Office continued to represent ICAO on the United Nations System Chief Executives Board for Coordination (CEB) task force on sexual harassment and provided advice to the Secretary General. The Ethics Office also provided advice and substantive support in the effort to reform the Ethics Framework in order to better align it with United Nations best practice. In this regard, the Ethics Office took a lead role in the development of C-WP/14973 and C-WP/14974 which were considered by the Council during its 218th Session.


Financial Disclosure: As required by the Framework on Ethics, certain categories of staff members were required to file an annual financial disclosure statement and a declaration concerning any potential conflicts of interest with the Ethics Officer. 100% of eligible staff complied in 2019.


International Network of Ethics Officers: The Ethics Office continued to actively participate in the Ethics Network of Multilateral Organizations (ENMO). Issues of particular interest to the network during the period under review included: sexual harassment; sexual exploitation and abuse; conflicts of interest; whistle-blower protection; mediation; benchmarking and best practices; harassment, and the United Nations Appeals Tribunal (UNAT).


Outreach and Prevention: In addition to the Ethics Office intranet page, which includes a range of multi-media tools to communicate the rules and values of the Organization and dedicated pages on diversity and inclusion, promoting a positive workplace, gender equality, training, the UN internal justice system and sexual harassment, 35 items (videos, posters and articles) were published on the ICAO intranet page on the following topics: conflicts of interest, diversity and inclusion, incivility and maintaining productive workplace relationships. Two town hall meetings on ethics were held in the period under review: one in January 2019 and a second in June 2019. At the invitation of the Secretary General, Ms. Elia Armstrong, Director of the UN Ethics Office, and
Mr. Ben Swanson, Director of the Investigations Division of the UN Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS), came to Montréal during the June town hall meeting to brief the Council and staff members on the ethics framework, investigations procedures, whistleblower and protection against retaliation policies and associated practices applicable in the UN.


Reports of Retaliation: No allegations or reports of retaliation were received in 2019.


Informal Complaints Received in 2019: Five informal allegations/complaints were received. All matters were dealt with informally through the provision of guidance and referral to the Ombudsperson and Human Resources.


Formal Allegations: In 2019, the Ethics Office handled a total of 36 formal allegations of misconduct comprising 24 new cases received in 2019 as well as 12 open cases carried over from 2018.


Status/Disposition of Cases in 2019: Of the total of 36 cases handled by the Ethics Office in 2019, seven cases were closed by the Investigations Committee; eight cases are currently under investigation; four cases were referred by the Investigations Committee to the Secretary General for administrative action; one case is pending decision of the Investigations Committee; and investigations have been completed/closed in two cases. Fourteen cases are currently under preliminary assessment by the Acting Ethics Officer. The bulk of these 14 complaints were received in November and December 2019.


Investigations Committee: The Investigations Committee established by the Council during the 214th Session held its first meeting on 14 February 2019. It will be recalled that the mandate of the Investigations Committee is to decide, based on majority, how to process allegations according to their different natures and whether or not to initiate an investigation into allegations of misconduct by a staff member. In accordance with paragraph 8 i) of C-DEC 214/11, a progress report on the implementation of the “new arrangements” including the Investigations Committee was presented to the Council during the 218th Session (C-WP/14974 refers). The Investigations Committee held five physical and two virtual meetings in 2019, and considered 20 cases (out of the total of 36 cases handled by the Ethics Office in 2019).


Status/Disposition of cases considered by the Investigations Committee:


​8 Under investigation
​4 Referred for Administrative Action
​6 Closed by the Investigations Committee
1 Closed by Ethics Officer as subject was not an ICAO Staff Member
​1 Closed following outcome of investigation.

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