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Ethics function

Service Note No. 2/2009

As part of WMO's commitment to the highest standards of ethics, integrity, accountability and transparency and as a further contribution to the UN System reform process, I have designated, as an interim measure, the Director, Internal Oversight Office (D/IOO), as WMO's Ethics Officer ad interim (EO a.i.). The objective of this arrangement is to assist me in ensuring that all staff members observe and perform their functions consistent with the highest standards of integrity required by the WMO Code of Ethics through fostering a culture of ethics.

Terms of reference

Until further notice, D/lOO's scope of authority is expanded (please refer to IOO's Charter1 and Article 13 of the Financial Regulations and Rules of WMO) to include the following:

(a) Providing guidance to the management of WMO to ensure that the Organization's rules, policies, procedures and practices reinforce and promote the standards of integrity called for under the WMO Code of Ethics2 and the Standards of Conduct for the International Civil Service;

(b) Providing confidential advice and guidance to staff of WMO on ethical issues;

(c) Serving as a focal point for raising staff awareness within WMO on ethical standards and expected behaviour, as well as human resources development policies, in close cooperation with HRD/REM;

(d) Conducting confidential internal investigations into allegations of breach of ethics submitted through the direct communication line;

(e) Undertaking the responsibilities assigned as EO a.i. in accordance with Code of Ethics for the protection of staff of WMO against retaliation;

(f) Contribute to the development of standards, training and education material on ethics issues, in coordination with relevant units in WMO, in order to ensure that there is a uniform and consistent approach to ethics related issues;

(g) Administering the financial disclosure programme of WMO3, except for those staff members at Assistant Secretary-General level and above, for whom an alternative mechanism will apply (D/IOO's financial disclosure will also be covered by a separate mechanism);

(h) Reporting on activities related to the ethics function;

(i) Such other functions as the Secretary-General considers appropriate for the EO a.i..

In this capacity, the EO a.i. has an advocacy role of promoting ethics within the WMO Secretariat and coordinating with relevant units in the UN system, as appropriate. As necessary, EO a.i. will participate in relevant inter-agency fora and facilitate where practical a harmonized approach with other UN bodies.


Access to Ethics Officer a.i.

All staff can bring matters of concern to the attention of the EO a.i. either in person or in writing. The mechanism in the Service Note (S/N) No. 17/2006 on "Direct Communication Line" remains relevant. Such mechanism could also be used to bring ethical issues to the attention of E.O. a.i..

No person who brings a matter to the attention of the EO a.i. shall be subject to reprisals because of such action. Reference is also hereby made to relevant protection provisions incorporated in the Code of Ethics (paragraph 25), 100 Charter (see section on "authority" of 0/100), SIN 17/2006 (paragraph 7), and Article 13 of the Financial Regulations and Rules of WMO.

The EO a.i. shall maintain confidential records of advice given by and reports made to him.


Duty to cooperate with the Ethics Officer a.i.

All staff members shall cooperate with the EO a.i., and provide access to all records and documents requested by the EO a.i.. The exceptions to this are medical records that are not available without the express consent of the staff member concerned. Reports of the Joint Appeals Board and Joint Grievance Panel shall be routinely sent to the EO a.i. in the context of the ethics function.


Duty to report misconduct

Nothing in this Service Note shall limit the duty of staff members to report misconduct.


Access to internal recourse mechanisms

Nothing in this Service Note shall limit the ability of staff members to seek redress through the internal recourse mechanisms. The responsibilities of the EO a.i., shall neither prejudice or replace existing investigative or other relevant mechanisms, nor replace procedures for the administration of justice in WMO, established in accordance with the relevant staff regulations and rules. When in doubt about scope, any conflicts will be resolved in consultation with the WMO Legal Office.


Reporting on ethics activities

The EO a.i. shall provide periodic information about the discharge of the ethics function in his progress reports to the WMO Audit Committee, and his annual accountability report to the Secretary-General and, through the Secretary-General, to the Executive Council/Congress. These reports shall include an overview of the activities of the EO a.i., as appropriate, and any evaluations and assessments relating to such activities. These reports may include, inter alia, the number and general nature of matters brought to the attention of EO a.i., as well as systemic ethics issues, if any, found within WMO.

The EO a.i., may be consulted on policy issues where his expertise, views and experience may be useful. EO a.i. may also comment on rules, regulations, policies, procedures and practices that have come to his attention, and may make recommendations as appropriate.






1 Service Note No. 17/2007 dated 10 July 2007

2 Service Note No. 30/2006 dated 27 September 2006

3 Service Note No. 25/2006 dated 25 August 2006


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