EU Statement on agenda item 4: Report on the Activities of the Ethics Function, delivered at the IAEA Programme and Budget Committee, 9-10 May 2022

(Source: EEAS)

Chair,

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union. The following countries align themselves with this statement: Turkey§, the Republic of North Macedonia*, Montenegro*, Serbia*, Albania*, Bosnia and Herzegovina*, Iceland+, Norway+, Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova, Georgia and San Marino.

We welcome the third report on the Activities of the Ethics Function as contained in GOV/2022/12. Developing and cultivating a culture of ethics, transparency and accountability benefit all staff members, allowing them to perform their functions consistent with the highest standards of integrity and at a respectful workplace. We are pleased to note the continuous strong commitment by the Agency’s leadership, including by the Director General, in supporting the ethics function and its mandate, while respecting its operational independence. This sets a positive and important tone for the rest of the organisation.

The EU much appreciates the activities of the Ethics Function under its areas of responsibilities, in particular the mandatory training for senior managers, the continued attention to the topic of prevention of sexual harassment and retaliation under the Agency’s Whistle-blower Policy as well as efforts to further strengthen the Agency’s conflict of interest disclosure programme. We recall that creating a safe, respectful and welcoming working environment is a shared responsibility. Besides management, also staff can play a significant role in creating optimal working conditions.

We have read with interest the three outcomes of the work of the Ethics function over the past four years of its activities, namely

  • the significant increase in demand for ethics advice and guidance,
  • the integration of the support of the Ethics function into the work of the IAEA and finally
  • the continued compliance with the Declaration of Interest Process and the mandatory training for senior managers.

These initiatives will improve the IAEA’s ability to identify ethics-related risks and detect possible conflicts of interest. It will also enable managers to provide a strong signal of leadership commitment to an ethical culture and serve as role models. We very much welcome these developments.

The EU takes note of the Chief of Ethics’ responsibilities related to the prevention of misbehaviour. Discrimination, racism at the workplace, disrespect for diversity, abuse of authority by any staff member and in particular sexual harassment must be completely avoided. Reports of misconduct must be investigated and, where necessary, remedied. We encourage the Secretariat and the Chief of Ethics to spare no effort to listen to and provide guidance to staff members and protect those who report in good faith acts of misconduct. We therefore welcome the new modules of the mandatory training programme for senior managers called “Accountability in Managerial Action” while encouraging the continued attention to the topic of prevention of sexual harassment.

We encourage the Chief of Ethics to continue the effective partnership and close collaboration with senior management and other key stakeholders, such as the Division of Human Resources (MTHR), the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) and the Office of Legal Affairs (OLA). In this regard, the EU hails the continued engagement of the Chief of Ethics with the UN system-wide ethics network through the Ethics Network of Multilateral Organisations (ENMO).

With these comments, we take note of the Report on the Activities of the Ethics Function as contained in GOV/2022/12.

Thank you, Chair.

 

 


§ Candidate Country

* Candidate Countries the Republic of North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Albania as well as potential Candidate Country Bosnia and Herzegovina continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.

+ Iceland and Norway are members of the EFTA and of the European Economic Area.

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