Dear community and civil society colleagues,
Thank you for your continued engagement with us in the recent months, addressing the issues relating to sexual harassment within UNAIDS. As you know we are actively working to support the establishment of appropriate systems and procedures in order to make UNAIDS a space free of any abuse of power or harassment of any kind. We are working towards a trustworthy formal system for follow-up of complaints and redress which is transparent and objective to all parties involved.
The PCB Bureau, with two representatives of the NGO Delegation, has been dedicating a lot of time on this issue. They have agreed to convene an Independent Expert Panel, which will report to the PCB through the Bureau. The Panel’s recommendations will guide and frame the UNAIDS’ five-point action plan, as appropriate.
The objectives of the Panel are:
- review the current situation, including by looking back over the last 7 years, so as to assess the organizational culture of the UNAIDS Secretariat (e.g. at headquarters, regional and country offices) with particular reference to harassment, including sexual harassment; bullying and abuse of power and retaliation;
- evaluate the effectiveness of existing policies and procedures to prevent and address harassment, including sexual harassment; bullying, retaliation and abuse of power
- recommend a comprehensive set of prioritized measures relating to organizational culture, policies and fair and due process procedures, which will enable the UNAIDS Secretariat, and its leadership to set a clear tone of zero tolerance – and, as appropriate, the wider UN family
The panel will look at all relevant areas, taking into account existing UN policies and processes, best practices outside of the UN system and ensure recommendations are directed according to leadership and responsibility. Issues to be addressed will include:
- Leadership and culture
- Policies and strategies to prevent harassment, including sexual harassment; bullying and abuse of power
- Formal reporting systems that protects both the parties
- Investigation processes – access to justice which is timely
- Controls and assurance
Whilst the panel will have access to confidential information and will be able to assess past investigations, it will not formally review past investigation or investigate specific cases.The panel will be composed of approximately 3 – 5 independent experts in the following fields:
- Human rights, ethics and gender equality;
- Organizational culture, leadership and performance;
- Sexual Harassment
- Human resource expertise, including workplace discrimination (all forms);
- Violence against women and men in all their diversity, including sexual exploitation and abuse, victims advocacy;
- International Organisations and multi-cultural environments.
- Integrity in public life and experience of public oversight bodies.
The Panel is aimed to have balanced gender and regional representation. To ensure transparency and independence, it was agreed that an external agency will be contracted based on a process of competitive bidding to set up the Panel by which Russel Reynold was selected. At this moment, they are selecting the Panel Chair who will be present at the 42nd PCB on June 26-28, 2018. The remaining 3-5 members will join in the upcoming month and will conduct a two-month research which will include recommendations to the Bureau. Based on these recommendations, the Bureau will submit a report to the Secretariat, who shall then prepare a response. The entire review and inquiry, as well as the recommendation report, will be presented and discussed at the 43rd PCB in December 2018.
A more detailed indicative timeline is included in the Terms of Reference that can be accessed here.
At this moment, we, the NGO Delegation, are actively preparing for the upcoming PCB, thus would like to invite you to share your ideas about concrete actions to be suggested and/or recommended.
Please kindly answer the short survey until the 22nd of June 2018.
Your suggestions will help us to better prepare our interventions and enhance the voices of civil society at this PCB. The Delegation strongly reaffirms that no one should face sexual or moral harassment anywhere, including in United Nations organizations.
We look forward to receiving feedback from you.
The PCB NGO Delegation
 Five-point plan to prevent and address all forms of harassment for greater accountability and transparency within UNAIDS, http://www.unaids.org/en/resources/presscentre/featurestories/2018/february/20180227_unaids