United Nations protocol on allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse involving implementing partners

Manual and Guideline
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  1. This protocol outlines requirements of the United Nations, including its funds and programmes (collectively, the “UN”), when working with implementing partners, to ensure adequate safeguards and appropriate action related to sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA).

  2. This protocol is aligned with the Secretary General’s Bulletin, 9 October 2003 on “Special measures for protection from sexual exploitation and sexual abuse” (ST/SGB/2003/13).


  1. The UN does not partner with entities that fail to address sexual exploitation and abuse through appropriate preventive measures, investigation and corrective action.
    Such failures shall constitute grounds for the termination of any cooperative arrangement with the UN.

  2. The UN shall place the human rights, interests and needs of all victims at the center of our efforts, and adhere to the principles of ‘do no harm,’ confidentiality, safety and non-discrimination when responding to allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse.

  3. A victim-centered approach guides UN SEA prevention and response whereby the victim is informed, participates in the decision-making process and provides consent on the possible use and disclosure of their information.

  4. In cases involving children, all decisions made regarding the prevention and response to SEA allegations involving implementing partners of the UN are guided by the best interests of the child and the right of the child to participate and to be heard.


  1. This protocol applies to all offices of the UN when working with implementing partners (as defined below) in all programme contexts.

  2. This protocol addresses matters relating to possible and actual sexual exploitation and abuse perpetrated by personnel of implementing partners of the UN.