PAHO Helpline

Use it when you need to:

  • Ask questions about situations you think may arise ethical concerns.
  • Report an illegal or unsafe situation in your workplace.
  • Suspect that someone is engaging in unethical behavior.


Safe, secure, anonymous, and always available!

What is the ICMS?

At the core of PAHO's mission is the need to instill and reinforce a culture of ethics and integrity in everything we do. The promotion of ethical conduct in every facet of our work can lead to improved results, a better work environment and a reduction in conflict.

Nonetheless, in any organization, large or small, conflicts will inevitably arise. These conflicts can take many forms, including disagreements between individuals or groups of individuals and employment-related disputes on topics such as conditions of service, promotion opportunities, job classification or disciplinary action, to name a few.

PAHO promotes the prevention and resolution of conflict at the earliest possible opportunity and offers a range of options to deal with workplace concerns, ranging from informal counseling to formal review mechanisms to ensure that grievances are heard in a proper and timely manner. In cases where conflicts cannot be settled through direct discussions between the parties involved, personnel may utilize the different resources to address and resolve their concerns.

To foster an environment of high ethical business standards and provide a systematic approach to deal with conflict, PAHO has established a comprehensive system, called the Integrity and Conflict Management System (ICMS). Through this system, which integrates the existing internal resources and policies, personnel working for PAHO can obtain assistance to address workplace-related concerns and grievances.


Who can access the ICMS?

In general, everyone who works for PAHO, irrespective of the type or duration of contract, can access the services of the ICMS. However, access can vary from one resource to another depending on the issue under consideration. In some cases, access to a particular resource is also extended to people from outside the Organization whereas in other cases access is limited only to staff who hold U.N. appointments. Moreover, in certain instances, recourse to dispute resolution mechanisms are specifically governed by the terms of the employment contract.

Access to each individual resource is clearly delineated in the respective sections of the different ICMS resources.


What are the ICMS Resources?

PAHO offers a variety of resources to address ethical issues and workplace concerns and to help prevent and resolve conflict, ranging from informal conflict resolution services to an administrative tribunal whose decisions are binding. These resources include the Ombudsperson, Ethics Office, Human Resources Management, Legal Office, Internal Oversight Services, Information Security Office, ICMS Country Focal Points, Board of Appeal and ILO Administrative Tribunal.


How do I know which is the most appropriate resource to utilize?

In view of the number of available resources, it can sometimes be unclear which is the most appropriate resource to use in a given situation. One of the key objectives of the ICMS is to guide you to the resource that is best suited to handle your concern or problem.

To meet this objective, the ICMS spells out the specific role of each resource, as well as its mandate, scope of work, independence, authority or decision-making ability, reporting relationships, level of confidentiality and access to officials and records. With this information, you can take an informed decision regarding the most appropriate resource to use in a given situation.

Detailed information on each individual resource is included below and a  icon quick-reference chart has been developed to help you identify the most appropriate resource to consult.


Can I contact other resources?

Yes, you can access the system through multiple entry points and have the freedom to contact the resource you prefer or are more comfortable with. Accordingly, you have the choice to contact directly the most appropriate resource, depending on the type of issue raised, or to contact any of the ICMS resources for assistance. However, the ICMS resource may refer you, as appropriate, to another ICMS resource to ensure that your individual needs are met.


How often can I use the ICMS?

PAHO encourages personnel to raise issues as soon as possible so they can be addressed, resulting in a better, more productive working environment. The first option is to address workplace concerns directly with your supervisor(s). If this is not feasible or if the desired outcome has not been achieved, you can contact the ICMS resources at any time for assistance.


What is the role of the PAHO/AMRO Staff Association in the ICMS?

The PAHO/AMRO Staff Association is not a formal part of the system, but rather is considered as an associate entity. In this capacity, it is better positioned to independently guide and advise you on an appropriate course of action in case you have a workplace concern or problem.


ICMS Resources:

    Ombudsperson (OMB)

OmbudspersonThe Ombudsperson is an independent and impartial official who provides confidential, informal conflict resolution services for PAHO staff members who experience work-related issues, challenges and problems.

    Ethics Office (ETH)

Ethics Office (EO)The Ethics Office provides guidance, advice and training to all staff members to help you make right ethical decisions. It is also responsible for investigating alleged misconduct, harassment and violations of the PAHO Code of Ethical Principles and Conduct.

    Human Resource Management (HRM)

Human Resources Management (HRM)The Human Resources Management Office is available to provide advice and counseling to both managers and staff on Human Resources matters. It resolves management/employee disputes and prepares de Organization's pleadings before the PAHO Board of Appeal.

    Office of the Legal Counsel (LEG)

Legal Office (LEG)The Office of the Legal Counsel (LEG) is responsible for providing unified and central legal services, advice and counsel to the Secretariat as a whole and the Organization's Governing Bodies.



  Internal Oversight and Evaluation Services (IES)

IESThe mission of the Office of Internal Oversight and Evaluation Services (IES) is to provide internal auditing and evaluation services to the Organization.

    Information Security Office (ISO)

Information Security OfficeThe Information Security Office provides information and advice about the use of the information within PAHO. The office also has the responsibility to carry out investigations whenever information security incidents occur.

    ICMS Country Focal Points

Country Focal Points

    The Board of Appeal (BoA)

Board of AppealThe Board of Appeal reviews decisions that affect staff members and has the power to make inquiries and recommendations of a course of action to the Director.

    Administrative Tribunal (ILO)

Administrative TribunalThe ILO is a genuine court of law and has the power to give orders binding on both sides of a dispute.



Additional Resources

Staff Association logo.Staff Association (SA)

- ICMS Quick-Reference Chart: This chart will help guide you to the most appropriate resource to use, depending on the type of issue raised. However, if you prefer, you can contact directly any of the resources listed for assistance.


Related Documents:

  • PAHO Staff Rules and Staff Regulations: ENG | SPA
  • PAHO Code of Ethical Principles and Conduct: ENGSPA | FRE| POR
  • Declaration of Confidentiality: ENGSPA
  • PAHO Policy on the Prevention and Resolution of Harassment in the Workplace: ENG
    SPA | FRE | POR
  • The United Nations Standards of Conduct for the International Civil Service: ENG | SPA | FRE
  • Board of Appeal Rules of Procedure: pdf ENG  | SPA