Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse

Both ICTP and UNESCO, one of ICTP's UN sponsor agencies, are committed to applying a ‘zero tolerance’ policy towards acts of sexual exploitation and abuse by its personnel. In 2003, the United Nations Secretary-General issued a Bulletin on “Special measures for protection from sexual exploitation and sexual abuse (PSEA)” (ST/SGB/2003/13) (“the Bulletin”). To support system- wide implementation of the zero-tolerance policy, the UNESCO Director-General has decided to adopt the standards of conduct and provisions on PSEA set by the Bulletin, adjusted as necessary, to be applied by UNESCO personnel, as detailed in the Administrative Circular AC/HR/77, published on 19 November 2020.

Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (PSEA)

The PSEA Policy reflects UNESCO's and ICTP's zero tolerance towards SEA and defines the principles and mechanisms by which UNESCO employees will be held accountable to uphold the Organization’s commitment to protect and uphold the dignity of vulnerable people. The policy is fully aligned with the Organization’s core values and international commitments to prevent and address instances of sexual exploitation and abuse. It includes standard operating procedures for submission and receipt of complaints, reporting, investigation and victim assistance. While the Ethics Office acts as UNESCO PSEA focal point at HQ, local focal points have been nominated in UNESCO field offices and institutes and have been provided with specific terms of reference.

Victims and other individuals who are aware of an incident of SEA are encouraged to report to the Investigation Office. PSEA focal points in the respective field office or the Ethics Office are also available for further assistance.

ICTP PSEA focal points:

  • Erika Coppola (
  • Stefano Luzzato (

Related link:

Terms of Reference, UNESCO in-country PSEA Focal Point for ICTP