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Resources on policies and inclusive language

Below you can find links to resources on the web that provide tips on inclusive language about the topics discussed in the face to face session provided to UN staff worldwide. You will also find links to UN policies and documents that were mentioned during the training.

1) General including Unconscious Bias

Implicit Associations Test (IAT) - related to unconscious bias

A UNAIDS document that outlines the problems and the recommendations to address discrimination in health care settings to vulnerable populations. Agenda for Zero discrimination in healthcare settings.

UNAIDS Terminology Guidance includes many of the terms or issues addressed in the UN for All training and provides another source to confirm preferred language.

The International Organization for Migration and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights have teamed up to produce engaging materials about unconscious bias in recruitment. Check out the short video here.

2) Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity

Terminology: An Ally's Guide to Terminology: Talking About LGBT People

UN principles are based on non-discrimination for all and this includes UN staff who should  come to work in an environment where they should feel free and safe regardless of their sexual orientation and gender identity.

In the last decade the UN system has increasingly adopted policies to, for example, recognize same sex unions and marriages, so that same-sex couples have access to the same rights and entitlements as heterosexual married staff members. The latest policy document ST/SGB/2014/13/Rev1 “Personal status for purposes of United Nations entitlements,” is here:

Former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has been very vocal in support of equality for all, and has repeatedly called for countries to repeal homophobic and discriminatory legislation, as in this video.

The UN Development Group  has resources specifically aimed at Resident Coordinators where you can find what is the position and the messaging around several Human Rights issues including persons living with HIV, LGBTI individuals, other minorities, the death penalty and other topics.

At the UN there is a staff group of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex staff members called UN-GLOBE. You can join the group by signing up at or following UN-GLOBE on Facebook.  Email contacts are available at this page:

The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights Free and Equal Campaign for LGBTI Equality includes many videos, memes, fact sheets and other shareable material.

3) Disabilities

Terminology: Words Matter: Suggested Guidelines for People-First Language to Create Inclusive Communities

Secretary General’s Bulletin “Employment and accessibility for staff members with disabilities in the United Nations Secretariat“ is here.

To learn more about what the UN does in regards to disabilities you can visit the website of Project Enable


4) Mental Health

Terminology: Mind Your Language! (on mental health)

Many UN organisations have either a staff welfare officer, a staff counsellor, stress counsellor, or peer support volunteers who can assist with mental health issues or substance-related issues. Sometimes these positions are based at headquarters but sometimes they are also found in country offices.

We advise you look in the intranet or ask your human resources focal point about this service in case you need to talk to someone.  If you are not able to locate services specific to your organization, the UN Secretariat Staff Counsellor’s Office in New York may be able to refer you. Contact: email or call +1 212 963 7044.

Staff from the UN Secretariat can look at this page where a phone number is listed for urgent issues.

5) Substance Use

Terminology: Here's One Simple Way We Can Change The Conversation About Drug Abuse

ST/AI/372 is the United Nations policy governing “Employee assistance governing alcohol or substance abuse.” 

There are Staff Counsellors in many UN locations to assist staff with mental health or substance abuse problems.  To get information on locating services by a Staff Counsellor in global duty stations, email or call +1 212 963 7044.