Africa: Staff Say Sexism, Racism and Abuse Are ‘Systemic’ in UN-Led Climate Fund


Current and former Green Climate Fund workers said they suffered or witnessed instances of inappropriate relationships and abuse of power

Seventeen employees of the world’s largest global climate fund, based in South Korea, have complained of sexism, racism and harassment within the troubled United Nations-led project.

The current and former Green Climate Fund (GCF) workers said they also suffered or witnessed instances of inappropriate relationships and abuse of power in the workplace in the last three years, the Financial Times reported on Wednesday.

In response, the fund’s secretariat said it “strongly refutes claims of systematic staffing problems affecting GCF’s mission to empower developing countries in taking climate action”.

It said the fund’s Independent Integrity Unit had only substantiated two out of 39 complaints about staff misconduct filed in 2018 and 2019.

“We have zero tolerance for all forms of discrimination and abuse,” Yannick Glemarec, executive director of the GCF, which is headquartered in Songdo, 30 km southwest of the South Korean capital Seoul, said in a statement.

“As the organisation matures, we are continually strengthening all our prevention, reporting and investigation mechanisms, and will continue to do so.”

The allegations come as the #MeToo movement – which began with reports of abuse by former movie producer Harvey Weinstein – has inspired millions to share their stories of harassment. Weinstein was convicted of rape and sexual assault this year.