Ethics

Our ethics are based on the relationship between our purpose, values and principles, all of which are reflected in our choices and actions.

Purpose

Our purpose is to contribute to peace, and inspire, inform, support and enhance the efforts of others to do so. 

By ‘peace’, we mean the capacity within and between societies to anticipate and manage conflicts without violence, while collaborating to improve people’s lives. This means that people see processes and outcomes relating to governance, safety, livelihoods, justice and wellbeing as fair, and that people trust each other and those in power, and work together for their mutual benefit.

We achieve this by: 

  • Working with people directly affected by conflict to find peaceful solutions
  • Shaping policies and practices to support peace
  • Collaborating with all those striving for peace to strengthen our collective voice and impact

Values

We value: 

  • Progress, because no society is perfect and each contains both the need and opportunities for improvement
  • Fairness, because everyone should have access to opportunities and should not be treated arbitrarily, nor discriminated against, because of her/his status or identity
  • Respect, because everyone should be valued and respected as a person with inalienable human rights and her/his own values and views 
  • Inclusion, because the participation and collaboration of people with diverse and complementary knowledge and perspectives is critical for cohesion and the quality of outcomes
  • Openness about intentions and actions, because this is an essential element of trust, accountability and collaboration

We recognise and respect that these can be broad ideas, subject to interpretation. But woven together, they clarify each other. For example, while ‘progress’ is widely interpretable, its meaning is clear when interwoven with the concepts of fairness, inclusion, respect and openness.

Principles

A principle in this context is a statement fusing our purpose and values, providing dynamic guidance on how we work and how we make decisions. Sometimes there are tensions between principles, and at such times we need to reflect and discuss the case before determining a course of action. 

  • We integrate the views and experiences of people into the design of policies and programmes that will affect them, and continue to do so as we learn and adapt.
  • We are clear and open about our intentions and plans, and how they contribute to peace.
  • We monitor the consequences of our actions, and discontinue or change any that are not contributing to peace.
  • We avoid increasing people’s risk of harm by our actions, though we respect the choices they make themselves.
  • We do not abuse the power that unequal relationships at times confer on us.
  • We will work with those who can make a difference for peace, even when we disagree with their ethics or actions – unless by so doing we contribute to harm, undermine peace or impede our or others’ ability to build peace.
  • We adopt a position of humility and do not take on roles or activities we cannot reasonably achieve, nor do we claim achievements and outcomes that are not our own.

Read the internal ethical guidance we provide to our staff.