In November 2017, in response to the “recent wave of reports detailing sexual harassment in the workplace from many organizations and institutions worldwide,” popularly known as the “MeToo” movement, Secretary-General António Guterres established a Chief Executives Board (CEB) Task Force on addressing sexual harassment in the organizations of the UN system to “review policies” addressing sexual harassment in the UN system.
In the first six months of its existence, the Task Force stated that it had “focused on" scaling up prevention and response efforts, protecting and supporting victims, strengthening investigative capacity, and creating a safe and enabling work environment, according to a UN report. The Task Force then "identified priority areas for action," which included “harmonization of sexual harassment policy, improvements in reporting, and enhanced awareness raising and communication."
Mr. Guterres’ pick to lead the Task Force was Jan Beagle, the UN’s Under-Secretary-General for Management.
Ms. Beagle had been appointed to her post as Under-Secretary-General at a time (July 2017) when she was under investigation for workplace harassment for allegedly isolating and bullying a subordinate for nearly three years. Shortly after Ms. Beagle was promoted to Under-Secretary-General, that internal investigation into the allegations against her was concluded. The allegations were found to be “unsubstantiated.” The complainant has appealed and publicly alleged that her claims against Ms. Beagle were not properly investigated.
In addition, while serving as the Deputy Executive Director of UNAIDS, Ms. Beagle was named as a witness in a claim of sexual assault filed against her counterpart Deputy Executive Director at UNAIDS, Luiz Loures. She, Mr. Loures, and Executive Director Michel Sidibé were the senior management team cited by an Independent Expert Panel in December 2018 for creating and presiding over “ a patriarchal culture tolerating harassment and abuse of authority” at UNAIDS.