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Mission and Values


CANADEM is an international not-for-profit NGO dedicated to advancing international peace and security through the rostering, rapid mobilization, and mission management of experts committed to International Service with the UN, other IGOs, NGOs, and governments.

Standards of Professional Conduct
  • CANADEM is determined to strengthen the activities of international organizations, in particular the UN, OSCE, other inter-governmental agencies and institutions, and their non-governmental partners, all working to advance the universal principles of the UN Charter, and international peace and security.

  • CANADEM believes that individuals are the key elements of international organizations. Only with the right individuals working as teams can organizations, agencies and missions fully achieve their goals. Identifying those skilled individuals is crucial.

  • CANADEM is driven by its core vocation to assist international organizations to identify and engage skilled individuals. Concurrently, CANADEM assists individuals to find their international niche and achieve their fullest potential in the struggle to advance human rights, democracy, the rule of law, good governance, and the multitude of other aspects of international peace and security.

  • CANADEM believes in the importance of mentoring and facilitating young adults to enter International Service, as the next generation of international experts.

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As we strive to achieve the four goals above, we will lead by example in demonstrating the same values that we wish to see in the people we roster, work with and those we aim to assist both directly and indirectly.

Empowerment: We believe that everyone involved with CANADEM, from our staff and supporters to beneficiaries around the world, should feel empowered to make change happen and in turn look to empower others.

Accountability: Our practical results-focused approach means we take responsibility for our actions and hold ourselves accountable. We believe that others should also be held accountable for their actions.

Inclusiveness: We are open to everyone and embrace diversity. Our ever-expanding roster of over 50,000 international experts is central to our belief that everyone has a contribution to make, regardless of nationality, background, ethnicity, gender, and any other visible and invisible differences.

Integrity, Service, and Accountability, provide a framework for CANADEM’s expectations for itself and all CANADEM individuals including staff, consultants, associates, locally engaged personnel, volunteers, as well as all CANADEM Roster Registrants.

We also endorse and consider binding other relevant codes of conduct for international service, such as:

  • Code of Conduct for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and NGOs in Disaster Relief

  • Code of Conduct for International Election Observers

  • UN Secretary-General’s bulletin: Special measures for protection from sexual exploitation and sexual abuse (9 October 2003)



Openness, honesty and trustworthiness in dealing with beneficiaries, partners, co-workers, donors, funders, and the communities we affect.

  • Recognize that talented and committed individuals are our greatest asset, and interpersonal relations will reflect the highest standards of organizational and individual conduct.

  • Refrain from practices that undermine personal or organizational integrity, including any form of exploitation, discrimination, harassment, retaliation or abuse of colleagues, beneficiaries, or the communities in which we work.

  • Respect the dignity, values, history, religion, and culture of those we work with and serve.

  • Recognize a duty of care for all colleagues and assume their reciprocal loyalty and dedication.

  • Work to merit the trust of our partners and the communities in which we work.

  • Respect equally the rights of women and men, and support the human rights set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

  • Accept funds and donations only from sources whose aims are consistent with our mission and our values, and which do not undermine our independence and identity.


Our primary responsibility is to the people and issues we serve – our guiding goal is to help others.

  • Work to create durable solutions and conditions that foster peace, stability and social, economic, and political development.

  • Design and deliver programmes to respond to beneficiaries' needs, including humanitarian relief, rehabilitation, good governance, human rights, democracy, the rule of law, post-conflict recovery and long-term development.

  • Seek to adopt best practices and evidence-based indicators that demonstrate the quality, impact, and utility of our work.


We are accountable – individually and collectively – for our behaviour, actions and impacts.

  • Be accountable and transparent in our dealings with colleagues, beneficiaries, partners, donors, and the communities we affect.

  • Be a responsible steward of funds entrusted to our use with a particular responsibility for public funds.

  • Utilize the resources available to our organization in order to pursue our mission and strategic objectives in cost-effective ways.

  • Strive to eliminate waste and unnecessary expense, and to direct all possible resources to the people and issues we serve.

  • Provide sufficient and accurate financial information and information on our goals and activities to interested parties.

  • Support the rule of law, and strive to comply with the rules of the governing institutions and the laws of countries where we work.

  • Do not engage in theft, corrupt practices, nepotism, bribery, or trade in illicit substances.

Conduct in the Field

Conduct in the field is particularly challenging and subject to misinterpretation for a variety of reasons, including the volatility of a situation, the challenges of working in a multicultural environment, and the complexity of local societies and their expectations. 

  • In crises or urgent situations, necessary fast action or statements by you can be misunderstood by those who do not know and trust you, so be careful of how you say things and look for indications that you have been misunderstood.

  • Mission colleagues you work closely with will come from different cultures with different behaviours, so it is easy for them to misunderstand your actions or words, or for you to misunderstand them.  Look for indications that you have been misunderstood, and do not hesitate to indicate that you are uncomfortable with something they have said or done and give them an opportunity to explain.

  • Host society is both complex and usually very different from your home society.  In addition, local expectations can be extremely different from what you or your mission is mandated or capable of.  Host society has to deal with multiple international agencies and a diversity of international personnel with different behaviours, with many possibilities for misunderstandings.

  • You and other international colleagues are in a relatively powerful position in relation to the local population and you have a responsibility to refrain from taking advantage of that position, even if in an unintended manner. Individuals in the local population can be, or perceive themselves as, dependent upon you and will not question you or push back. This can lead, without any intent on your part, to abuses of power unless you actively look to defend against such unintended consequences.

So, in field missions, how best to conduct yourself professionally and be seen to be acting professionally? To help, we have set out some concrete examples of how to apply the CANADEM Code of Conduct for Professional International Service:

  • Remain aware of the additional vulnerabilities of women and children in crisis situations;

  • Buying or arranging for any sexual services is grounds for dismissal, as is having sexual relations with any member of your mission’s beneficiary population or any person dependent upon you, including subordinates and support staff;

  • Sexual relations of any kind with children will result in immediate termination and possible legal action and prosecution. For the purposes of this Code of Conduct, a child is any person under the age of 18 years. Mistaken belief in the age of the child does not constitute a defence;

  • Avoid any relationship with children which could in any way be misinterpreted as exploitative or abusive. The younger the children, the more your actions including touching or being in a room alone with them, could be interpreted as abusive, and such actions should be avoided no matter how well intended;

  • Remain aware of the spread of smartphones with cameras, and ability of others to track your every communications and downloads.  For example, it is wrong to look at, save or spread pornographic material and you will be found out;

  • Avoid offensive language about anyone or any group of people that you assist or work with.  Avoid abusive or harsh language in any situation.  See yourself as a representative of CANADEM, your country, your mission, and the international community at large;

  • Be aware that organised crime can be present in many different types of activities. Avoid contact with illegal activities in all situations, even minor situations such as black-market currency exchanges. Criminal networks are such that even minor illegal dealings can result in you indirectly supporting organized crime up to and including human trafficking;

  • Do not give or accept bribes, or involve yourself with the trade of goods or services for personal gain.  Do not act in a way that could give the impression that you expect anything in return.  Actual or perceived corruption and abuse of power, will always be in direct contravention to what your mission and the international community is trying to achieve;

  • Even if local law permits alcohol, never drink on duty, nor drink and drive. Many decide not to drink when on mission, while others restrict themselves to moderate drinking during leisure time. Of course, totally avoid all illegal narcotics.  Always abide by all local laws, it is both respectful and the law!

  • Informally encourage and assist your colleagues to act professionally, but remember that you have a duty to report serious breaches both to protect individuals being abused, and to protect the integrity of your mission.  

Complaints and Reports

CANADEM staff are obligated to bring to the attention of the relevant manager any potential incident, abuse or concern that they witness, are made aware of, or suspect, which appears to breach the Standards contained in this Code.  CANADEM staff reporting concerns are protected by the Disclosure of Malpractice in the Workplace policy.

Staff members who have a complaint or concern relating to a breach of the Code should report it immediately to their line manager.  If the staff member does not feel comfortable reporting to their line manager (for example, if they feel that the report will not be taken seriously, or if that person is implicated in the concern) they may report to any other appropriate staff member. 

Staff members receiving reports or concerns are obliged to take action or refer the report immediately as per the CANADEM Complaints Policy and procedures.

To submit a complaint, email:

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