Iceland‘s Ministry for Foreign Affairs is responsible for carrying out Iceland’s international development cooperation in accordance with laws No. 121/2008 and Iceland‘s policy for international development cooperation. Development cooperation funds are used in many ways, for example with funding to implementation partners and organizations, but also in the MFA’s work, including work on-site in developing countries.
Development cooperation is financed by tax revenues from the Icelandic public and MFA is responsible for monitoring how ODA funds are utilized. All misuse of funds is taken seriously. Misconduct of this nature can take many forms e.g. bribes, embezzlement, or waste of public funds. Misconduct can have varying degrees of severity; it can result from carelessness or incompetence, can be deliberate or caused by negligence, or actions can even be considered a criminal offence.
The MFA also follows DAC’s Recommendation on Ending Sexual Exploitation, Abuse, and Harassment in Development Co-operation and Humanitarian Assistance. A part of these recommendations is to ensure that staff members and implementing partners can report alleged misconduct.
Do you wish to report suspicion of misuse regarding development cooperation funds?
- Notifying the Icelandic National Audit Office (INAO)
Everyone who has information or documents pertaining to criminal misconduct or other objectionable conduct which falls under the scope of INAO has the authority to notify the INOA and hand over documents that pertain to the case. The INAO can be notified by phone +354 448-8800, or by sending information through their web-page, by sending an e-mail to [email protected] or by mailing a letter addressed to Bríetartún 7, 105 Reykjavík, labelled „Whistle-blowing“.
- Notifying the MFA
All reporting is considered confidential, and reports can be anonymous. It is however easier for the MFA to process the case if the notifier submits a name and contact information. Case processing and investigations follow a standardized procedure. A form to notify the MFA of suspicion of misuse regarding development cooperation funds can be found here.
Do you wish to report suspicion of bullying, gender-based harassment, abuse or sexual harassment in development cooperation or humanitarian assistance?
Two ways of reporting are possible:
- Internal report for staff members of the Icelandic Foreign Service.
The MFA follows EKKO* – bullying, gender-based harassment, sexual harassment, and violence Prevention and Action Plan. If you want to notify of bullying, gender-based harassment, abuse or sexual harassment, staff shall send an e-mail to [email protected].
- Reports of sexual exploitation, abuse, and sexual harassment in development cooperation and humanitarian assistance.
All reporting is considered confidential, and reports can be anonymous. It is, however, easier for the MFA to process the case if the notifier submits a name and contact information. Case processing and investigations follow a standardized procedure. A form to notify the MFA of suspicion of sexual exploitation, abuse, and sexual harassment in development cooperation and humanitarian assistance can be found here.
The Ministry for Foreign Affairs follows regulation no. 1230/2022 on work procedures for staff‘s reports of breach of law or other reprehensible behavior, as well as internal rules set for this purpose. The Protection of the Whistle-blowers Act No. 40/2020 states that those employed by Iceland’s foreign service are obliged to report in good faith and hand over documents if they suspect that a breach if legal obligations or other reprehensible misconduct has taken place in the MFA’s operations. The Act contains provisions that confer a certain protection on employees who report violations of legal obligations or other reprehensible misconduct in the operations of their employers. This protection is subject to the condition that the employee complies with the provision of the Act and follows the procedural rules set out in it.
The employee that divulges information may not be subjected to unjust treatment; such treatment includes, e.g., a reduction of entitlements, a change of working conditions to the employee’s disadvantage or termination of the employee’s engagement.
The MFA, as the party receiving the information or materials, is obliged to treat in confidence all personal data regarding the identity of the whistle-blower unless the latter gives his or her unequivocal consent to having his or her identity revealed.
Party responsible for monitoring: The Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Rauðarárstígur 25 - 105 Reykjavík, +354-545-9900, [email protected]
Government’s personal data security officer: +354-545-8863, [email protected]
The purpose of the web portal is to give individuals an opportunity to report suspicion of breach of law or that other reprehensible misconduct that pertains to Iceland‘s development cooperation. This web portal meets the MFA legal obligations set forth in the Protection of Whistle-blowers Act No. 40/2020.
Processing of personal information by the MFA is limited by the personal information necessary according to the duties derived from law no. 40/2020. The web portals allow individuals to submit information pertaining to alleged misconduct, as well as their full name and contact information. It should be noted that individuals are permitted to submit anonymous reports. The MFA as the party receiving the information or materials is obliged to treat with confidence all personal data regarding the identity of the whistle-blower, unless the latter gives his or her unequivocal consent to having his or her identity revealed.
The authorization of the MFA to process personal information for the notification portal is based on 3rd item no., paragraph 1, article 9, Act no. 90/2018 on Data Protection and the Processing of Personal Data (DPPPD), as per paragraph C-1, Article 6 of the regulation of the European Parliament and the Council (EC) 2016/679. When processing of sensitive personal information is deemed necessary, the processing authorization is based on 7th item no., paragraph 1, article 11, Act no. 90/2018 on Data Protection and the Processing of Personal Data, as per paragraph G-2, article 9 of the GDPR. In the case of the processing of personal information pertains to criminal conduct, the MFA’s processing authorization is based on article 12, Act no. 90/2018 on Data Protection and the Processing of Personal Data as per Article 10 of the DPPPD.
According to the Public Archives Act no. 77/2014, the MFA is not permitted to destroy documents and data received or created within the MFA, except with the permission of the National Archives of Iceland. Access to the personal information generated in the reporting portal is limited to those parties who necessarily need such access in order to meet their job requirements. However, there may be cases where information is passed on to judges, the police or oversight authorities, as they are under a legal obligation to do so. The MFA records all data in their archives (Örk or málaskrá), which is a computer system and a digital archive. All data and information held by the MFA are stored within the European Economic Area.
Users of the notification portal enjoy the rights stated in chapter III of law no. 90/2018 on Data Protection and the Processing of Personal Data, as per further provisions in section III. However, it is worth keeping in mind that on the basis of paragraph 3 and paragraph 4 in article 17, Act no. 90/2018 on Data Protection and the Processing of Personal Data, MFA is authorized to limit the rights of individuals if this is deemed necessary and proportionate to the interests of the investigation or the identity of the informant.
In addition, informants have the right to file a complaint with The Data Protection Authority (Persónuvernd) if they believe that the data controller's processing violates the Act on Data Protection and the Processing of Personal Data. The Data Protection Authority can be reached by sending an e-mail to [email protected] or by phone at +354 510 9600.