About the IIU

The Independent Integrity Unit investigates allegations of fraud, corruption, misconduct, and other Prohibited Practices in GCF-funded activities.


In accordance with Article 68 of the Governing Instrument for the Green Climate Fund, the Board established the IIU as a key function of the accountability mechanism of GCF.  As a body independent from the GCF Secretariat, the Unit is tasked with​ the following:

The IIU takes a proactive approach to deter occurrences of fraud, corruption, and other Prohibited Practices in GCF-funded activities by establishing integrity policies, proactively assessing and mitigating integrity risks, and recommending further improvements to existing GCF policies and procedures.

The IIU employs measures to detect compliance failures and potential integrity violations (red flags) in GCF operations through a risk-based oversight of GCF-funded projects and programmes.

As an initial point of contact, the IIU investigates allegations of Wrongdoing, including Misconduct and Prohibited Practices, in line with international best practices and in close cooperation with relevant counterpart authorities.

The IIU promotes awareness of GCF integrity standards to GCF staff and implementing entities and helps build capacities of accredited entities to effectively prevent, respond to, mitigate, and remedy prohibited practices. The Unit also collaborates with relevant counterpart offices of other international organizations to ensure it is at the frontier of relevant practices.

Unit Head

Karen Ernst, Head of the Independent Integrity Unit

Karen is a strategic leader, partnership builder, and trusted advisor with a passion for supporting the missions of international organisations. With her expertise in international law, integrity, compliance, and good governance, she drives and implements objectives, fostering a culture of integrity, transparency, and collaboration across global teams.
Before joining IIU, Karen served as the International Director of Integrity, Compliance & Legal at SOS Children's Villages International, where she was part of the extended executive leadership team. In this role, she successfully led the integrity and asset safeguarding functions and strengthened good governance within the SOS Children's Villages Federation.
Prior to her tenure at SOS Children's Villages, she held various legal positions in the fields of anti-fraud, anti-corruption, anti-harassment, and international technical and scientific collaboration at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) and the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT).
Karen holds several law degrees, including a Master of Laws (LL.M.) in International Legal Studies, First and Second State/Bar Examinations in Law, as well as an Executive Master in Public Administration.