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United Nations Office of Internal Oversight Services

The Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) was established in July 1994 as an operationally independent office that assists the Secretary-General in fulfilling his internal oversight responsibilities in respect of the resources and staff of the Organization through monitoring, internal audit, inspection, evaluation and investigation. The Office has the authority to initiate, carry out and report on any action it considers necessary to fulfill its responsibilities with regard to its oversight functions.

The Office assists Member States and the Organization in protecting its assets and in ensuring the compliance of programme activities with resolutions, regulations, rules and policies as well as the more efficient and effective delivery of the Organization’s activities; preventing and detecting fraud, waste, abuse, malfeasance or mismanagement; and improving the delivery of the Organization’s programmes and activities to enable it to achieve better results by determining all factors affecting the efficient and effective implementation of programmes.

The strategy of the Office is focused on ensuring that the Organization has an effective and transparent system of accountability in place and the capacity to identify, assess and mitigate the risks that might prevent it from achieving its objectives. To that end, the Office will (a) propose measures to assist the Organization in responding rapidly to emerging risks and opportunities; (b) provide independent information and assessments to assist effective decision-making; (c) provide independent reviews of the effectiveness of the use of the Organization’s resources; and (d) promote a culture of change, including accountability, planning, integrity, results orientation, and risk awareness and management.

"Evaluation has yet to become a fully robust and comprehensive function and integral to how a programme works." – Under-Secretary-General of OIOS at the High Level Panel event of the UN Evaluation Week

On 16th April 2013, Under-Secretary-General Lapointe presented the results of the biennial report on the overall status of evaluation in the Secretariat at a high-level panel entitled "UN Results – Are we achieving them? How do we know?". This event was part of the evaluation week organized by the United Nations Evaluation Group (UNEG) at the UN Headquarters in New York. Ms. Lapointe highlighted that "evaluation is under-resourced and under-utilized" and focused her intervention on the need to develop an evaluation culture. "Evaluation has yet to become a fully robust and comprehensive function and integral to how a programme works." This echoed the address made by the Secretary-General who recognized evaluation as "an essential tool in strengthening the effectiveness of the UN" and called on all managers to increase their efforts in both the conduct and use of evaluation.

Ms. Lapointe also challenged the evaluation community to be more proactive in advising programme managers on how to establish appropriate indicators by which to measure and manage their results, as well as to develop similar indicators for the evaluators themselves, asserting that oversight functions should "lead by example".

At the event, Ms. Lapointe was joined with other distinguished panelists - Mr. Pius Bigirimana (Permanent Secretary, Office of the Prime Minister of Uganda); Mr. Michel Sidibé (Executive Director of UNAIDS); and Mr. Nick York (Director for Country, Corporate and Global Evaluations, World Bank) – to give perspective whether or not the United Nations is achieving its objectives, how evaluation is contributing to measuring results, if evaluation findings and recommendations are actually used for programme and policy improvements, and how the collective capacity of UN programmes can be improved through evaluation.

This event was part of the evaluation week organized by UNEG which took place from 15 - 19 April 2013 at the UN Headquarters in New York. UNEG is an interagency network that brings together the evaluation units of the UN system, including UN departments, specialized agencies, funds and programmes, and affiliated organizations. It currently has 43 such members and three observers. Ms. Deborah Rugg, Director of the Inspection and Evaluation Division of OIOS serves as the Chair of UNEG.

Photo legend: From left to right - Mr. Michel Sidibé (Executive Director of UNAIDS); Ms Deborah Rugg (UNEG Chair and Director of Inspection and Evaluation Division, OIOS): Mr. Pius Bigirimana (Permanent Secretary, Office of the Prime Minister of Uganda); Ms. Carman Lapointe (USG of OIOS); Mr. Nick York (Director for Country, Corporate and Global Evaluations, World Bank).

List of Key Oversight Terms

"I am pleased to present this first version of the "List of Key Oversight Terms" used by OIOS. This document, pursuant to the General Assembly Resolution 64/263, compiles and defines the key oversight terms used in OIOS activities.

The list is the result of a comprehensive consultation within OIOS and also with other stakeholders. I would like to acknowledge the professional inputs from OIOS staff in preparing the document. I am particularly grateful for the insightful inputs from Office of Legal Affairs and the Department of Management, as well as from the Board of Auditors, Joint Inspection Unit, and Independent Audit Advisory Committee.

This list should help facilitate better communication between OIOS and all stakeholders. Nevertheless, in order to keep abreast of the latest developments in oversight activities, on-going review and update of the list and the definitions will be necessary. Feedback from all stakeholders will be most welcome."

Carman Lapointe
Under-Secretary-General for Internal Oversight Services

A different angle: A conversation with Ms. Carman Lapointe

In April 2012, Under-Secretary-General Lapointe spoke with the Department of Management to share her perspective on accountability.

"We try to create accountability by defining a set of rules and regulations that everyone has to obey. Yet, you cannot expect those rules by themselves to be an effective mechanism for accountability. If we are to be responsible to each other, to our clients, and to the Organization, we need to understand the principles behind the rules." (more)