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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.

High-level Panel Discussion Highlights the Role of OIOS

The Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) held a high-level panel discussion "Twenty years of OIOS, Delivering Results that Make a Difference" in New York on 23 October 2014, as part of the 20th anniversary commemoration of OIOS. The panel discussion was attended by over 170 participants, including experts in oversight services, representatives of governing bodies, senior management and the press.

United Nations Secretary-General opened the event and underscored that in the face of the growing demands and expectations of the international community, "transparency, efficiency and accountability are all crucial to deliver the results that people need [and that] OIOS is vital to these efforts." He noted that over the years, OIOS has been operating independently and assisting him and management in oversight responsibilities with respect to human and financial resources, as well as various key inititatives such as ERM, IPSAS, Umoja and the Capital Master Plan. The Secretary-General also pleged to continue his full support to OIOS and other oversight bodies.

Reflecting on the OIOS mandate to provide independent and objective internal oversight services to the United Nations, the panel members presented their views on the impact that OIOS has had on the evolution of the Organization since its establishment two decades ago.

H.E. Mr. František Ružička, Permanent Representative of the Slovak Republic of the United Nations and Chair of the 5th Committee to the General Assembly, said that OIOS has proven its relevance and importance to the Organization.

Ms. Susana Malcorra, Chef de Cabinet of the United Nations, pointed out that the UN is operating in a very unique environment that leads to different application of effective risk management. She stressed that it is imperative to contextualize the oversight work in such unique operating environment.

Echoing the message of Ms. Malcorra, the Chairman of the Independent Audit Advisory Committee, Mr. J. Christopher Mihm, emphasized that in light of the complex context and issues, enterprise risk management, which OIOS has been contributing to, is critical and a key to success in delivering the mandate of UN. See more

"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". See more