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The General Assembly, in its resolution 48/218B of 29 July 1994, established the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS), to assist the Secretary-General in fulfilling his oversight responsibilities in respect of the resources and staff of the Organization through internal audit, monitoring, inspection, evaluation and investigation services. The Office aims to be an agent of change that promotes responsible administration of resources, a culture of accountability and transparency, and improved programme performance. Each year OIOS issues more than 200 reports, and more than 1,500 recommendations to improve internal controls and correct underlying obstacles to organizational efficiency and effectiveness.
- conducts comprehensive internal audits;
- monitors and evaluates the efficiency and effectiveness of the implementation of programmes and mandates;
- conducts inspections of programmes and organizational units;
- investigates reports of mismanagement and misconduct;
- monitors the implementation of recommendations emanating from audits, evaluations, inspections and investigations.
OIOS covers all United Nations activities under the Secretary-General's authority, including: the UN Secretariat in New York, Geneva, Nairobi and Vienna, five regional commissions, peacekeeping missions and humanitarian operations; assistance to Funds and Programmes administered separately under the authority of the Secretary-General (including UNHCR, UNEP, UN HABITAT, and OHCHR), and other entities that have requested OIOS services such as UNCCD and UNFCCC.
The Fifth Committee of the General Assembly reviews the functions and reporting procedures of OIOS, as required in the original mandate. The Under-Secretary-General for Internal Oversight Services is appointed by the Secretary-General, following consultations with Member States, and approved by the General Assembly for one five-year term without possibility of renewal.
Access to OIOS Reports
As per General Assembly resolution 59/272, that original versions of the reports of OIOS not submitted to the General Assembly are, upon request, made available to any Member State . The r esolution further provides that when access to a report would be inappropriate for reasons of confidentiality or the risk of violating the due process rights of individuals involved in administrative proceedings within the Organisation, the report may be modified, or withheld in extraordinary circumstances, at the discretion of the Under-Secretary-General for OIOS, who will provide reasons for this to the requesting party. A listing of all OIOS reports may be accessed through this link.
Coordination and Cooperation
OIOS coordinates regularly with other United Nations oversight entities, including the Board of Auditors and the Joint Inspection Unit, to ensure that potential duplications and overlaps in the conduct of oversight work are avoided and to minimize gaps in oversight coverage. Aside from sharing workplans, the Office holds bimonthly meetings with the Board of Auditors to discuss issues of mutual interest and meets with the Joint Inspection Unit on an ad hoc basis when issues arise. Annually, senior representatives from these entities take part in a tripartite meeting to discuss inter alia, oversight coordination.
OIOS also recognises the value and importance of fostering relationships with other relevant oversight entities across the United System, especially as a means to foster relationships and share expertise amongst entities that, although not within the scope of OIOS's mandate, are nevertheless part of the larger United Nations family. OIOS professionals in audit, evaluation and investigations are actively engaged in a number of United Nations system-wide fora, including:
- the Representatives of Internal Audit Services of the United Nations Organisations and Multilateral Financial Institutions (RIAS);
- the United Nations Evaluation Group (UNEG);
- the Interpol Group of Experts on Corruption (IGEC);
- the International Group for Anti-Corruption Coordination (IGAC);
- the International Investigators' Conference.