Note No. 5902
28 October 2004
Note to Correspondents
UNs Internal Oversight Office Launches 2004 Annual Report at Headquarters
OIOS Conducts Self-Evaluation to Assist General Assembly Five-Year Review; Underscores Strengthening of Independence
NEW YORK, 27 October (UN Headquarters) -- The impact of the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) on the accountability, efficiency and quality of the management of the Organization during the past 12-months period was broad and far-reaching, according to the Annual Report of the Office released today. For example, the Office identified recoveries and potential savings to the Organization totalling over $16 million, of which some $27 million, from prior and current periods, has already been recovered and saved.
The report is structured around a portfolio of high risk areas that guide the prioritization and allocation of resources for internal oversight. The areas that expose the Organization to the highest risks include safety and security, procurement and peacekeeping. As an illustration of this approach, the OIOS reviewed the risks surrounding the safety and security of United Nations personnel and facilities at 20 peacekeeping and political missions worldwide, making wide-ranging recommendations to improve security of United Nations staff. In an audit of the management and use of funds appropriated during 2002-2003 to strengthen the security and safety of United Nations premises, the OIOS identified delays in the project at Headquarters and increases in cost.
Looking back over the past four and a half years, I am pleased to note the changes that have taken place in the Office, and how we have strived to fulfil our mandate, says Dileep Nair, Under-Secretary-General for Internal Oversight Services. The introduction of a risk management framework is to me the most significant improvement, he says. The OIOS uses the combined knowledge and expertise of its audit, inspection, monitoring, evaluation, investigation and management consulting staff to examine problem areas, challenges and overarching trends that could threaten the Organizations activities, assets, and reputation. Oversight assignments are planned and undertaken to mitigate the risks identified.
To assist the General Assembly in its five-year review of the Office, the OIOS undertook an Office-wide self-evaluation. The assessment concluded that fundamental to the achievements of the Office has been its operational independence, with regard to reporting procedures and management of resources. Such an arrangement is consistent with good governance, international auditing standards and also mirrors the current practice in the private sector, Mr. Nair points out.
Earlier this year, the OIOS sponsored a Secretariat-wide integrity perception survey of United Nations staff, as part of the Organizational Integrity Initiative, launched by the OIOS together with other United Nations Departments and Offices, to reinforce integrity and professional ethics in the Organization. The Initiative is currently being coordinated by the Office of the Deputy Secretary-General.
The Office issued some 1,500 recommendations, calling for improvements to productivity and accountability for fraud, waste and abuse. Half of these recommendations have already been implemented by Departments and Offices. The number and range of the OIOSs recommendations show the multifaceted nature of its oversight work and its impact on the Organization. The identified potential savings also suggest that good management practices and controls can yield large dividends in terms of reduced expenditures and recoveries for the Organization. The actual savings and recoveries depend on the concerted and sustained efforts of programme managers, which can often extend over several years.
To learn more about the OIOS mandate and activities, please visit:
Contact: Helene Thorup-Hayes, tel.: (212) 963 5241.
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