The Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) is the internal oversight body of the United Nations. Established in 1994 by the General Assembly, the Office assists the Secretary-General in fulfilling his oversight responsibilities in respect of the resources and staff of the Organization through the provision of audit, investigation, inspection, and evaluation services. Internal Audit Division audits assess the adequacy and effectiveness of internal controls for the purpose of improving the Organization’s risk management, control and governance processes. Inspection and Evaluation Division evaluations assess the relevance, efficiency, and effectiveness (including impact) of the Organization’s programmes in relation to their objectives and mandates. Investigations Division investigations establish facts related to reports of possible misconduct to guide the Secretary-General on jurisdictional or disciplinary action to be taken.
General Assembly resolutions 48/218B, 54/244 and 59/272 on the establishment and the review of functions and reporting procedures of OIOS. According to the United Nations Financial Regulation 5.15, OIOS is responsible for conducting independent internal audits. These audits are carried out in accordance with the International Standards for the Professional Practice of Internal Auditing.
OIOS assists the Organization in achieving better results by determining the factors affecting the efficient and effective implementation of programmes in accordance with, inter alia, the internationally agreed development goals, including those contained in the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, and in the outcomes of the major United Nations conferences and international agreements since 1992. OIOS undertakes a number of activities to support the commitment of the Organization to gender mainstreaming, including oversight of United Nations gender mainstreaming efforts.
In its risk assessment of Secretariat departments, offices, regional commissions and peacekeeping and political missions, OIOS identified governance and organizational arrangements as a high risk area. OIOS had conducted, in 2008, an audit of the management of the Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues (OSAGI) and the Division for the Advancement of Women (DAW) within the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA). OIOS recommended that DESA, in consultation with the Secretary-General, should consolidate OSAGI and DAW into one single programme within DESA.Hide
As part of its Investigations Learning Programme (ILP), the Investigations Division of OIOS has successfully launched a Sexual Exploitation and Abuse Basic Investigations Training Course for the various investigative entities in the UN system, such as Military Police and Special Investigations Units. Particularly applicable in the peacekeeping context, the SEA training course covers techniques and best practices in several aspects of SEA: investigations, including first response issues; interviewing for SEA cases; field investigation issues; report writing; evidence collection and forensic analysis; and applicable law, with a focus on "the SEA bulletin": ST/SGB/2003/13, Special measures for protection against sexual exploitation and sexual abuse. The course applies a multi-disciplinary approach to learning by using role playing, group work, group discussion, video reviewing and videotaping for interview exercises.Hide
OIOS recently commenced a thematic evaluation of the start-up phase of the Secretary-General’s Campaign “UNiTE to End Violence against Women”. The evaluation will also consider the broader framework in which the campaign is carried out, namely the UN’s work on gender mainstreaming and gender equality. The regional (ECLAC) working group for the Secretary-General’s UNiTE Campaign, in addition to UNIFEM, UNFPA and ECLAC, expanded to include the Interamerican Commission for Women (ICW), the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), ILO, OHCHR, PAHO, UNAIDS, UNDP and WFP. As part of a review of the implementation of the mandate of OHCHR, OIOS surveyed 1,200 Colombians from different regions and socio-economic groups. Two thirds of all respondents indicated respect for human rights, as the most important issue to them, on a list that also included economic development, environmental protection and international relations. Women reported significantly higher levels of interest in human rights and significantly lower levels of knowledge concerning human rights mechanisms in Colombia than did men (A/64/203, Box, Knowledge of human rights among the population of Colombia, pp. 9-10). Seventy two per cent of respondents felt violence and civil unrest were definitely human rights issues. Staff of the OHCHR and its partners, from a wide range of stakeholders, were also interviewed, indicating that the OHCHR had contributed to increased protection of potential victims, reduction of human rights violations and more measures to improve access to human rights by marginalized and discriminated groups, including women. OIOS is providing support to the building of capacity and specialized skills for investigating SEA, including advanced training techniques involving victims of sex crimes. OIOS issues reports that request confirmation of follow-up by Member States contributing troops for peacekeeping operations, in order to ensure that allegations of SEA are not treated with impunity.Hide
OIOS’ evaluation of the United Nations Mission in the Sudan (UNMIS) showed that progress had been made in mainstreaming gender into the Mission's agenda and tasks. For example, the Mission prepared gender equality guidelines and a gender strategy, which was instrumental in establishing Vulnerable Persons Protection Units in all Sudanese police stations and had demobilized more than 6,000 women combatants by September 2010. In OIOS' survey of UNMIS staff, 57 per cent of respondents rated the Mission's activities in giving attention to the special needs of women combatants in disarmament, demobilization and reintegration positively. However, information received by UNMIS that 24 women and 30 girls had been raped in 2 villages was not included in the Human Rights Bulletin that the Mission compiled. OIOS recommended that UNMIS should report more comprehensively on human rights violations. (A/65/752) OIOS’ evaluation of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) gave particular emphasis to violence against women in view of the history of conflict-related violence against women in that country. OIOS collaborated with UN Women to develop terms of reference incorporating this focus and to ensure that the Mission's efforts to reduce violence against women and offer assistance to victims were evaluated. The Mission's responses to incidents of violence against women were also considered in the evaluation. The draft report of the evaluation is currently being reviewed by the Mission and DPKO/DFS. OIOS’ evaluation of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) addressed policing and building the capacity of the local police to cope with criminal activity, which includes violence against women. OIOS has submitted the draft report with findings and recommendations to the Mission and DPKO/DFS for review. OIOS reviewed activities aimed at eliminating violence against women in the context of an audit of the management of the human rights programme in the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI). OIOS’ proposed recommendations include strengthening implementation strategies and programme evaluation of UNAMI's human rights interventions in Iraq that also relate to women right violations.Hide