Evaluation and oversight

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Oversight at UNESCO
© UNESCO

UNESCO is committed to strong oversight mechanisms and full transparency, to ensure that its work is efficient, effective and known to both its partners and the general public. The function of Oversight and Evaluation has different yet complementary components:

Its Internal Oversight Service (IOS) is part of the Secretariat and conducts independent and objective audits and evaluations of UNESCO’s programmes and services. IOS consists of three branches:

  •     Internal Audit - providing independent and objective assurance to add value and improve the Organization’s operations;
  •     Evaluation - providing credible evidence-based information to feed into decision-making processes on managing for results;
  •     Investigation - looking into allegations of irregularities when necessary (corruption, fraud, embezzlement, abuse of assets and waste, violation of laws and regulations).

UNESCO was the subject of an Independent External Evaluation (IEE), conducted by an external team in 2010. The evaluation provided recommendations allowing the Organization to position itself for future needs and challenges. The Executive Board and the Secretariat are now following up on the Evaluation’s recommendations. 

Oversight is also ensured by:

  • The Oversight Advisory Committee (OAC) - comprised of external independent members to advise the Director-General on fulfilling her oversight responsibilities. It reports annually to the Executive Board.
  • An External Auditor (French Cour des Comptes) - appointed by the General Conference for a six-year term to audit the accounts and financial statements of the organization and to undertake other specific examinations requested by the General Conference.
  • The Ethics Office - aims to contribute establishing an ethical culture at UNESCO. It is responsible for providing confidential advice and guidance on ethics to the Organization and its personnel, both at Headquarters and in the Field Offices. This includes conflicts of interest, moral and sexual harassment, the management of the Financial Disclosure Programme, abuse of power or authority, discrimination, and the protection of UNESCO employees for reporting misconduct and/or for cooperating with audits or investigations. The Ethics Office also delivers training on ethics and standards of conduct to all UNESCO personnel.