Internal Oversight Service

The Internal Oversight Service (IOS) operates independently and objectively to improve the quality and impact of UNESCO’s programmes through its three branches: Internal Audit, Evaluation and Investigation.
IOS is guided by the IOS Charter and adheres to international professional standards for the conduct of its functions. It presents its Annual Reports to the Executive Board every spring and reports on Evaluations Completed every fall. Its operations are subject to review by the Oversight Advisory Committee (OAC), which advises the Director-General in fulfilling their oversight responsibility.

IOS is part of an extensive oversight mechanism for UNESCO that includes the External Auditor, the Oversight Advisory Committee (OAC) and the Joint Inspection Unit (JIU).

For more information about the latest key activities of IOS and its work strategy read the IOS Annual Reports.

Internal Audit

Internal Audit

Internal Audit was established as part of the Internal Oversight Service (IOS) to add value and improve the Organization`s operation, administration, management control and programme delivery.


Internal Audit is constituted through the `Financial Regulations and Rules` of UNESCO, which are outlined in the Internal Audit Manual. Its function, purpose, authority and responsibility are highlighted in the ‘IOS Internal Audit Charter and Policy’. UNESCO`s Internal Auditors are professionally certified and every Internal Audit is performed in accordance with the `International Standards for the Professional Practice of Internal Auditing` and the `Code of Ethics` outlined by the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA).


Internal Audit is guided by a risk-based model whose objective is to ensure that audit resources are directed towards UNESCO activities and entities with the highest risk. Every year approximately 25 internal audits and advisory engagements are conducted. The effectiveness of Internal Audit`s procedures is subject to periodic Quality Assessments, which operate following the procedures and guidelines specified in UNESCO Administrative Manual. The “Quality Self-Assessment with Independent Validation: UNESCO`s Internal Audit Service”, completed in 2016 by IOS, concluded that UNESCO`s Internal Audit activity generally conforms to International Standards and Code of Ethics.



The Evaluation Office’s mandate is to improve the relevance, efficiency, effectiveness and sustainability of the Organization’s programmes, projects and operations.
An integrated results-based evaluation system is critical to advancing organizational performance.

UNESCO’s evaluation function aims at ensuring the achievement of the Organization’s objectives and promoting a culture of learning, transparency, accountability and results. The importance of evaluation is highlighted in the UNESCO Medium-Term Strategy 37C/4 2014-2021, which notes that it “plays a critical role in enabling the Organization to meet its mandate by providing credible and evidence-based information that feeds into various decision-making processes”.
To ensure the systematic assessment of significant areas and strategic cross-cutting issues relevant for attaining the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Evaluation Office conducts corporate evaluations aimed at delivering credible and evidence-based information for informed decision-making on policy and programme development and for the effective allocation and maximization of resources.

What is Evaluation?

  • An assessment, as systematic and impartial as possible, of an activity, project or programme, strategy, policy, topic, theme, sector, operational area, institutional performance, etc.;
  • It analyses the result chain, processes, contextual factors and causality to understand achievements or the lack thereof;
  • Aims at determining the relevance, impact, effectiveness, efficiency and sustainability of interventions and contributions;
  • Must provide credible, reliable and useful information & enable the timely incorporation of findings, recommendations and lessons learned into the decision-making process of the organization.


  • Enhancing accountability,
  • Increasing effectivness and efficiency of programmes,
  • Strengthening strategic policy development,
  • Contributing to result-driven UNESCO,
  • Promoting a culture of evaluation,
  • Improving the quality of evaluations,
  • Rendering the management od evaluations effective,
  • Contributing to strategic management,
  • Extending evaluation covergae to all significant activities,
  • Expending finding opportunities,
  • Fostering follow up evaluation recommendations.


Investigation promotes accountability across UNESCO by assessing allegations of misconduct and irregularities. It is responsible for investigating allegations of corruption, fraud, waste, abuse of authority and other misconduct by UNESCO staff or other parties. In case when investigation concludes that misconduct occurred, disciplinary measures are proposed by HRM to the Director-General.

In 2016, 32 new allegations were received and 45 closed, including 19 cases from 2015.

Among these, 44% percent of the cases opened in 2016 were at Headquarters and 56% in field operations.