Since 2005, the United Nations has been attempting to reform its management processes, in part to help ensure that resources are used effectively and efficiently. Some of these reforms focus on improving oversight and accountability at the United Nations.
Although the six UN internal audit offices that Government Accounting Office reviewed have made progress in implementing international auditing standards, they have not fully implemented key components of the standards.
The organizations lack completed organizationwide risk-management frameworks, which are essential in identifying the areas with the greatest vulnerability to fraud, waste, and abuse. In addition, three audit offices lack sufficient staff to cover high-risk areas of the organization.
Furthermore, some of the audit offices have not fully implemented quality assurance processes, which include activities such as external peer reviews. Some of the organizations also do not have professional investigators to probe allegations of wrongdoing.
While the six UN evaluation offices that GAO reviewed are working toward implementation of UN evaluation standards, they have not fully implemented them. Most of the evaluation offices lack sufficient resources and appropriate expertise to manage and conduct evaluations, especially at the country level.
This has impacted their ability to conduct high-quality and strategically important evaluations. In addition, most of the evaluation offices have not fully implemented quality assurance processes relating to areas such as evaluation methodology, scope, evidence, and findings.
Furthermore, all of the evaluation offices are working toward fully establishing mechanisms that systematically follow up and report on the status of their recommendations.
The governing bodies responsible for oversight of the six UN organizations that GAO reviewed lack full access to internal audit reports and most lack direct information from the audit offices about the sufficiency of their resources and capacity to conduct their work, which could provide greater insights into the organizations' operations and identify critical systemic weaknesses.
In addition, with one exception, the organizations' audit committees that GAO examined are generally not accountable to their governing bodies, and some are composed of senior management officials.
Sources: US Government Accounting Office, Department of State, United Nations
Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police. He's former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed "Crack City" by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at a New Jersey university and director of security for a number of organizations. He's also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. He writes for many police and crime magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer, Campus Law Enforcement Journal, and others. He's appeared as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, Fox News, etc. His book Assume The Position is available at Amazon.Com, Booksamillion.com, and can be ordered at local bookstores. Kouri holds a bachelor of science in criminal justice and master of arts in public administration and he's a board certified protection professional.