In its first long-term strategy (2001-2007) which started when IOS was established in 2001, the focus of IOS’s work was on educating, capacity-building and introducing the Organization to various aspects of oversight such as the need for assessment of results and learning from evaluations, for exercising proper internal controls and compliance with rules/regulations, for proper accountability, etc. There is improved awareness and knowledge and efforts are being made to improve planning, evaluate results, exercise control and comply with rules, particularly in field offices.
The results of the first long-term strategy were achieved through implementation of oversight activities such as advocacy for the use of evaluations, backstopping support for evaluations that are delivered, assessing the existence and functioning of internal controls, dissemination of evaluation/audit results and lessons learned, dissemination of tools for evaluation and self-assessment, undertaking training on self evaluation and on policies/procedures.
The second long-term strategy (2008-2013) focuses on achieving intermediate results to enhance accountability for the effective and efficient achievement of programme results. These will be achieved mostly through oversight activities similar to those undertaken in the previous period but with a different emphasis. The aim is to deliver a smaller number of high-quality evaluations and audits. These would cover all strategic objectives, strengthen evaluation capacity within UNESCO, promote the efficient and effective use of resources for programme delivery both at Headquarters and in field offices, encourage management and the governing bodies to use evaluation/audit results to improve strategic management, policy development, organizational learning and internal controls.
Finally, the immediate and intermediate results will be the basis for the Director-General to provide assurance to the governing bodies that the expected results from UNESCO’s programmes have been achieved and that internal control and risk management in UNESCO is functioning effectively.
Internally, within IOS, the first long-term strategy sought to bring the quality of the work and deliverables into line with professional standards. A lot of effort was made to develop evaluation/audit approaches, working tools, and processes/procedures. In 2006 a quality assurance review of the IOS audit function was completed. This was later validated by the Institute of Internal Auditors which was satisfied that the function generally complied with professional standards. There were 12 recommendations made to strengthen the overall performance. An external review of the Evaluation Strategy and Evaluation function was also undertaken by an external evaluator.
For the second long-term strategy starting with the 2008-2009 biennium, internal IOS development will focus on implementing the recommendations from these reviews to further strengthen the effectiveness of UNESCO’s oversight functions.