OIOS-IED undertakes independent inspections and evaluations of all UN Secretariat activities, covering 38 UN Secretariat departments and programmes as well as peacekeeping operations (PKOs) and special political missions (SPMs). IED is committed to providing timely, valid and reliable information from an independent perspective that can be used to strengthen the Organization. Guided by the norms and standards for evaluation in the UN established by the UN Evaluation Group (UNEG), IED's outputs consist of inspection and evaluation reports.
IED produces the following evaluation and inspection outputs:
Full programme evaluations, also referred to as “in-depth” evaluations when mandated by the CPC, assess the overall relevance, effectiveness, impact and efficiency of a single Secretariat programme, subprogramme, or of a peacekeeping operation (PKO) or special political mission (SPM). Programme evaluations assess the work under the authority of one programme manager or department head. Programme evaluations assess the overall relevance, efficiency, effectiveness, and impact of that programme or subprogramme.
Thematic evaluations typically assess a single cross-cutting theme or activity across several Secretariat programmes, for example the cumulative effects of multiple programmes sharing common objectives and purposes, or the effectiveness of coordination and cooperation. They can also assess the cumulative effects of multiple programmes sharing common objectives and purposes (e.g., the Secretariat’s contribution to the Millennium Development Goals) or the effectiveness of coordination and cooperation among different programmes (e.g., the interaction of UNHCR, OCHA and Secretariat members of the Emergency Shelter and Protection Clusters in humanitarian action).
Inspections are shorter, more focused and more targeted reviews of an organizational unit, issue or practice perceived to be of potential risk, in order to determine the extent to which it adheres to established norms, good practices or other pre-determined criteria, and to identify corrective action as needed. In practice, OIOS-IED’s inspections and evaluations are similar in nature, differing mainly in their scope and duration. In addition, inspections tend to be less regularly planned.
OIOS-IED inspections are not the same as investigations, which focus on determining wrongdoing within the Organization, and which require referral to the competent authorities. Nor are they physical inspections for the monitoring and verification of compliance with international obligations, such as inspections for weapons of mass destruction.
Ad hoc Inspections and Evaluations
Ad hoc requests for inspections or evaluations are made by any of the Organization’s stakeholders, including Member States, the S-G and Secretariat programme managers. They are undertaken subject to OIOS-IED’s review of the proposed topic’s strategic importance and potential risk to the Organization, and consideration of the resource implications of fulfilling the request.
Biennial Report on Evaluation
In accordance with ST/SGB/2000/8, OIOS-IED is mandated to submit to the GA, through the CPC, Biennial Reports on “strengthening the role of evaluation and the application of evaluation findings on programme design, delivery and policy directives.” Together with the Evaluation Dashboard, the Biennial Reports are thus the main products through which OIOS-IED seeks to strengthen self-evaluation capacity within the UN Secretariat, a mandated aspect of its work enshrined in the OIOS Strategic Framework and depicted in its Programme Impact Pathway (PIP).
In 2013, OIOS-IED introduced a new product for all Secretariat entities - Evaluation Scorecards, which have been remaned as 'Dashboard' since 2017. The Dashboard provides a programme-by-programme assessment of evaluation capacity and practices, based on indicators emanating from the UNEG norms and standards. Together with the Biennial Reports, the Evaluation Dashboard are the main products through which OIOS-IED seeks to strengthen self-evaluation capacity within the UN Secretariat, a mandated aspect of its work enshrined in the OIOS Strategic Framework and depicted in its PIP.
Triennial Reviews are follow-up exercises, undertaken three years after every GA-mandated inspection and evaluation report, in accordance with a decision by the CPC at its 22nd session to review the implementation of its recommendations. These reviews involve the collection of evidence to verify implementation of recommendations and to describe how recommendations have been implemented. A Triennial Review is usually started in December and completed in March of the following year in order to be presented to the CPC in June. Peacekeeping reports are not generally mandated by the GA and so are not subject to Triennial Reviews.