United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

Director-General meets with the Oversight Advisory Committee at UNESCO Headquarters

During the lunch that UNESCO Director-General hosted for the Oversight Advisory Committee on 25 June, Mr Koïchiro Matsuura expressed his gratitude to the Members for serving on the Committee since it was set up in its present configuration in 2005.

“My hope is that I can continue to benefit from this Committee until the end of my mandate in 2009, when a proposal will be submitted to the General Conference to turn the Oversight Advisory Committee into a standing committee. The Secretariat will be preparing that proposal during the next 18 months. I expect the new Director of Internal Oversight Service (IOS), who will take up his duties in October, to play a vital role in this regard, and I would welcome your inputs as well”, said Mr Matsuura.

Mr John Fox, the Chairperson of the Committee briefed the Director-General on the key messages emerging from two days of deliberations and interaction with the Senior Management Team. Among other things, the Committee applauded Senior Management‘s strong commitment to Evaluation and Risk Management. The Committee had the chance to discuss with several senior managers the importance of evaluation for the Organization. There was a strong consensus on the opportunities for the strategic use of evaluation. The Committee also stressed the need to formalize enterprise risk management and issue operational guidelines for its use across the organization. It also called for the development of a Risk Management Policy. Furthermore, the Committee welcomed the recent introduction of the Internal Control Framework and urged Management to take immediate steps to implement the policy and the framework, including requiring field and operational managers to prepare annual Letters of Representation to support assertions made by the Comptroller and the Director-General on financial reporting controls. As the Framework was heavily focused on financial reporting controls, it was necessary to also include operational and programme internal controls. While the Committee was impressed by the progress made to launch IPSAS in UNESCO, it highlighted the need for raising awareness about the implications that the new standards would have on the financial reports of the Organization.

The Director-General called for more direct interactions between the Committee and the College of ADGs, especially on issues such as the Evaluation strategy, Risk Management, and the Internal Control Framework. “I am pleased to see your increasing focus on the substantive work that must be done. There is a genuine desire in the House to tackle issues such as risk management, internal control, and some of the issues arising from UN oversight work. I am very pleased that you are helping to strengthen IOS through your vast experience”, he concluded.

The Oversight Advisory Committee was set up to provide the Director-General with independent, expert advice on oversight matters. It plans to hold four sessions in the course of the current biennium.

Author(s): Office of the Spokeswoman - Source: Flash Info N° 092-2008 -  Publication Date: 08-07-2008

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