One of the most important elements of effective oversight is the systematic monitoring and thorough follow-up of the status of acceptance and implementation of recommendations issued by oversight bodies. Without a proper follow-up system, the impact of recommendations cannot be determined accurately and the value of any review undertaken is greatly diminished, or lost. Over the years, the United Nations General Assembly has emphasized the need for the Unit to follow-up on the acceptance and the implementation of its recommendations.
Article 11 of the JIU Statute sets out the procedure for handling reports by POs and the Chief Executives Board for Coordination (CEB). It states that executive heads shall inform JIU of decisions taken on the substance of the reports by the competent organs of their organization. At the same time, Article 12 requires that executive heads of organizations shall ensure that recommendations of the JIU approved by their respective competent organs are implemented as expeditiously as possible.
The Statute further states that such implementation may be subject to verification by the competent organs of the organizations, which may also request JIU to issue follow-up reports. This institutionalized the principle of follow-up in the Statute itself and was further developed by General Assembly resolution 50/233 (1996), which reiterated that "recommendations on the cost-effectiveness of activities within the UN system is a shared responsibility of the Member States, JIU and the secretariats of the participating organizations". In the spirit of the resolution, the follow-up system is also a shared responsibility of Member States, JIU and its participating organizations.
While the implementation of follow-up agreements significantly clarified roles and responsibilities of Member States, JIU and the secretariats of the organizations in addressing and following-up JIU recommendations, it should be noted that the expected improvements resulting from the establishment of those new instruments have developed over time.
JIU began tracking actions taken by legislative bodies on recommendations in 1998. This tracking system evolved over the years (from a basic spread sheet to a database) to respond to repeated requests by the General Assembly to strengthen the Unit’s follow-up on the implementation of its recommendations.
Web-Based Tracking System
In 2012, the Web-Based Tracking System (WBTS) was introduced. The General Assembly resolution 65/270 authorized the United Nations Secretariat to commit financially for the development of the system, encouraging other participating organizations to follow suit. The majority of them agreed to fund this project on a cost-sharing basis.
The online tracking system was successfully rolled out and brought significant improvement in the way JIU follows up on the acceptance and implementation of its recommendations. Feedback received from users in the JIU secretariat and in the participating organizations indicated overall satisfaction with the system in place and its functionalities. Using the information available in the WBTS, JIU has started to produce a comprehensive series of management letters analysing the acceptance and implementation of its recommendations by each of its participating organizations, highlighting good practices and suggesting improvements where needed.