JIU meets the Chairs of the United Nations system Oversight Committees to discuss audit, oversight and ethics functions, and whistleblower protection policies

On Tuesday 10th December 2019, the JIU participated in the meeting of the Chairs of the United Nations system Oversight Committees. Spanning their most recent work, the JIU Chair Sukai Prom-Jackson, and Inspectors Eileen Cronin, Aicha Afifi, Petru Dumitriu and Gönke Roscher introduced the work of the JIU.  The Chairs on UN oversight committees were interested in the JIU reviews of Audit and oversight committees, Whistleblowers policies and practices, Investigation and Ethics functions; and in the JIU’s work on the 2030 Agenda related topics.


The Chairs of the United Nations system Oversight Committees were informed by the JIU Chair Sukai Prom-Jackson that the JIU assists the legislative organs of 28 participating organizations in meeting their governance and oversight roles and responsibilities. The JIU also assists organizations to improve efficiency, effectiveness, accountability, transparency in achieving their mandates; promotes greater coordination and collaboration between and across organizations of the United Nations system; and shares information and apply good practices and benchmarks established by the JIU. Read more about the JIU’s mandate here.


Inspector Afifi presented the main findings of the review of Audit and oversight committees in the United Nations system. The review identified 13 criteria for good practices in audit and oversight committees in the United Nations system (download the document below for more information on the 13 criteria for good practices). Despite considerable progress made on the scope, content, and quality of audit and oversight committees, the review identified areas for improvement, including independence and reporting arrangements, internal control frameworks and risk management, oversight of ethics and anti-fraud activities, and performance evaluation. Read the review highlights here.


Inspector Cronin presented the review of Whistle-blower policies and practices in United Nations system organizations. The review identified 5 best practices criteria for whistle-blowing and protection against retaliation policies (download the document below for more information on the 5 best practices criteria). At the time of the review, no policy met all the criteria with several falling short in key areas such as provisions for reporting misconduct concerning the Executive Head and/or any other official with potential conflict of interest. The review, therefore, recommended policies be updated to consider the best practices, including ensuring independence of the ethics, oversight and ombudsman functions. Read the review highlights here.


Finally, Chair Sukai Prom-Jackson demonstrated that the JIU support to the 2030 Agenda is extensive. Although the JIU focus is on enhancing organizational effectiveness and less on operational activities for development results, the JIU system-wide mandate on impact for coherence, harmonization, coordination, collaboration is of relevance to the 2030 Agenda, particularly the coherence for implementing internationally agreed goals and objectives.


The presentation of the JIU was well received, and many participants suggested that the meeting of the Chairs of the United Nations system Oversight Committees continue engaging the JIU in the future.