UNESCO:

Status of Improvements in Management Personnel, Financial, and Budgeting Practices

NSIAD-92-172: Published: Jun 9, 1992. Publicly Released: Jun 25, 1992.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the United Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

GAO found that: (1) the United States withdrew from UNESCO in December 1984, stating that UNESCO was mismanaged, budget growth was out of control, and programs were politically biased; (2) the UNESCO General Conference, which makes policy for UNESCO, has adopted resolutions for management reform based on UNESCO Executive Board recommendations; (3) UNESCO directors are exercising their delegated authorities concerning personnel and funding; (4) UNESCO has taken steps towards decentralization by collecting information on field offices' needs and resources and strengthening their management by providing them with financial training and additional authority; (5) to ensure accountability, UNESCO has expanded the Inspector General's role, increased his staff and required field and headquarters administrative officers to report to the Deputy Director General for Management; (6) UNESCO has begun to narrow the focus of its work and to plan its activities more effectively, but program plans rarely specify the expected impact of programs or include quantitative indicators for measuring success; (7) UNESCO has introduced such personnel system reforms as a staff appraisal system based on job performance and reassessment of its job positions and salary grades to conform with International Civil Service Commission standards; (8) since 1988, UNESCO has reduced the real growth rate of its regular budgets, and its budget presentation has become clearer; and (9) UNESCO generally complies with its financial management regulations.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: Because of budgetary constraints, decentralization is no longer possible. Rather, retrenchment to a central location is necessary.

    Recommendation: To further the process of decentralization, the UNESCO Director General should develop criteria laying out the factors and conditions under which activities and resources should be decentralized.

    Agency Affected: United Nations: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Country databases use existing on-line information from other organizations.

    Recommendation: To further the process of decentralization, the UNESCO Director General should complete the country databases that would be necessary to develop operational plans for decentralizing.

    Agency Affected: United Nations: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

  3. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: Because of budgetary constraints, decentralization is no longer possible. Rather, retrenchment to a central location is necessary.

    Recommendation: To further the process of decentralization, the UNESCO Director General should develop operational plans that would lay out specifics for decentralization, including what activities and resources to decentralize, where to locate those resources, and what time frames to follow.

    Agency Affected: United Nations: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The tracking system is in place and is being used for the 1994-95 budget.

    Recommendation: To more effectively plan, execute, and monitor UNESCO programs, the UNESCO Director General should develop and implement a system of computer coding that allows activities to be tracked and monitored from biennium to biennium.

    Agency Affected: United Nations: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

  5. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Central Evaluation Unit has trained staff to specify objectives and impact indicators.

    Recommendation: To more effectively plan, execute, and monitor UNESCO programs, the UNESCO Director General should ensure that work plans and other planning documents include expected impact, quantitative indicators for measuring success, and specific target groups.

    Agency Affected: United Nations: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

  6. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The 1992-1993 plan has been completed and the 1994-1995 plan is being drafted.

    Recommendation: To more effectively plan, execute, and monitor UNESCO programs, the UNESCO Director General should develop an evaluation plan that ensures a representative selection of UNESCO programs is evaluated and that specifies the scheduling of evaluations, funding source for the evaluations, and who will do the evaluation.

    Agency Affected: United Nations: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

  7. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The external review indicates significant reforms are on track.

    Recommendation: To ensure that personnel reform efforts continue and improve, the UNESCO Director General should continue to monitor progress through periodic external reviews.

    Agency Affected: United Nations: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

  8. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The unified database is in operation.

    Recommendation: To ensure that personnel reform efforts continue and improve, the UNESCO Director General should develop a unified personnel database that is accurate, complete, and includes regular and supplementary staff in all locations and from all sources of funding.

    Agency Affected: United Nations: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

  9. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: A checklist is in use as part of the contract authorization form.

    Recommendation: To ensure that personnel reform efforts continue and improve, the UNESCO Director General should develop procedural checklists for the application of the rules on consultants, supernumeraries, and fee contracts to better control the contract authorization procedure and make it more transparent and uniform.

    Agency Affected: United Nations: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

  10. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: A table comparing planned and actual expenditures for 1992 has been presented to the Executive Board.

    Recommendation: The UNESCO Director General should further improve the UNESCO budget presentation by ensuring that a table comparing budgeted to actual expenditures by object of expenditure be included in a draft of the budget presentation for the governing bodies.

    Agency Affected: United Nations: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

  11. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: GAO recommendations were carried out in the 1994-95 budget.

    Recommendation: The UNESCO Director General should further improve the UNESCO budget presentation by elaborating on the difference between the constant rate of exchange and the actual rate in effect when the budget is published and adding a footnote in the summary budget table denoting the changes in exchange rates.

    Agency Affected: United Nations: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

  12. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: UNESCO has adopted and is using a system much like GAO's system for time and attendance.

    Recommendation: The UNESCO Deputy Director General for Management should ensure that payroll controls contain a positive verification of hours worked, such as employees recording and signing a schedule of work hours and having a supervisor verify it as correct. When this is not possible, some alternative, such as determining reasonableness of work output for time spent, should be used to provide reasonable assurance that employees are working when scheduled.

    Agency Affected: United Nations: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

 

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