United Nations:

Progress To Strengthen U.N. Internal Evaluation Systems Has Been Slow

NSIAD-87-54: Published: Jan 14, 1987. Publicly Released: Jan 14, 1987.

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GAO provided information on: (1) the United Nations (UN) headquarters' progress in strengthening internal evaluation; and (2) U.S. efforts to monitor and promote the evaluation and to assess UN development programs.

GAO found that: (1) several specialized UN agencies are making progress in establishing internal evaluation capabilities by integrating evaluation findings into their programming, budgeting, and management processes; (2) the UN headquarters, regional commissions, some major departments, and some semi-autonomous organizations have made little progress in developing strong internal evaluation capability; (3) UN has not rapidly implemented provisions in its 1981 and 1983 resolutions that would strengthen headquarters evaluation units and systems capabilities; (4) the Central Evaluation Unit (CEU), established in 1985, does not have adequate personnel or resources to perform its tasks, including conducting evaluations, formulating evaluation policies, procedures, and program feedback, and establishing self-evaluation guidelines; (5) UN planned to make temporary arrangements to provide more support to CEU and proposed that it emphasize self-evaluation by program managers; and (6) the United States promoted the 1981 resolution to strengthen internal evaluation and continues to promote the improvement of evaluation mechanisms and conduct independent assessments of various agencies' development assistance programs.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: State has made a final effort to push this recommendation through the formal U.N. channels. Detailed instructions have been prepared for UN representatives. State will submit a report to the appropriate congressional committees once the results in the UN General Assembly are known.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of State should direct U.S. representatives to UN to pursue implementation of the 1981 and 1983 General Assembly resolutions by requesting the UN Secretary General to: (1) provide the necessary staff resources to establish or strengthen evaluation units for all UN headquarters organizations; (2) review the CEU staffing requirements to ensure that it is adequately staffed to carry out its central evaluation activities; (3) establish time frames and milestones for completing initial evaluation training, providing central evaluation information services, and integrating evaluation into the program planning and budgeting cycle; and (4) provide annual reports on the status of evaluation systems' implementation.

    Agency Affected: Department of State


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