UNOPS has systematically improved its financial control and management structure. Among the actions taken:
the creation of an internal audit and dedicated investigative function
the application of robust financial controls including mandatory use of electronic financial management tools
the introduction of an ethics officer and whistleblower protection
a comprehensive information disclosure policy
the competitive recruitment of better qualified senior managers and financial staff
stricter procurement rules and training
full financial disclosure by personnel
publication of internal audit reports on unops.org
introduction of International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS)
These efforts have earned UNOPS objective recognition in the form of consistently clean audit results, and new framework business agreements with, among others, the UN Secretariat, the European Commission, and the World Bank, as well as strong partner satisfaction ratings.
On 20 December 2010 the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution in which the 192 member states reaffirmed UNOPS mandate as a central resource for the United Nations system in procurement and contracts management as well as in civil works and physical infrastructure development, including the related capacity development activities.
Since then, UNOPS has continued to deliver strong operational results, increasing its work in low income and conflict-affected countries, promoting sustainability, national capacity development and gender equality in its partners' projects.
UNOPS currently implements around 1,000 projects worth around $1 billion a year for its partners' peacebuilding, humanitarian and development operations. In 2012, 41 percent of the organizations work was in low income and conflict-affected countries. For example, UNOPS managed the construction or rehabilitation of 3,560 kilometres of roads and 9,661 shelters and relief facilities, procured more than 19,000 units of machinery or equipment, and trained more than 47,000 individuals.
UNOPS is a fully self-financing organization, focused on the prudent use of resources and financial discipline. It is financially stable, with solid reserves in accordance or in excess of the levels set by the Executive Board. This firm platform gives partners confidence, demonstrates the viability of the UNOPS business model and means funds are available to invest in improving the services offered to partners.
Accountability and transparency
UNOPS has adopted a comprehensive information disclosure policy and publishes online all relevant documents, such as information on procurement activities, budgets, financial statements and audit reports.
After joining the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI), UNOPS became the first UN organization to publish to the IATI format. It was also the first organization to geocode its data to IATI standards and through data.unops.org, presents funding and operational details on over 1,000 projects for the benefit of partners, the public and the development community at large.
UNOPS has benchmarked itself against external bodies, while striving for certification of its processes and adopting internationally-recognized best practices and standards. By doing so it lifts the quality of the services it provides to partners. This has included:
ISO 9001 certification of UNOPS quality management system
ISO 14001 certification of UNOPS environmental management system
the adoption of new contracts for infrastructure works based on those of the International Federation of Consulting Engineers (FIDIC)
recognition by the European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM) for excellence in management practices
certification by the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply (CIPS) for sustainable procurement and the provision of CIPS training to personnel
the adoption of international Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS)
the adoption of the PRINCE2® project management methodology and subsequent training of personnel in the method
joining the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) in 2011 and becoming the first UN organization to publish data about its operations on the IATI registry
becoming the first global organization to be awarded the four most prestigious project management certifications available
Organizational structure and culture
Key revisions have been made to UNOPS global structure, strengthening service in our core mandated areas and aligning policy, business processes, tools and people across functions, departments and country offices. This flexible structure is now able to respond rapidly to partner's needs.
New policies on recruitment have raised employee competence. The Global Personnel Recruitment System was launched, which made the recruitment process more efficient and transparent, while creating a pool of experts to support our operations. This has speeded recruitment and deployment.
In response to repeated comments by our personnel on the need to reward excellent performance and address inadequate performance, UNOPS developed a comprehensive recognition, rewards and sanctions policy. More training opportunities have also been provided to personnel across the globe.
UNOPS has made significant gains in incorporating social, economic and environmental sustainability into its work. This has included:
the launch of a sustainable infrastructure policy
the establishment of an internal sustainability programme
the development and approval of the Strategic Plan 2014-2017, which highlights a focus on national capacity development and delivering results in sustainable project management, sustainable infrastructure and sustainable procurement