Joint Inspection Unit (Observer)

Joint Inspection Unit (Observer)


The Joint Inspection Unit (JIU) is the only external and independent system-wide inspection, evaluation and investigation body of the UN system.  Initially created by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly in 1966 on an experimental basis, it was officially established in accordance with its statute with effect from 1 January 1978.  The JIU performs its function in respect of and is responsible to the United Nations General Assembly and similarly to the competent legislative bodies of those specialized agencies and other international organizations within the United Nations system which have accepted the JIU Statute. JIU is a subsidiary organ of the United Nations General Assembly and many of the legislative/governing organs of its participating organizations and reports to them through the secretariats of these organizations.

In 2011, JIU had 11 inspectors who are appointed by the General Assembly and are considered elected officials and 20 staff as well as one junior professional officer. The JIU is based in Geneva, Switzerland. 

Evaluation Function Snapshot Independence Agenda Setting & Evaluation Planning Quality Assurance Use of Evaluation Joint Evaluation

Evaluation Function


In recent years the Unit has been focusing its evaluations and related work on system-wide issues of interest and relevance to the participating organizations and the Member States of the United Nations system and providing advice aimed at improving management and methods and at achieving greater coordination between organizations. The Unit also advises on ways to ensure the avoidance of duplication and overlap and how to obtain more efficient and effective use of resources in implementing the mandates of the Organizations.

JIU's norms and standards on evaluation define evaluation as: "an impartial, systematic and objective assessment of the design, implementation and achievements of ongoing or completed interventions, contributions or activities of the organizations of the United Nations system concerned against its goals, objectives and mandates received from legislative bodies.  It focuses on the expected and achieved accomplishments and aims at determining the relevance, impact, effectiveness, efficiency, coherence, and sustainability of a project, programme, strategy, institutional performance or policy.  An evaluation should provide evidence-based information that is credible, reliable and useful, enabling the timely incorporation of findings, conclusions, recommendations and good/best practices into both executive and legislative decision-making processes of the organizations of the UN system."


In 2010-11, the JIU's overall expenditure for oversight activities was USD 14.2 million. About ninety percent of this covered inspector/staff costs. 

Promoting a culture of evaluation in-house

The JIU has been an early promoter of evaluation and its use in the UN system.  A number of key reports (e.g. Oversight Lacunae, National Execution) promote a greater role for evaluation. Internally, the JIU provides on-the-job training for inspectors and staff, including formal seminars, workshops webinars, opportunities for self-study, and coaching and/or peer groups for learning.







  • Evaluation policy
  • Top priorities for 2010-2015
    • Strengthen the follow-up system for the implementation of recommendations (WBTS)
    • Development of strategic annual programmes of work focused on system-wide issues
  • Human Resources
    • Inspectors 11 (10 M, 1 F)
    • Executive Secretary: 1 (F)
    • Evaluation and Inspection Officers:  9 (4 M, 5 F)
    • Support staff : 9 (2 M and 7 F)
    • Decentralised evaluation staff : None
  • Reviews produced per year by the JIU
    • Eleven reports and one note in 2011 (ten corporate/thematic/strategic reviews and one operations review)
  • Key resources:







The JIU is responsible to UN General Assembly as well as to the competent legislative organs of its participating organizations (POs). The inspectors are appointed officials with no other reporting lines.  They have full authority to sign off on and submit reports to the legislative bodies as well as to the Executive Heads of all POs.  The Unit exercises full control over its expenditure although at present it is unable to directly submit its budget proposal to member states as current practice entails a budgetary submission by the UN Secretary General who is expected to consult with the Unit.

In line with Article 7 of the JIU Statute the Inspectors ÃĢ€œdischarge their duties in full independence and in the sole interest of the organizationsÃĢ€. The Inspectors are committed to independence and shall be free from external influence from any country or organization. The independence of the JIU is guaranteed through the process of selection and appointment of the Inspectors as set out in the JIU Statute.  Rules and mechanisms exist which allow investigators/ evaluators to report discreetly on cases of wrongdoing. 




Agenda Setting & Evaluation Planning


JIU prepares an annual programme of work (PoW). The PoW takes into account as mandated the requests by legislative bodies of its participating organizations, as well as  suggestions from the executive heads of the organizations and the bodies of the UN system concerned with budgetary control, investigation, co-ordination and evaluation and topics identified by the inspectors. The Unit is keen to prepare a balanced PoW that includes issues relevant for the UN system at large, select groups of participating organizations or for single organizations

The Unit'™s approved PoW is sent for information purposes to the UN Secretary-General and other Executive Heads of its POs together with its annual report.  

Stakeholder involvement and evaluation national capacity development

The JIU seeks to systematically consult/involve key stakeholders in the planning, conduct of and follow-up to evaluations. Stakeholders are invited to share their views and comments on substantive matters at various stages of the evaluation process.




Quality Assurance


The JIU plans, designs and conducts its evaluative work in a manner that ensures high quality, which is defined as accuracy, added value, clarity, fairness, objectivity and significance.


JIU adheres to standards/guidelines that it has issued for planning, designing and conducting inspections, evaluations and investigations; and applies the UNEG norms and standards when conducting evaluations.

In addition, each JIU evaluation undergoes a peer review process for quality assurance purposes.  The peer review is held as a "collective wisdom" meeting (peer review of Inspectors) of the JIU with the participation of the Executive Secretary after the completion of the first draft report.  The relevant comments from the collective wisdom are incorporated into the report prior to sending it out for comments to participating organizations and other stakeholders.  A second collective wisdom process takes place once the evaluation report has been finalized by the JIU team aimed at obtaining full agreement by the Unit on the final report/note prior to its submission for official editing. 




Use of Evaluation


JIU issues reports, notes and confidential letters. While reports are submitted to both legislative bodies and executive heads, notes and confidential letters are only submitted to the executive heads of the relevant organizations.

The Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) receives all JIU reports for information and, if deemed appropriate, may choose to issue comments and observations on any of the reports which fall within its competence.

When a JIU report concerns more than one agency, the respective executive heads will consult and, to the extent possible, co-ordinate their comments. These are submitted to the legislative bodies of the respective organizations no later than six months of receipt of the report for consideration at their following meeting. The executive heads of the organizations concerned inform JIU of decisions taken on the reports addressed to their legislative bodies.

The JIU has established a systematic process for tracking each step taken towards the consideration of evaluations by the appropriate legislative organs and/or executive heads, including measures taken by secretariat officials.  The JIU maintains a database for recording and tracking the follow up of recommendations of JIU evaluations. The JIU established a web-based tracking system (WBTS) in 2012 to facilitate follow-up and use of its recommendations.

In accordance with the JIU Statute, Article 11, executive heads of participating organizations are expected to ensure that JIU recommendations approved by their respective legislative body are implemented as expeditiously as possible. The legislative body may follow the implementation of the recommendations and may request JIU to issue follow-up reports. JIU may decide to prepare such reports on its own initiative.

All JIU reports are available on the Internet ( see notes, reports and letters section). 




Joint Evaluation

The JIU to date has not undertaken joint evaluations due to its status as an independent oversight body.

System-wide evaluations/reviews

The Unit's main focus is system-wide.  On averageJIU has been issuing 7 system-wide reports a year, ranging from key management issues (e.g., human resource management, procurement practices, RBM, accountability) to thematic and programmatic issues e.g., UN-Oceans, Mine Action, South-South and Triangular Cooperation, etc.

System-wide reports are conducted on issues which are of common concern to all organizations and for which solutions require concerted action and a collective approach through the CEB machinery, including reports for which individual solutions to common problems must be devised for each organization.

UNEG Members

Alexandra Capello

Evaluation Specialist, JIU

Elena Figus

Senior Evaluation and Inspection Officer , JIU

Eriko Ito

Evaluation and Inspection Officer, JIU

Fernanda Soule

Associate Evaluation and Inspection Officer , JIU

Kamolmas Jaiyen

Evaluation and Inspection Officer, JIU

Rana Sallam

Evaluation Officer, JIU

Stefan Helck

Evaluation and Inspection Officer, JIU

Fact Sheet