UN Transparency and Accountability Initiative

Following the 2005 World Summit at the 60th Session of the General Assembly, many of the transparency and accountability reforms(Related Resolutions) endorsed by world leaders at that time, relating to increased transparency and accountability in the UN Secretariat affairs have been implemented in some form within the UN Secretariat.

In light of the revelations in late 2006 and early 2007 of systemic abuses involving humanitarian and development activities in the UN’s Funds and Programs, and consistent with the demands of world leaders for a more “efficient, effective, transparent and accountable Organization,” USUN crafted an initiative, called the United Nations Transparency and Accountability Initiative (UNTAI), that identified eight (8) areas where Member States can exercise greater oversight and increase transparency and accountability to ensure that resources are utilized efficiently and effectively for their intended purpose.

  • Availability of internal audits and other reports, e.g. evaluations, investigations, etc. to Member States.
  • Public access to all relevant documentation related to operations and activities including budget information and procurement activities.
  • “Whistleblower Protection” policies.
  • Financial disclosure policies.
  • An effective Ethics Office.
  • Independence of the respective internal oversight bodies.
  • Adoption of IPSAS accounting standards in the Funds and Programs.
  • Transparent administrative support costs for voluntarily funded activities..

The purpose of UNTAI is to improve organizational performance by increasing the transparency and accuracy of information flow; enhancing operational efficiency and effectiveness; bolstering oversight and ethics systems; and strengthening financial management and governance. UNTAI is also a practical effort to establish within the UN Funds and Programs and more broadly throughout the UN system a high standard of transparency and accountability to ensure that the billions in international aid contributions are delivered efficiently and effectively to the world’s neediest peoples.

The United States launched Phase I of UNTAI in 2007 beginning first with the UN funds and programs in New York and later expanding to the rest of the UN system. Phase I sought to extend reforms already in place at the UN Secretariat to the rest of the UN system.

As a result of sustained and intensive diplomacy, UNICEF, UNDP, UNFPA, and UNIFEM (now UN Women) have strengthened internal oversight and transparency, established ethics offices, made more information publicly available online, and updated financial systems.

In 2011, the United States launched UNTAI Phase II (UNTAI-II) to target areas where member states can increase oversight and accountability and ensure that contributions are utilized efficiently and effectively. Specifically, UNTAI-II seeks to make reforms in the following areas.

  • Effective oversight arrangements.
  • Independent internal evaluation function,
  • Independent and effective ethics function.
  • Credible whistleblower protections.
  • Conflicts of interest program.
  • Effective and transparent procurement.
  • Enterprise risk management.
  • Transparent financial management.

UNTAI-II is designed to build upon the successes of Phase I and focus on further raising accountability standards throughout the UN system. UNTAI-II includes all the UN organizations covered by Phase I as well as the UN Secretariat. Click here to view UNTAI Inquiries, Responses, and Accomplishments.