23 May 2019
A recent report issued by the Joint Inspection Unit reviewed the policy research landscape in the United Nations system.
The report found considerable variations in the way organizations comprehend and operationalize research activities. This heterogeneity - inherent to organizations with different internal capacities and resources - is compounded by programmatic/operational requirements that vary markedly, with some organizations being heavily research-based and oriented towards capacity-building, while others fulfil operational functions.
Research processes are not always integrated into the strategic vision of the organization and current monitoring frameworks for policy research uptake are not entirely suitable for capturing the use and relevance of research products.
Most organizations have not successfully determined how to best utilize internal existing capacities for policy research uptake, although such capacities do exist. Research managers often follow bureaucratic imperatives rather than incentivizing United Nations staff to carry out research. Sometimes, the administrative imperatives prevail over intellectual autonomy.
To address these issues and to improve the quality and impact of policy research the report presents 12 recommendations, addressed to the General Assembly, to the Economic and Social Council, to the governing bodies and to the Executive Heads of the United Nations system organizations, including the Secretary-General of the United Nations, the Director General of UNESCO.
Among others, the report recommends action in areas like the use of policy briefs, the review of the research agenda of the regional commissions, inter-agency collaboration, including through the establishment of a global data knowledge platform and the facilitation of academic exchanges, a system-wide policy on open data access, supporting software and research sharing among the United Nations system organizations, enhancing the level of involvement of researchers from the South, including at the national level, establishment of a minimum set of standards on research production and uptake, and periodic assessments of specific research needs and of potential suppliers of research products.
With respect to the academia, the report recommends long-term partnerships with academic communities at the global, regional and national levels, and basic guidelines for such partnerships with the task of identifying research needs at the system-wide level and the most efficient ways to produce, disseminate and uptake policy research in a collaborative and participatory manner, with the long-term objective of strengthening internal capacities for research, as appropriate, and making systematic use of research produced by academia.
For further information: Read the full report here.
Note to Editors
The Joint Inspection Unit is the only independent external oversight body of the United Nations system mandated to conduct system-wide evaluations, inspections and investigations. It seeks to ensure the optimum use of available resources by the United Nations system, and to enhance the efficiency of its administrative and financial functioning. The Unit also seeks to identify best practices, propose benchmarks, and facilitate information-sharing across the system.
The curricula vitae of all JIU Inspectors are available on the JIU website (www.unjiu.org). The website also contains information on the statute of the Unit, its mandate, reports, notes and management letters issued by the Unit and other relevant material.
To learn more, go to http://www.unjiu.org
For questions relating to this press release, please contact the Joint Inspection Unit of the United Nations system:
Tel: (+41) 22 917 1696
Inspector Petru Dimitriu: firstname.lastname@example.org
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