Sometimes corruption sits at the heart of an organization. The larger the organization, the higher the risk of it being corrupted. That’s what happened with UNOPs – The United Nations for Project Services. In 2006, the UNOPs were stuck in a “desperate situation.”
The organization had made many wasteful expenses, and many of them weren’t accounted for. It seemed the money wasn’t spent for a good cause, but personal benefit and corruption was evident.
There were allegations of embezzlement on the higher officials of the UNOPs. It seemed like the funds were used for personal reasons. And the senior officials were “misallocating project expenditure.”
Vitaly Vanshelboim, the Chief Operating Officer of the United Nations Office for Project Services (Unops), speaks how they rebuilt the organization from scratch and tried to give it the credibility. Things aren’t pure, but it has improved.
Vitaly describes that now UNOPs is “held up as a model among international organizations and governments.” It is seen as a model organization because of its ability to reform and financial efficiency.
The UNOPs helps its partners with peacebuilding, humanitarian, and development operations that are worth up to $1.2 billion annually. It operated in over 130 countries from Somalia to Syria and is one of the largest wings of the UN.
UNOPs is the only self-funded arm of the international organization UN. That’s why they have to be self-reliant, and if they don’t work correctly, they are answerable. That’s what drives them to be efficient and effective, says Vitaly Vanshelboim.
Vitaly shared that transparency, accountability, and ethics have played a massive role in turning the organization around. Mattson and his team have done a commendable job. Earlier the organization’s annual report was inaccessible.
But they created a database in 2010. It was a searchable database where every penny spent and how it is used is recorded (approximately $56 billion worth of expenses). That’s why UNOPs is now a model organization that champions transparency.