Office of Strategy, Programme and Budget (OSP)

Risk management, internal controls and accountability

FAO is committed to a continuous process of strengthening risk management and internal controls throughout the Organization to ensure streamlined delivery of its objectives while managing the risks.

An overall policy framework on risk and internal control has been developed, which includes the Accountability Policy, the Internal Controls Framework and the Risk Policy - and related processes, guidance and tools.

FAO is committed to identifying and managing risks to its programmes, and defining and implementing efficient and effective internal controls, to strengthen its ability to meet objectives and deliver benefits and goals expected by its stakeholders.

Good risk management identifies the potential events which could affect the achievement of goals and develops action plans for addressing these risks - allowing informed decision-making, better prioritization and improved use of resources. FAO’s approach to risk management does not aim to eliminate or avoid risk but to be aware of it, reducing risk to an acceptable level and balancing risks and opportunities when deciding on a course of action.

FAO's risk management process includes the implementation of regularly updated risk analyses and mitigation plans at all levels of the Organization, worldwide. The purpose is both to create a tool for internal management of each unit and to provide information for senior management on key risks identified and how these are managed. In addition to this bottom-up review of risks, FAO is integrating risk management in its strategic planning and results-based management processes.

For the purpose of providing assurance to Members, partners and the general public on FAO’s capacity to manage resources provided, FAO implements an annual internal control reporting process, which spans the entire Organization and culminates in the Director-General’s Statement on Internal Control, included in the Organization’s Financial Statements (FAO's Audited Accounts). This Statement has been issued annually since 2017, and provides information on the quality of controls in the Organization and the work ongoing to address any issues.

Every FAO employee has an important role in risk management and controls as part of their work. In particular, all managers are accountable for identifying and managing risks and overseeing definition and implementation of internal controls, policies and procedures within the area under their authority, including management of issues which arise.