INTOSAI WGEA present at the HLPF 2023
The INTOSAI WGEA contributed to this year’s High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) held during 10-19 July in New York, USA by organizing a side event on 13 July entitled Moving towards full SDG implementation by partnering for greater impact of SDG audits in collaboration with several partners. The discussion highlighted that the audits on SDGs have created tangible results which can drive change when communicated well. On the other hand, SDGs have been a catalyst for new audit methods and enhanced collaboration between the SAIs.
The INTOSAI WGEA organized a roundtable conversation jointly with the INTOSAI Development Initiative (IDI), the INTOSAI General Secretariat, the Permanent Missions of Austria and Indonesia, the Supreme Audit Institutions of Brazil, and Indonesia, and in collaboration with UNDESA to share experiences, audit insights, recommendations and examples of actions taken which have led to positive change in the implementation of the SDGs in different areas. Special focus was given to the goals on drinking water (SDG 6), renewable energy (SDG 7), transport and air pollution (SDG 11), sustainable public procurement (SDG 12.7), gender equality (SDG 5) and public health (SDG 3.d), amongst others. WGEA provided input especially to SDGs 6, 7 and 11.
The session pointed out that SAIs have worked with the SDGs from the very beginning. The Auditor General from SAI Costa Rica and Secretary General from SAI Indonesia shared their experiences from audits on sustainable public procurement (SDG 12.7) and public health (SDG3.d). Mr Alfredo Gomez complemented this with an analysis on the environmental audits in the INTOSAI WGEA Audit Database and their link to SDGs under review.
Mr Carlos Lustosa from SAI Brazil noted that it is not sufficient to assess the impact of audits by the number of audit recommendations implemented or the amount of money saved. He reminded that the SAIs should go further and develop innovative approaches and methods. Ms Archana Shirsat from IDI stressed that SAIs have to take a systematic approach and have competent auditors, robust follow-up mechanisms and systems of audit quality management.
The key takeaways from the conversation were summarized by the session’s moderator Ms Aranzazu Guillan Montero (UNDESA). Firstly, audits on SDGs have created tangible results which should be communicated well to drive change. On the other hand, SDGs have been a catalyst for new audit methods and mutual support between the SAIs. Finally, it was noted that there are good examples of collaboration with stakeholders which should be replicated.
In relation to this event, WGEA published a blog post by Alfredo Gomez, Vivi Niemenmaa & Kati Hirvonen (WGEA Secretariat) which summarized the results of the recent audit reports related to SDG 6 Clean Water, SDG 7 Affordable and Clean Energy as well as SDG 11 Sustainable Cities. The audits, found in the INTOSAI WGEA database, assess a large scale of issues from strategic frameworks, management systems and infrastructure, the effectiveness and impact of various policies, taxation systems and subsidies to preventing fraud and mismanagement.