EUROSAI. Magazine N26 - 2021

Magazine No. 26 - 2021 121 Studies and other articles INTOSAI Development Initiative (IDI) PIVOTING AND PROVIDING: HOW IDI UP-SCALED ITS SUPPORT FOR SAIs IN RESPONSE TO THE GLOBAL PANDEMIC As the COVID-19 pandemic began to impact on all aspects of life across the globe in 2020, the INTOSAI Development Initiative (IDI) took immediate steps to re-assess the ways to fulfil its goal of supporting effective, accountable and inclusive SAIs, and pivot into targeted and practical action steps. Thismeant not only negotiating the working landscape of IDI’s own ‘new normal’, but also adapting to the shifting horizons for the SAIs it supports as lockdowns and social distancing, emergency measures, vaccine rollouts and societal pressures rapidly became a part of the pandemic vernacular. “We were aware from the onset of COVID-19 that SAIs would face unique and far-reaching challenges,” says IDI’s Director General, Einar Gørrissen. “Governments needed to be agile and resourceful, and so did the bodies that audit them. The role of SAIs was often especially difficult given the related economic and social pressures, including the inevitable backsliding in democracy that can sit alongside the need to act at speed.” For IDI, it remained vital to focus on the pandemic as a backdrop to SAI operations For IDI, it remained vital to focus on the pandemic as a backdrop to SAI operations - including the potential for challenges to SAIs’ independence and the scale of what UN Women has termed “the shadow pandemic”: a reduction in women’s status and gender equality accompanied by a rise in gender-based violence. In addition to these underlying approaches, IDI’s workstreams embarked on a number of initiatives to address SAIs’ needs in a hitherto unknown matrix of challenges. Some of these are outlined below. New initiatives in the Well-Governed SAIs workstream The onset of the pandemic coincided with the completion of some initiatives in the Well-Governed SAIs workstream in 2020. IDI took this as an opportunity to address changed SAI needs in the field of organisational governance while further integrating the workstream’s different elements and placing increased significance on gender equality. The starting point for the redesign was SAI demand and capacity as reflected in the 2017 Global Survey, SAI PMF assessments, regional questionnaires, and SAI strategic plans. Several trends emerged: SAIs need to be more resilient in the face of risks and crises; they have an increased need for ICT infrastructure; and they need to do more to develop and retain their most important resource, their staff. SAIs need to be more resilient in the face of risks and crises While the previously existing initiatives on SAI PMF and Strategy, Performance Measurement, and Reporting (SPMR) continue to support SAIs in their strategic management, IDI launched four new initiatives within this workstream in 2021: pICTure focuses on supporting SAIs in strengthening their ICT governance. This includes stronger management of ICT resources, and planning and steering the implementation of ICT strategies and plans. TOGETHER aims to support SAIs in enhancing their overall systems for managing human resources, ethics, and on gender and inclusiveness. It will comprise of an overarching component on human resource management, as well as more in-depth interventions on ethics, and on gender and inclusiveness.