Holding governments to account. Helen Clark appointed global ambassador for independence of Supreme Audit Institutions (SAIs)
Oslo, 10 January 2022: A global organisation supporting Auditor-Generals’ offices world-wide has appointed former New Zealand Prime Minister, the Right Hon. Helen Clark, to advocate for their independence.
With increasing evidence that Supreme Audit Institutions’ autonomy is falling away, the INTOSAI (International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions) Donor Cooperation (IDC) is confident Ms. Clark’s newly created role will increase awareness amongst governments and other stakeholders of the critical need to maintain SAIs’ independence in every country.
Helen Clark says, “In the current context of constitutional and democratic backsliding, combined with unprecedented emergency spending and economic disruptions during the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s never been a greater need for SAIs to be able to carry out their jobs without interference.”
Helen Clark states that if governments are to be transparent and accountable as their citizens require them to be, this backsliding trend cannot be ignored.
“Recently the Auditor General of Sierra Leone and her deputy were suspended indefinitely by the President, very shortly before a damning audit report was about to be published. This is not an isolated case, and it’s time the world understood the extent of the problem,” she adds.
Working alongside the Goodwill Ambassador for SAI Independence will be the appointing organisation, IDC — a global forum which coordinates multilateral and bi-lateral Development Partners to support SAIs, and the INTOSAI Development Initiative (IDI) which helps SAIs build and strengthen their capacity.
Ms Clark’s comments on the importance of SAI’s independence are supported by Mr. Ed Olowo-Okere, Director of the Governance Global Practice in the World Bank and Donor Chair of the IDC, who says, “It is critical for SAIs to be independent in order for them to operate effectively and to have sound public accountability in any country. Truly independent SAIs can help reduce waste and prevent misuse of public funds. This will in turn contribute to channeling savings to programmes that fight poverty, a focus of the international development community and core mission of the World Bank Group.”
As a world leader who served three terms as New Zealand’s Prime Minister and eight years as the first female head of the UN Development Programme, and is currently Chair of the Global Leadership Foundation, Helen Clark brings vast experience and gravitas to the role.
Helen Clark’s appointment as IDC Goodwill Ambassador for SAI Independence is effective from 1 January 2022 for an initial term of three years.
IDC Goodwill Ambassador for SAI Independence, the Right Hon. Helen Clark
Mr. Ed Olowo-Okere, Director of Governance Global Practice in the World Bank, and Donor Chair of the INTOSAI-Donor Cooperation
International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI) operates as an umbrella organisation for the external government audit community. It is an autonomous, independent and non-governmental organisation with special consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations. The INTOSAI-Donor Cooperation (IDC) mobilises funding from donors to strengthen SAIs, focusing on governance, development and poverty reduction. The INTOSAI Development Initiative (IDI) support SAIs in developing countries to build and strengthen capacity.
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