SAIs from Netherlands, MENA Countries Contribute to Guidance on SDG Preparedness
Photo by Lynn Wagner
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The ‘Practical Guide to Government SDG Preparedness Reviews’ details INTOSAI’s seven-step model for reviewing government SDG preparedness.

The guide includes illustrations, quotations, and practical experiences from SAIs participating in the Sharaka initiative, a partnership programme on SDG preparedness between the SAIs of the Netherlands, Algeria, Iraq, Jordan, Morocco, Palestine, and Tunisia.

April 2019: The International Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI) prepared an updated guide to support governments as they prepare for SDG implementation that details the INTOSAI seven-step model for reviewing government SDG preparedness and provides questions to guide Supreme Audit Institutions (SAIs) in implementing the model. The guide also reflects on the experiences of seven SAIs that collaborated within the Sharaka programme in reviewing government SDG preparedness.

A few years ago, the Netherlands Court of Audit, in collaboration with the European Court of Audit and other SAI partners, developed a seven-step model for reviewing government SDG preparedness, which was embraced by INTOSAI and endorsed during the XXII International Congress of Supreme Audit Institutions (XXII INCOSAI) that took place in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE), in December 2016.

The seven steps of the model cover areas that governments need to take to into consideration to be ready to implement, monitor and report on SDG progress. Four of the steps concern the policy framework and are as follows: i) political commitment and recognition of national responsibility in line with the principle of sustainable development; ii) building public awareness and encouraging public dialogue with stakeholders; iii) allocating responsibility at the ministerial and other levels, allocating appropriate financial means and other resources, and establishing accountability arrangements; and iv) preparing plans to apply the SDGs, including setting out the role of different stakeholders and defining how the various SDGs and targets are to be achieved in an integrated and coherent manner.

Early reviews allowed for identification of opportunities for further improvement.

The three other steps are related to the data framework. They are intended to assess whether the government has: v) established systems for measuring and monitoring progress in achieving SDGs and targets; vi) set baselines for various indicators, against which to judge the progress made throughout the SDG lifecycle; and vii) made arrangements for monitoring and reporting on progress.

In the fall of 2016, a five-year cooperation programme on SDG preparedness was launched between the SAIs of the Netherlands and six Middle East and North Africa (MENA) countries. Within this programme, called ‘Sharaka’ (which means “partnership” in Arabic), the SAIs of the Netherlands, Algeria, Iraq, Jordan, Morocco, Palestine, and Tunisia conducted a government SDG preparedness review in accordance with the seven-step INTOSAI model.

This experience led to the issuance of the document titled, ‘A Practical Guide to Government SDG Preparedness Reviews.’ The document shares reflections from the Sharaka participating countries on the effectiveness of the seven-step model, and contains an improved version of the guide, that was originally published in 2017. Version 2.0 contains clarifications, illustrations, quotations, and practical experiences from SAIs participating in the Sharaka initiative.

The guide outlines success factors for reviewing SDG preparedness. It states that reviews were conducted relatively early on in the process of SDG implementation, which allowed for identification of opportunities for further improvement and helped guide governments towards effective implementation of the Goals. The guide also notes the importance of inclusiveness, citing the case of Algeria where the SAI team organized a seminar on 14 February 2018 to launch its government SDG preparedness review, which involved high-level officials from government and other stakeholders, including non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and journalists. The seminar, it says, provided the first opportunity to all SDG stakeholders in Algeria to come together to discuss SDG implementation.

One of INTOSAI’s strategic priorities for 2017-2022 is to contribute “to the follow-up and review of the SDGs within the context of each nation’s specific sustainable development efforts and SAIs’ individual mandates.” The next INTOSAI Congress (INCOSAI XXIII) will take place in the Russian Federation from 23-29 September 2019. [Publication: A Practical Guide to Government SDG Preparedness Reviews Based on the Experiences and Reflections of Seven Supreme Audit Institutions]

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This news story reviews one of the audit reports and activities produced by SAIs on the SDGs, as identified by INTOSAI as of April 2019. For more information about SAIs, click here.


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