The INTOSAI WGEA enhanced chairmanship: SAI Maldives invited as Vice Chair
On 25 January 2024, following the 22nd Assembly, the INTOSAI WGEA Steering Committee held an additional meeting. Among other things, it discussed the new INTOSAI WGEA publication products, the role of subnational audit offices, and the enhancement of the WGEA Chairmanship structure in a situation where the number of Members is increasing, while there is further demand for WGEA expertise both among SAIs and stakeholders.
This reflects the global growing interest in the SAIs and INTOSAI stakeholders on environment, as well as particularly topics related to climate change. Growing enthusiasm and an increasing number of requests to participate in various events makes managing the WGEA more challenging. Therefore, SAI Finland as the current Secretariat proposed a new structure where the Chair would be supported by a Vice Chair. SAI Finland argued that this structure would allow sharing some tasks between the Chair and the Vice Chair. While the Chair would continue to bear the main responsibility of the coordination of the WGEA, the Vice Chair could support this by taking over some of the tasks separately in agreement with the Chair. This arrangement would provide an opportunity for a SAI with less resources to get involved with some of the tasks of chairmanship in the WGEA. This would support equality between SAIs in the spirit of the Agenda 2030 and principle of leaving no one behind.
The new arrangement would also enhance risk management and secure the continuity of the INTOSAI WGEA Secretariat functions also in case of unexpected events. The arrangement includes some potential environmental and cost saving aspects. Ideally, the Chair and Vice Chair would be located in different INTOSAI regions, thus sharing the regional support, making long travels less frequent. Paying attention to both the environmental impacts and budget perspective are important for the integrity of an environmental Working Group from perspectives of the good governance and environmental responsibility.
After discussing the suggestion, the Steering Committee decided to invite SAI Maldives as the Vice Chair in piloting the arrangement. Auditor General of SAI Maldives, Hussain Niyazy, elaborated the meaning of this invitation right after the decision. “We have learned so much from the working group and we would like to move to a more leadership role. I believe it is essential in terms of inclusion and diversity and an important step to let the voices of smaller SAIs be heard in the SAI community as significant environmental challenges are being experienced by smaller countries such as the SIDs. We hope to assist in bringing innovative developments to the working group and mark our gratitude to the Chair (SAI Finland) and all its members for the continuous support provided to the capacity building and exposure of our SAI.”
Congratulations to SAI Maldives!