Working Together to Cultivate Capacity, Professionalization

by Heather Santos, Editor, International Journal of Government Auditing

With the Capacity Building Committee meeting in Cape Town, South Africa, wrapping up a few weeks ago, ideas brought to the forefront during the event inspired me to share how, together, we can further advance capacity building, and in doing so, contribute to a more robust, more prominent, more professional International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI).

When I joined GAO to support the International Journal of Government Auditing (the Journal), I was excited to be a part of the “voice” of INTOSAI. After having read numerous submissions over the past few months and gaining a better understanding of INTOSAI and the government auditing community in general, there is an extraordinary amount of ideas, knowledge and experience that can be harnessed, and if shared on a larger scale, can truly affect positive change.

Change can be difficult. Change can be slow. Yet, I have wondered, despite the limitations, are we doing enough? Are we taking the right steps, making the right decisions, performing the right actions to create an organization typified by seamless and continuous knowledge sharing and transfer?

The word “we” includes the Journal, which should be a major force driving this enlightenment—providing a conduit for learning, a path to promote transparency and good governance, a means to communicate all of the ideas, knowledge and experience INTOSAI has to offer.

I echo the sentiments of the Journal President, James-Christian Blockwood, who, in a January 2015 editorial, expressed a desire to further foster community among INTOSAI members. With an open invitation for public auditors to share their challenges, concerns and best practices with the Journal, the goal is for auditors to apply this knowledge not only individually, but also regionally and globally.

Don’t be afraid to contribute. It doesn’t have to be a big or new concept. It doesn’t have to be a thousand words. The key is to add value to the community, and that cannot take place if the thoughts, the ideas are never shared. Sometimes, we need to create those opportunities.

There is a new section that makes its debut in this issue, the “Spotlight on Capacity Building.” The intent is to highlight tools, guidance and testimonials from the audit community and inspire contributions that can be used and implemented across all levels. I invite all to contribute. Let us look to the future, to how we can get more involved, to how we can be a part of change—good change.

As we head into INCOSAI XXII, we will have more opportunities for the transfer of knowledge and experience, more opportunities to learn from one another, more opportunities for growth. This year’s Congress provides for an open discussion on several pivotal developments and will allow for further reflection and decisions as we contemplate INTOSAI’s way forward—a future that includes the roll out of the next strategic plan.

The Strategic Plan 2017-2022 was created with a more inclusive approach that resulted in several key highlights including reconfirmation toward standard setting, capacity development and knowledge sharing as cornerstones of INTOSAI’s activities; commitment towards playing a major role in supporting the United Nations (UN) 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development as launched by the UN in 2015; ensuring INTOSAI supports all its members and protects the independence of SAIs in financial, administrative and operational senses; building up INTOSAI regions towards providing more professional support to SAIs; and improving the relevance, responsiveness and services offered by INTOSAI to its member SAIs.

Adding to the emphasis of achieving a stronger, more visible and efficient audit community are the themes at this year’s triennial event:

Theme I—How can INTOSAI contribute to the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including good governance and strengthening the fight against corruption?

Theme II—Professionalization: What can promote INTOSAI’s credibility to become a more prominent international organization?

I look forward to the triennial event and am excited about all of the opportunities to come together to demonstrate the value of INTOSAI and discuss with each other new and enhanced ways to do so. We just need to seize the opportunities, create the opportunities where they are nonexistent, and capitalize on them. I am excited about such a challenge and am eager to go on this journey with the INTOSAI community and hope that you are too!

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