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The INTOSAI-Donor Cooperation is pleased to announce that former New Zealand Prime Minister, the Right Hon. Helen Clark, has been appointed Global Ambassador for Supreme Audit Institution independence.

IDC Goodwill Ambassador for SAI Independence,
the Right Hon. Helen Clark

With increasing evidence that Supreme Audit Institutions’ autonomy is falling away, the 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.”

Ms. 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, the INTOSAI-Donor Cooperation — a global forum which coordinates multilateral and bi-lateral Development Partners to support SAIs, as well as the INTOSAI Development Initiative (IDI) which helps SAIs build and strengthen their capacity.

Mr. Ed Olowo-Okere,
Director of Governance Global Practice
in the World Bank and Donor Chair of the
INTOSAI-Donor Cooperation

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, 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.