Strengthening Governance and Accountability in the Pacific Island Countries (Phase 2)
This regional technical assistance (TA) was approved on 3 November 2008 for an estimated total cost of $2,400,000 equivalent. The TA was co-financed on a grant basis from the Japan Special Fund ($1,500,000) and the Government of Australia ($400,000) with the balance consisting of in-kind contributions from participating countries ($500,000). The TA had two components – the Pacific Regional Audit Initiative (PRAI), which is a Pacific Plan Initiative,1 and governance. The TA followed an earlier TA titled Strengthening Governance and Accountability in Pacific Island Countries which was completed in July 2009.2
For the PRAI component, the expected TA outputs were: (i) regional cooperation and coordination strengthened through the establishment of the Pacific Association of Supreme Audit Institutions (PASAI) governing board and the PASAI Secretariat; (ii) capacity development program designed for participating member countries; (iii) cooperative financial and performance audits initiated by participating member countries; and (iv) accountability and transparency advocated through an annual PASAI report.
The TA provided for 42 person-months of international consulting services, 36 for the PRAI component and 6 for the governance component. There was also provision for 18 person-months of national consulting services. At the completion of the TA, 67 person-months of international consulting services and 20 person-months of national consulting services had been utilized. All consultants were engaged on an individual basis. In addition, the TA provided funding for the establishment of a Secretariat for PASAI and the costs associated with the subregional audit support program.
Evaluation of Outputs and Achievement of Outcome
The PRAI component focused on strengthening audit institutions in the Pacific by undertaking a range of initiatives in accordance with the PRAI design document.4 In July 2009, at the 12th congress of PASAI in Palau, a governing board was established to provide oversight to the implementation of the PRAI. In January 2010, the new PASAI Secretariat was opened in Auckland, New Zealand and now operates with four staff. In addition, a charter was developed and approved along with a program management framework.5 A PASAI capacity development program was prepared under the TA and approved at the 12th PASAI congress. The government of Australia, the International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions Development Initiative and the World Bank have provided funding for the implementation of the capacity development program, including funding a staff position in the PASAI Secretariat to support the program’s implementation. The program is based on a human resources management framework and a career path training and professional development program with initiatives targeted to four tiers of skills.
The TA has initiated regional cooperative financial and performance audits. A performance audit on the effectiveness of solid waste management involving 10 member countries was completed, including national performance audit reports and the first Pacific-wide joint audit report.6 The subregional audit support program was also implemented under the TA with financial audits completed in Kiribati, Nauru and Tuvalu. The program is using a unique model to deal with public auditing challenges in these three countries by pooling audit resources on a subregional basis. The final output of the TA related to the advocacy of accountability and transparency. In keeping with the Pacific Islands Forum’s 8 Principles of Accountability, PASAI published its first annual report on regional accountability and transparency.7