Pro-PALOP-TL SAI: Investing in human resources with capacity development for effective public oversight and sustainable development

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“This training was a great opportunity for us, not only did it allow us to debate our ethical conduct at work, but also to reflect, individually and in a group, on the best ethical behavior to be adopted outside the workplace. We face ethical decisions every day and we actually do not always think whether we are following appropriate conduct”.

Iolanda Fortes works for the Cape Verdean Court of Auditors (Tribunal de Contas de Cabo Verde). Along with other 40 auditors and judges, she participated in a 3-day training on Auditors´ Ethics and Professional Judgment aimed at identifying a set of ethical and professional practices and principles to be applied in public sector auditing while encouraging them in their professional achievement.

“It was an excellent training, participation was strong and the topics discussed were very relevant” said José Carlos Delgado, President of the Cape Verdean Court of Auditors during the closing ceremony of this training. “We come out with concrete proposals that would allowed us to debate and gather inputs for our code of ethics”.

This is only one of the 198 capacity development activities implemented within the context of the Pro PALOP TL SAI project, which is using training actions as a powerful tool to enhance the skills of its beneficiaries to ensure efficient controlling of public finances in Portuguese-speaking African Countries (PALOP) and Timor-Leste.

Despite being geographically dispersed, PALOP countries and Timor-Leste share a strong common linguistic and cultural identity, similar systems of governance and a long tradition of cooperation and exchanges amongst themselves. In the last decade, although the public administration has been hampered by several weaknesses (including inadequate human resources), most of these countries have experienced significant progress in terms of economic governance.

It is in this context of mutual exchanges, in an attempt to overcome these institutional challenges, that Pro PALOP –TL SAI was strategically designed: to promote more effective control of public finances and to strengthening institutional and civilian mechanisms through an approach promoting inter-institutional South-South cooperation between these beneficiary institutions and peer learning. The project´s multi-country approach was convened to further intensify this existing cooperation dialogue among the beneficiaries in response to these common challenges.

“The initiatives in the context of this project are always very important because they encompass the global concern of making the budget process elaboration more transparent,” said Mr. Diógenes de Oliveira, Vice President of the Economic and Financial Committee of the Angolan Parliament during the project presentation held in September 2014. “In this prospective of exchanging experience between PALOP countries and Timor-Leste, we feel the importance of our Parliament´s interaction in order to approve this work plan in a way that ensures its full implementation, especially in the perspective of reinforcement of skills and capacities.”

Following the training in Cabo Verde, seven auditors from the Administrative Court of Mozambique (Tribunal Administrativo de Moçambique) participated in two meetings held by the African Organisation of English-speaking Supreme Audit Institutions (AFROSAI-E) in Johannesburg, South Africa in November 2014. Key issues were addressed, mainly how to carry out performance audits for an efficient and effective management of national resources and how to provide support to democratic governments.

Considering the scope of the project and the beneficiaries involved, and in order to ensure full project ownership, a long and inclusive formulation process was carried out in the frame of 9 months. All actors were fully involved in a participative working session (a total of 24 partners institutions from the SAI, Parliaments, Ministry of Finances and CSOs participated in the development of 20 operational work plans) allowing the development of almost 200 activities and more than 1.000 actions to be delivered between January 2014 and December 2016.

Pro PALOP –TL SAI´s successful startup would not have been possible without the long shared tradition of mutual exchanges amongst beneficiary countries and without putting project beneficiaries at the forefront of the formulation process in the context of a bottom-up approach.

In 2015, Pro PALOP-TL SAI, in collaboration with its national partners, will continue its efforts to support human resources capacity development in order to promote good governance with particular focus on the economic sector, as an important factor for sustainable development in PALOP countries and Timor-Leste.

Fact Box

The Project of Strengthening Technical and Functional skills of Supreme Audit Institutions, National Parliaments and Civil Society for the control of Public Finances in the PALOP and Timor-Leste (Pro PALOP-TL SAI), was formulated under the economic governance sub-area of the 2008-2013 10th EDF for the PALOP & TL using a EU-UNDP partnership in support of Supreme Audit Institutions (SAI), Parliaments, Parliamentarians & Civil Society Organizations in the domain of external control of public expenditure and accounts. This project aims at promoting economic governance in the PALOP and TL by strengthening technical and functional skills of Supreme Audit Institutions (SAIs), National Parliaments and Civil Society (including media) in six beneficiary countries, namely Angola, Cabo Verde, Guinea Bissau, Mozambique, São Tomé e Príncipe, and Timor-Leste. The project is fully funded by the European Union for a total amount of 6.5 million EURO (from which UNDP manages 6.4 million Euros), through the 10th EDF A envelope and is administered by the United Nations Development Project (UNDP) for a period of 3 years, ending in December 2016.