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The Swedish National Audit Office (Swedish NAO) has been in cooperation with the SAIs in the Pacific Association of Supreme Audit Institutions (PASAI) since 2017. Support from the Swedish NAO is directed to the island nations that PASAI ranked in need of development. The current project phase was extended in late 2022 and will run until the end of 2024.

Support for the PASAI region is channelled through the PASAI Secretariat. The aim of the initiative is to strengthen the HRM area by supporting participating SAIs in developing strategies, increasing general knowledge of HRM and operationalising the systems and processes of the operations. A specific goal until 2024 is for the region to have a number of HR champions that can act as internal consultants in the region.

Project Description

The main focus of the cooperation between the Swedish NAO and the SAIs in PASAI covers:

  • HRM.

Previous Cooperation

Since 2017, the Swedish NAO has supported the PASAI region in the area of organisational development. Until 2020 the cooperation with PASAI consisted of individual activities. These included leadership development and HRM, areas where PASAI had difficulty getting support through its partners in the region. The support included the development of a skills framework with tools and process for SAIs’ work on recruitment and skills development as well as strategic and operational plans within HR.

SAI Conditions

PASAI is one of seven regional organisations of INTOSAI with 27 members. A forerunner of PASAI was formed in 1987 but only with members from the southern part of the region. In 2009, today’s PASAI was formed with four sub-regional areas. PASAI’s objective is to promote transparent, responsible and efficient use of public sector resources in the Pacific area. The organisation contributes through professional support to its members in public sector audit.

The majority of SAIs in the PASAI region have limited independence. For example, the approval of public management committees on matters of organisation and recruitment is required. Some of the SAIs are also directly funded by the ministries and therefore do not have a mandate to carry out their activities in full independence.

The SAI’s Degree of Independence

INTOSAI’S Global SAI Stocktaking Report shows a SAI independence index for different regions. This can sometimes be somewhat misleading when it comes to PASAI because Australia, which participates with several regional authorities, New Zealand and island nations that are territories of the United States and France, can report good results. The ranking shows that PASAI scores high in several areas, but there are major differences. Among the SAIs are institutions with very limited resources, particularly in support areas where HRM stands out as an underdeveloped area.

Project Results

The PASAI Secretariat conducts an evaluation of the Swedish NAO’s efforts with some regularity. This description of results is based on the surveys and the annual reports of the cooperation. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, support has been delayed, but on the whole has been possible to implement as initially planned.

The Swedish NAO considers that the main result of the cooperation is that the SAIs in the region have been given the opportunity to develop the previously neglected HRM area in matters such as recruitment, skills development and succession planning. The SAIs have also been helped to develop their own HR strategies and operational plans.

Building capability that is sustainable for smaller SAIs with scarce resources financially and within the HR area is a challenge in the cooperation. The support must be adapted both to the SAIs which sometimes do not have more than 20 employees and to those with a few hundred. Content and working methods have been designed according to real needs to increase sustainability and the conditions for implementation. Another challenge in the cooperation has also been the time difference.

As a success factor, the Swedish NAO identifies the Secretariat’s commitment. Through its active participation in all activities, the PASAI Secretariat has increased its knowledge of HR and planning, which has made the support more effective. Participants have been able to contact the Secretariat in case of questions and need for support. Our assessment is that without the confidence that the Secretariat enjoys, and the knowledge they have about the participants, the result would have taken longer to achieve or been diminished.

We consider that the Swedish NAO’s efforts, together with this year’s activities, have led to knowledge creation and understanding of HR and how strategies and plans can help SAIs to improve accuracy in, for example, recruitment, skills development and succession planning. Several of the teams involved in the cooperation testify to increased knowledge of HR and strategic planning. One of the participating SAIs decided to set up an HR function to further build knowledge.

The Swedish NAO’s support has contributed to strengthening the SAIs’
HR work. The analysis of the SAI-PMF results showed that areas within leadership, HR and communication had been neglected. Together with the Secretariat, the Swedish NAO developed a remote programme in which the SAIs were given the opportunity to develop their own HR strategies and operational plans. The first round involved six SAIs with a total of 16 participants. The programme was conducted remotely. Four out of six SAIs have adopted the plans and started implementation using the operational plans. The support in 2020 was carried out in collaboration with AFROSAI-E and its expert in HRM.


Costs of the Swedish NAO's cooperation that are charged to international development cooperation.

Source: Swedish National Audit Office Annual Reports for 2019, 2020 and 2021 and budget for 2022.

Brief Facts about the PASAI region

The Pacific region is characterised by two strong states (Australia and New Zealand) and three regions with 15 island nations with different ties to and dependence on former colonisers, and with different financial and democratic opportunities. Of the 15 smaller island nations, three account for 90 per cent of the land mass (528,000 square kilometres). Six of the island nations are on the so-called World Risk List (20 nations) of nations seen as particularly vulnerable, where Vanuatu and Tonga face the greatest challenges.

In recent years, the Pacific region has experienced deteriorating democratic and political rights. Gender inequality and violence against women remain a major problem that escalated during the COVID-19 pandemic. Only five states are included on the 2021 Transparency International Corruption Index. Of a total of 180 countries, New Zealand is the least corrupt country in the world, Australia ranks 18, Vanuatu 66, Solomon Islands 73 and East Timor 82.

The economic situation varies between island nations. Common to many of them is the dependence on aid and the economic challenges posed by climate change. The area is one of the most affected in terms of environmental and climate change, and that will escalate. An important source of income is the sale of fishing licences to foreign interests. There is high unemployment in many of the island nations.

Updated: 29 January 2024

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