SADC Secretariat Meets International Standards of Institutional Compliance
SADC Secretariat now meets international standards of good practice in accounting, audit, internal controls and procurement. This achievement was made possible by a focused and energetic reform process, assisted by a major European Union (EU)-funded capacity-building programme and support from the German Government through GIZ. Achieving this status allows SADC to enter into direct Contribution Agreements with the EU, amounting to €50 million, to support SADC’s regional integration process.
Following below is a summary of the SADC Secretariat’s achievement of compliance with the international benchmarks of good practice. This page also provides access to a Booklet describing SADC’s overall achievement and its significance for future agreements with International Co-operation Partners. Five additional fact-sheets are also available below, describing key interventions made by SADC Secretariat staff as they worked to meet the international standards and achieve full compliance. The Strategy Development, Planning and Monitoring and Evaluation Policy is also available.
A Key Ambition Realised
After several years’ intensive work on its institutional development, supported by the EU and by Germany through GIZ, the SADC Secretariat was officially recognised in 2012 as having international standards in accounting, audit, internal controls and procurement. By meeting these standards and achieving this status SADC is now eligible to receive and manage packages of financial assistance using its own internal systems and controls. This kind of arrangement, under Contribution Agreements, enables the EU to provide more direct and flexible financial support to SADC. In addition, the internal controls and monitoring procedures developed by SADC Secretariat will improve its own governance, transparency and accountability, and will result in improved decision-making and management.
Key Enablers of Success
The commitment, energy and focus of the SADC Secretariat were supported by the political will demonstrated by the SADC Council of Ministers, the leadership of the SADC Secretariat, the SADC Secretariat Institutional Reforms Coordinating Committee, a series of Technical Working Groups that linked Secretariat staff with external technical assistance and financial and technical support provided by the European Union.
The Immediate Benefits
In addition to enhancing the reputation and corporate image of SADC, the greatest benefit of the institutional reforms programme has been the adoption of international best practices, which enhance governance and accountability, and contribute to improved efficiency and effectiveness of the institution as a whole. With the reforms in place, SADC can now access significant funds through Contribution Agreements. The EU has committed €84 million under the EDF10 programme, of which €50 million will be funded through the following Contribution Agreements: Regional Political Co-operation, €18 million; Regional Economic Integration Support, €20million; Project Preparation and Development Facility, €12 million.
The process of organisational development and change management continues in SADC Secretariat. The EU and Germany will continue to support this process through the following activities:
- Development of a ‘think tank’ with the capacity to advise and guide the Member States on the implementation of the SADC Common Agenda.
- Recruiting of a principal regional co-ordinator of policies, strategies and programmes of the regional integration process.
- Provision of support services to facilitate legal, administrative, financial and procurement services to technical Directorates, and convening annual consultative conferences and meetings of the SADC decision-making structures.
- Recruiting of a professional programme manager, to plan and budget, facilitate the implementation process, monitor prioritised programmes, and report on progress in co-ordination and co-operation with SADC stakeholders.
In 2013-2015 the EU-funded Institutional Capacity Development Programme for €12 million will reinforce the process of maintaining institutional compliance. The programme will also address the key factors of leadership, management and performance management in order to further strengthen SADC Secretariat's institutional capacity. Germany, through the €4 million GIZ programme Strengthening the Reform Agenda and Management Structures of SADC Institutions, will focus in 2013-2016 on strengthening the linkages between SADC Secretariat and the Member States, and support efforts for increased policy dialogue between the regional stakeholders.
Intervention 1: Capacity Building During Institutional Reform
A key driver of reform within the Secretariat was the Secretariat Institutional Reforms Co-Coordinating Committee (SIRCC). Established in 2010, the SIRCC drove and coordinated the reforms by engaging all key stakeholders in the process, maximising synergy and impact. The SIRCC was supported by Technical Working Groups that worked with external technical experts, while building capacity and skills within the Secretariat. Technical Working Groups were formed in the following areas:
- Risk Management
- Human Resources
- Accounting and External Audit
- Internal Audit
- Planning, Budgeting and Monitoring
- Resource Mobilisation
- IT Development
The Technical Working Group modality facilitated high-impact institutional strengthening and capacity building, while enabling institutional compliance in a two-year time frame.
Intervention 2: Audit and Risk Management
From 2010 to 2012,SADC Secretariat has adopted new financial management and reporting practices to strengthen financial functions and providing improved transparency, accountability, probity and equity. Reforms included revision of the Internal Audit Charter, development of Terms of Reference for external audit of the Secretariat, development of a new Enterprise Risk Management policy and a new Enterprise Risk Management Framework. These interventions lead to the approval of the revised financial regulations by the SADC Council in August 2012. These new regulations will pave the way for improved financial management, and good governance through transparency, accountability and sound financial controls. It is hoped that this intervention will also lead to improved resource allocation decisions, in turn supporting poverty alleviation efforts across the region.
Intervention 3: Management by Results
Through this intervention, Results-Based Management was implemented within the SADC Secretariat, providing an effective and transparent platform to demonstrate accountability, results and impact. These changes have crated a stable organisational platform, which has strengthened SADC’s decision-making processes for priority setting, resource allocation and programme management – all of which support the regional integration objectives of SADC.
Intervention 4: Independent Procurement Unit
Following approval from Council in 2011, the SADC Secretariat established an Independent Procurement Unit to efficiently administer the approximately €18 millions per year of procurement processes that it issues. In addition to improving efficiency, the Procurement Unit provides a valuable bridge between the requirements of the Secretariat and the external service providers. Through this intervention, capacity has been increased and awareness raised regarding the important functions, standards and processes that are associated with procurement. The new streamlined procurement process allows transparency and accountability, and reduces costs and risks associated with procuring services and works from external sources.
Intervention 5: Regional Statistics
In late 2012, SADC completed the development of the first SADC Statistical Yearbook, which provides a framework for annual collection, collation, synthesis, analysis and presentation of regional statistics, using a harmonised and consistent approach. The SADC Statistics Group coordinates the collection of data from the national statistics offices of Member States. The support and participation of these agencies has enabled the development of the Yearbook, which includes information on the following subjects: economy and finance, population, health, education and training, the labour market, living conditions and social protection, industry, trade and services, agriculture, forestry and fisheries, international trade, transport, the environment, energy, science and technology. It also includes data on the crosscutting issues of poverty, the environment and gender. The Yearbook provides stakeholders with access to regular, accurate, standardised and comprehensive information on key development issues within SADC and its Member States.