Over the years, the Latin American and Caribbean Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (OLACEFS) has developed new spaces and advances in terms of Gender Equality and Sustainable Development Goal #5 (SDG5) of the United Nations 2030 Agenda. The effort to incorporate the gender perspective in Supreme Audit Institutions (SAIs) in the region began in 2012, through the meeting “Gender and Transparency in Supreme Audit”, held in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. On that occasion, recommendations related to the topic of gender were approved and the “Declaration of Santo Domingo” was signed, which reaffirms the need for SAIs to incorporate the gender equality dimension, both within SAIs and in the execution of government audits.
Afterwards, at the beginning of 2014, the first Coordinated Audit on “Gender Equality and Equity” was carried out with the participation of the SAIs of Chile, Costa Rica and Puerto Rico. The results of this work generated the necessary momentum. In 2016, the OLACEFS General Assembly approved a proposal to carry out a new gender audit, in this case, linked to the 2030 Agenda and in particular to SDG5. Subsequently, in 2018, the “Ibero-American Audit on Gender Equality. Preparation of Governments for the Implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 5”, had 18 participants: 16 SAIs from the region (Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Venezuela and Uruguay), 1 SAI from Europe (Spain), 1 Subnational Control Entity (Office of the Comptroller of Bogota, Colombia).
It is through these actions aimed at charting the way for gender equality in OLACEFS that in June 2020, during the LXXI meeting of the Virtual Governing Board of the Regional Organization, it was agreed to create the Working Group on Gender Equality and Non-Discrimination (GTG for its acronym in Spanish) led by the SAI of Chile. The general objective of this Working Group is to develop a policy on gender equality and non-discrimination that will serve as a basis for implementation in the SAIs of OLACEFS. Likewise, the GTG will have to define, together with the interested SAIs, the implementation of the policy, its monitoring and evaluation, as well as the processes of feedback and exchange of good practices that can be generated around gender equality and non-discrimination.
The GTG has as members the SAIs of Argentina, Brazil, Chile (chair), Cuba, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico and Uruguay. Since its creation, it has achieved important milestones such as the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between OLACEFS and UN Women, as well as the approval of the Policy on Gender Equality and Non-Discrimination, during the XXX Ordinary General Assembly of the Regional Organization held in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia.
The approval of the Policy was a historic event in terms of gender within OLACEFS, given the work that had been carried out in previous years, in addition to the sum of efforts and consensus on the part of the SAIs for the preparation of the document. The aforementioned Policy constitutes an institutional planning instrument that guides the Organization and the Entities that comprise it on the principles that should govern their actions in the area of gender and non-discrimination and the type of actions that can be promoted to generate changes, as well as to identify opportunities for improvement and materialize them.
Likewise, in May of this year, the “Coordinated Audit on Gender Violence; State Response in the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence Against Women” was launched. This coordinated audit aims to evaluate the efficiency of government actions, whether plans or programs, in favor of eradicating violence against women, and its work will be focused during the period 2019-2021. In this way, the reality before and during the pandemic will be observed, which will allow a comparison of the state response and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on it.
Currently, from May until October 2022, the GTG is carrying out a Cycle of Master Classes called “Manos a la Obra: Política Sobre Igualdad de Género y No Discriminación” (“Hands at Work: Policy on Gender Equality and Non-Discrimination”), which are held on the first Wednesday of each month at 11 am (UTC-4) and have high-level panelists and moderators, who have been presenting the axes that make up the OLACEFS Policy on Gender Equality and Non-Discrimination, seeking to deepen in its dimensions and recommendations.
The purpose of these lectures is to provide the necessary guidelines for the implementation of the aforementioned Policy. Therefore, the importance of each of the axes (ethical culture, inclusion, sexual/workplace harassment/stalking, organizational culture, people management and audit functions) is highlighted, both for the functioning of the SAI and for the successful accomplishment of its tasks, allowing the gender approach to permeate within the institution in a cross-cutting manner.
OLACEFS is highly motivated to continue promoting initiatives on gender and non-discrimination in order to promote equality within the region, leaving no one behind, and to position itself as a model organization that contributes to the strengthening of its SAIs and the achievement of the SDGs.