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Luxembourg, 11 October 2013

Auditors urge better disaster preparedness

On the occasion of the United Nations International Day for Disaster Reduction, the European Court of Auditors announced today that new guidelines for audit institutions to improve the state of disaster risk reduction around the world will be formally endorsed at the next INTOSAI Congress scheduled for October 21-26. The guidelines are the fruit of work done by 195 audit institutions over 3 years.

Economic losses from disasters are rising. In the 20 years to 2012 disasters caused an estimated US $2 trillion in damage, more than the total of development aid in that period. Climate change further increases disaster risks.

To limit the human and economic cost of disasters countries must invest in preparedness and be held to account. INTOSAI, the world’s organization of supreme audit institutions, is launching initiatives to step up the auditing of disaster preparedness and disaster-related aid.

Audits have found that humanitarian aid can be affected by waste and corruption. To audit effectiveness and limit the risks of fraud and waste INTOSAI is providing its 195 member organizations with detailed guidance, including warning signs (‘red flags’).

Disaster risk reduction is cost-effective: a dollar invested in prevention and preparedness can save between two and ten dollars in response and recovery costs. However, international spending on disaster prevention and preparedness remains low and audits have demonstrated that many countries remain ill-prepared to cope with disasters. INTOSAI has now issued guidance for audit institutions to improve the state of disaster risk reduction around the world.

“Many governments have yet to recognize that the risk of disasters is growing. Lives and money can be saved by greater preparedness, and auditors and parliaments must step up their efforts to hold their governments to account,” said Gijs de Vries, member of the European Court of Auditors and chairman of the INTOSAI working group that prepared the initiatives.

INTOSAI’s initiatives have been welcomed as “extremely thorough” (UN OCHA), “excellent” (UNODC), “relevant, useful and comprehensive” (SIDA, Sweden), and “clear and comprehensive (Humanitarian Accountability Partnership).

The guidelines to be endorsed are available at:

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