Practice Guide to Auditing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: Gender Equality

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Practice Guide to Auditing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: Gender Equality 2017 Canadian Audit and Accountability Foundation All rights reserved. No part of this publication, or its companion
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Practice Guide to Auditing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: Gender Equality 2017 Canadian Audit and Accountability Foundation All rights reserved. No part of this publication, or its companion products, may be reproduced by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the publisher. Published by: Canadian Audit and Accountability Foundation 1505 Laperriere Avenue, Suite 100 Ottawa, Ontario CANADA K1Z 7T1 Tel: ISBN: This publication is available in French under the title: Guide pratique sur l audit de l égalité des sexes dans le cadre des Objectifs de développement durable des Nations Unies. This Practice Guide was produced with the financial support of the Government of Canada provided through Global Affairs Canada, as part of the Canadian Audit and Accountability Foundation s International Legislative Oversight Program. 1 About the Canadian Audit and Accountability Foundation The Canadian Audit and Accountability Foundation is a premier Canadian research and education foundation. Our mission is to strengthen public sector performance audit, oversight and accountability in Canada and abroad. We build capacity in legislative audit offices, oversight bodies, and departments and crown corporations by developing and delivering: Training workshops and learning opportunities; Methodology, guidance and toolkits; Applied and advanced research; Information sharing events and community building initiatives. About the International Institute for Sustainable Development The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) is one of the world s leading centres of research and innovation. The Institute provides practical solutions to the growing challenges and opportunities of integrating environmental and social priorities with economic development. It reports on international negotiations and shares knowledge gained through collaborative projects, resulting in more rigorous research, stronger global networks, and better engagement among researchers, citizens, businesses, and policy-makers. About Women Deliver As a leading global advocate for girls and women s health, rights, and well-being, Women Deliver brings together diverse voices and interests to drive progress for gender equality, particularly in maternal, sexual, and reproductive health and rights. It builds capacity, shares solutions, and forges partnerships, together creating coalitions, communication, and action that spark political commitment and investment in girls and women. womendeliver.org 2 Acknowledgements This Practice Guide is part of the Canadian Audit and Accountability Foundation s performance audit capacity-building program and our International Legislative Oversight Program. It has been made possible by the funding provided by Global Affairs Canada for our international program and by the support of the Foundation s members and partners. The Canadian Audit and Accountability Foundation was extremely pleased to collaborate with the International Institute for Sustainable Development and Women Deliver to develop this guide. The knowledge, insights, and advice these organizations provided greatly enriched this guidance. We thank them for their partnership. On behalf of our Board of Directors, I wish to acknowledge the contributions of the individuals who researched, wrote, reviewed, and produced this Practice Guide: John Reed, President and CEO of the Canadian Audit and Accountability Foundation, the lead author of the guide; Jane Fuller, a Canadian Audit and Accountability Foundation Associate; Livia Bizikova, Director, Knowledge for Integrated Decisions, International Institute for Sustainable Development; Women Deliver s Katja Iversen, President and CEO, Evelyne Guindon, Director, External Relations, and Susan Papp, Director of Policy and Advocacy; Archana P. Shirsat, Deputy Director General of the INTOSAI Development Initiative; Aranzazu Guillan Montero, Senior Governance and Public Administration Officer, Division for Public Administration and Development Management, United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs; and Canadian Audit and Accountability Foundation staff members Lynne Casiple, IT and Web Officer, Pierre Fréchette, Research Officer, and Kate Gertz, Communications and Reporting Officer, International Programs. We also extend our thanks to Nicole Plamondon (translation) and Laurel Hyatt (editing and formatting). We hope this Practice Guide will be a helpful reference tool and will inspire high-impact audits of the Sustainable Development Goals and gender equality, in Canada and abroad. James A. Sylph, Chair, Canadian Audit and Accountability Foundation Board of Directors 3 Message from the Minister of Status of Women Canada is working hard to advance gender equality, both here at home and around the world. It is both a matter of basic justice and of basic economics empowering women isn t just the right thing to do, it actually makes families and countries more prosperous. Our government is proud to proclaim its feminism and we continue to make gender equality a central priority of our work. This priority is well aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which we are committed to helping achieve here in Canada, and in developing countries. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development challenges the global community to once and for all put an end to persistent and pervasive gender inequalities. Canada will rise to this challenge. Gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls will be at the heart of our approach to implementing the UN s SDGs. As Minister of Status of Women, my overarching goal is to ensure that our government is sensitive to the multiple ways in which gender can influence the creation, implementation, and experience of policy, legislation, and regulations. In coordination with other departments, my office works to integrate considerations of gender equality across government programming, increase women s economic security and prosperity, encourage women s leadership and democratic participation, and to end violence against women and girls. I am proud of the steps Canada has taken so far, in particular, the recent launches of our strategy to prevent and address gender-based violence, as well as our feminist international assistance policy, both announced in These are both important steps; however, there is still much to do, and it is work that requires a broad range of voices and perspectives. As we continue towards our goal of gender equality, I will be looking to the insights of legislative auditors. I am glad that the audit community is taking note of the critical importance of gender equality and is engaged in auditing the SDGs. At this exciting moment, as our government and others around the world are beginning to implement the ambitious 2030 Agenda, we will surely benefit from the recommendations auditors offer. Together, it is possible for us to eliminate barriers to gender equality, close gender gaps, and build a more equal future. The Honourable Maryam Monsef, P.C., M.P. Minister of Status of Women 4 Table of Contents Preface... 7 Introduction to Gender Equality... 9 Purpose of the Practice Guide Part 1 Concepts and Context International Commitments to Gender Equality Gender Equality and Development The United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and Gender Equality Gender Equality as a Stand-Alone Sustainable Development Goal Gender Equality as a Crosscutting Issue The Important Role of Supreme Audit Institutions in Auditing for Gender Equality Supreme Audit Institution Performance Audits of Gender Equality Part 2 Audit Methodology General Considerations in Auditing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Planning an Audit of United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Audit Objectives and Whole of Government Approach Quantification and Data Integrity Audit Criteria Stakeholder Management Topic Selection and Audit Focus Understanding the Government s Starting Point Gender Mainstreaming Across the Whole of Government Is Gender Equality at Risk? Scenario 1: Planning an Audit of Goal 5 on Gender Equality Sustainable Development Goal 5 as a Stand-Alone Goal Acquiring Knowledge of Business Entity/Stakeholder Mapping Scenario 2: Planning an Audit of Other Sustainable Development Goals or Government Programs. 43 Gender Equality as a Crosscutting Theme Acquiring Knowledge of Business Entity/Stakeholder Mapping Illustrative Example: Auditing Goal 4 on Education Gender Equality and Education Outcomes Acquiring Knowledge of Business Conclusion Appendices Appendix 1 Examples of Sustainable Development Goals and Targets with Relevance for Gender Equality Appendix 2 Examples of Sustainable Development Goal Indicators Requiring Gender- Disaggregated Data Appendix 3 Knowledge of Business: Gender Mainstreaming Questions in Individual Organizations References Auditing Gender Equality and the Sustainable Development Goals The Sustainable Development Goals and Other International Commitments to Gender Equality Other References on the Sustainable Development Goals and Gender Equality Performance Audits Cited in the Practice Guide Glossary Preface A Global Commitment to Sustainable Development We are announcing today 17 Sustainable Development Goals with 169 associated targets which are integrated and indivisible. Never before have world leaders pledged common action and endeavour across such a broad and universal policy agenda. We are setting out together on the path towards sustainable development, devoting ourselves collectively to the pursuit of global development and of win-win cooperation which can bring huge gains to all countries and all parts of the world. Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 25 September 2015 The adoption of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development presents us all with an opportunity to end poverty, hunger, and inequality, and put the world on track to sustainable development. As governments and other stakeholders strive to meet the Agenda s ambitious goals, auditors too have a crucial role to play. The UN and the International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI) are calling on supreme audit institutions (SAIs) to audit the efficient, effective, transparent, and accountable implementation of the 2030 Agenda. This Practice Guide aims to help auditors plan a performance audit focusing on a central and transforming aspect of the 2030 Agenda: gender equality. Sustainable development is not possible without gender equality and women s empowerment. Recognizing this, the Agenda s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) include achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls as both a stand-alone goal and a crosscutting theme that is reflected in many other goals. Gender equality is a priority of the Canadian government and a theme that the Canadian Audit and Accountability Foundation is proud to emphasize. This guide is part of the Canadian Audit and Accountability Foundation s series of Practice Guides. It emerged from the Foundation s ongoing contributions to INTOSAI s initiatives to encourage and assist SAIs to audit the SDGs. It builds upon the Foundation s earlier Practice Guide to Auditing Gender Equality, published in 2016, to incorporate new global developments and focus specifically on the SDGs. 7 The Canadian Audit and Accountability Foundation, the International Institute for Sustainable Development, and the global advocacy organization Women Deliver collaborated to produce this new guidance. By each contributing our expertise in the areas of auditing, sustainable development, and gender equality we hope to help auditors understand the subject of gender equality and its important place within the SDGs and to provide useful guidance on planning an audit of gender equality. John Reed, President and Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Audit and Accountability Foundation Scott Vaughan, President and Chief Executive Officer, International Institute for Sustainable Development Katja Iversen, President and Chief Executive Officer, Women Deliver 8 Introduction to Gender Equality Promoting gender equality is critical to eliminating discrimination based on gender, protecting human rights, and fostering social progress and economic growth. It will ensure that people around the world whether females or males are able to play an active and meaningful role in their communities, their societies, and their own lives. Over the past 50 years, both developed and developing countries have made significant progress in addressing the inequalities between women and men, and girls and boys. This push for equality was advanced in 1946 with the creation of the United Nations (UN s) Commission on the Status of Women. The subsequent 1979 UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and the 1995 UN Beijing Platform for Action were further steps toward protecting women s basic human rights and freedoms. Equality between women and men (gender equality) means that women s and men s rights, responsibilities and opportunities will not depend on whether they are born male or female Equality between women and men is seen both as a human rights issue and as a precondition for, and indicator of, sustainable people-centered development. The United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) To live up to the commitments made in the 1979 CEDAW Convention and elsewhere, countries around the world have established ministries and government organizations to advance gender equality. They have also implemented other legislative, policy, and programming initiatives to uphold women s rights and advance gender equality within their governments and society at large. And yet, gender inequalities are still deep-rooted everywhere. Women suffer from lack of access to decent work and face occupational segregation and gender wage gaps. In many situations, they are denied access to basic education and health care and are victims of violence and discrimination. They are under-represented in political and economic decision making as well as in statistics and data. For these reasons, international organizations such as UN Women target three areas to address the structural causes of impediments to women s empowerment and the full realization of their rights: freedom from violence against women and girls, gender equality in capabilities and resources, and gender equality in decision-making power in private and public institutions. Much work remains to be done. Auditors have an important role to play. 9 Purpose of the Practice Guide This Practice Guide is designed to help performance auditors conduct audits of gender equality as part of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It is part of our Practice Guide methodology series. In March 2016, the Canadian Comprehensive Auditing Foundation (now the Canadian Audit and Accountability Foundation) released its Practice Guide to Auditing Gender Equality. Its purpose is to help public sector auditors to plan, carry out, and report on legislative and internal audits that address gender equality. By combining current theory and practical methods, that Practice Guide s aim is to inspire quality and impactful audits of gender equality at all levels of government whether it is the sole focus of an audit or merely one aspect. Recently, there have been significant global developments that have prompted the creation of this current Practice Guide. In September 2015, UN member states adopted the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The 2030 Agenda includes 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 measurable targets for achieving these goals. These goals and targets to be achieved by 2030 establish quantitative and qualitative social, economic, and environmental objectives for universal sustainable development. Gender equality plays a key role in the Agenda, both as a stand-alone SDG (Goal 5) and as a theme that cuts across other goals. Around the world, governments, financial institutions, development agencies, civil society organizations, and the private sector are all taking action to implement the SDGs. These goals provide the basis of future development priorities and benchmarks against which progress will be assessed. The UN has also formally recognized the indispensable role that supreme audit institutions (SAIs) play in auditing the efficient, effective, transparent, and accountable implementation of the 2030 Agenda. In addition, members of the International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI) entrenched performance auditing of the UN SDGs as a priority in INTOSAI s Strategic Plan. INTOSAI intends to encourage and assist SAIs to: assess the preparedness of national governments to implement, monitor, and report on progress of the SDGs, and subsequently to audit their operation and the reliability of the data they produce; and undertake performance audits that examine the economy, efficiency, and effectiveness of key government programs that contribute to specific aspects of the SDGs. The INTOSAI community has already launched or planned many activities to support SAIs ability to undertake this work. This includes the creation of new SDG-related audit methodology. 10 Scope of the Practice Guide The purpose of this Practice Guide is to assist performance auditors in planning a performance audit on gender equality and the SDGs. It is intended to complement and be consistent with INTOSAI s and its members overall approach to performance auditing of the UN SDGs. This guide does not provide general guidance on performance auditing, about which there are many resources to assist auditors. It also is not intended to provide general guidance on performance auditing of the UN SDGs. For this, readers are encouraged to consult the INTOSAI Development Initiative publication Auditing Preparedness for Implementation of Sustainable Development Goals: A Guidance for Supreme Audit Institutions (which the Canadian Audit and Accountability Foundation has supported and contributed to). That document explains the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and summarizes INTOSAI s overall direction on auditing the SDGs. It also provides guidance on how to apply the performance audit process and international standards to the audit of UN SDGs. Governments are not the only organizations with a role to play in achieving the UN SDGs and gender equality more broadly. Other types of organizations, such as private sector companies, non-government organizations, UN bodies, and development banks, bear equally significant responsibilities. As well, internal auditors, program evaluators, and community groups can review the performance of governments and others engaged in SDG implementation. Although this Practice Guide has been developed specifically for legislative auditors, other organizations, auditors, and evaluators may be able to adapt the guidance to their needs. Using the Practice Guide This guide is for performance auditors and legislative audit offices who are considering or have decided to audit gender equality implementation and achievement in their respective governments. It is divided into two main parts. Part 1, Concepts and Context, provides context to understand the subject of gender equality. It includes: international commitments related to gender equality, the importance of gender equality for sustainable development, the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and gender equality, and the role of SAIs in auditing gender equality. Part 2, Audit Methodology, provides guidance and suggested practices in the audit s planning phase. It includes: questions that can be asked to obtain useful
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