Between November 04 and 08, 2019, in Guatemala City, the Planning Workshop for the Coordinated Audit on Protected Areas was held, an initiative developed within the framework of the activities of the Special Technical Commission for the Environment (COMTEMA) of the Organization of Latin American and Caribbean Supreme Audit Institutions (OLACEFS), which is led by the SAI of Brazil.

The event was attended by SAIs from 17 countries, namely: Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, El Salvador, Ecuador, Spain, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Portugal, Republic Dominican, as well as the sub-national institution of the Province of Buenos Aires. In addition, exhibitors and specialists from important international institutions were present, such as the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), Working Group on Environmental Auditing (WGEA-INTOSAI), International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA), University of Brasilia (UnB) and BirdLife Americas.

This Workshop is part of the stages of the coordinated audit and represented a valuable space to discuss, standardize and validate the planning matrix, audit questions, work papers, data collection tools, consolidation instruments, as well as how to strengthen the learning of the audit teams.

The main objectives of the Planning Workshop were:

  • The establishment of a common language and quality standards.
  • Definition of criteria for comparability and consolidation.
  • Validation of a methodology strategy.
  • Knowledge sharing and capacity building of the audit teams.

The new audit process on protected areas will continue with the use of the Indimapa methodology (Index of Implementation and Management of Protected Areas), a tool developed by the TCU, which allows evaluating, monitoring and communicating the level of management of protected areas through means of georeferenced maps.

The organization of the event had the support of the Office of the Comptroller General of Accounts of the Republic of Guatemala, and the technical and financial support of the GIZ, through the Project for Strengthening External Control in the Environmental Area.

It is worth noting that this initiative is in line with the guidelines defined in COMTEMA’s strategic planning, with coordinated audits being the main activity, although training, communication and institutional alliance-building activities were also carried out.