Disasters come and go and seem to be something that happen all the time. They can happen far away or nearby and in many formats and dimensions. But when it comes to aid, almost any kind is most welcome, if not crucial for survival, and this is very relevant, since disaster frequency is on the rise. Who provides such aid and how are acute crises dealt with? What are important aspects of crisis management and are lessons learned well enough to ensure improvements for future crises? What efforts are made to prevent these happening?
This ECA Journal on disasters and crisis management looks at various aspects of disasters and related crisis management. Crisis management can relate to providing humanitarian aid for immediate life-saving purposes, or leadership decisions to contain a financial crisis or prevent a future one happening, or the many measures to deal with one of the most recent crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic, a crisis many people can relate to because of its global dimension, its indiscriminate and persistent character. But that does not stop other crises keep recurring at the same time. An essential aspect relating to crisis management is disaster preparedness and prevention, key elements that public audit institutions can contribute to through their audit work.
This ECA Journal features the views of leaders who deal with disasters, whether they work in a global, EU, national or regional context. What are their hands-on experiences and insights, and what are they focusing on to equip societies for future disasters? We gather experience from people who provide the actual assistance on the ground in disasters, and find out what is essential to provide aid that helps now and in the future. We have contributions from the academic side on what aspects seem to be important for leaders to find crisis solutions, and how auditors can contribute when auditing crisis management. We cover the kind of audit work external auditors have done regarding crisis management and how such audits differ from other audit work. We present insights, including from leaders of public audit institutions, on how auditing a (potential) crisis can affect approaches, timing and reporting, all to ensure better added value of audit findings. The latter has also been a driver for more international cooperation when it comes to auditing disaster aid and crisis management risks, i.e. audit efforts made with one objective: to provide better disaster aid, and preparedness and preventive measures for the future, all aimed at making a difference.
This edition's highlights:
11 'Accountability – a fundamental value underpinning the humanitarian aid community' Interview with Ramesh Rajasingham, UN Acting Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator
18 Crisis management: disaster response is saving lives, but preparedness and prevention are key Interview with Janez Lenarčič, European Commissioner for Crisis Management
39 Providing aid and hope in Bangladesh – 'In areas where others don't go!' Interview with Runa Khan, Founder and Executive Director of Friendship
53 Guidelines for auditing crisis management By Professor Arjen Boin, Leiden University
58 'The origins and effects of emergencies can be multiple' Interview with Leo Brincat, ECA Member
65 COVID-19 -ECA auditors' account on delivering fast insights on actions undertaken during the crisis By Nicholas Edwards, Sustainable Use of Natural Resources Directorate, and Adrian Savin, Regulation of Markets and Competitive Economy Directorate
91 'Auditing accidents waiting to happen' Interview with Arno Visser, President of the Netherlands Court of Audit
100 The role of audit in crisis readiness By Kevin Cardiff, KBC Bank Ireland and former ECA Member
126 'The EU Solidarity Fund – representing solidarity and support between Member States' Interview with Corina Crețu, Member of the European Parliament
With 28 articles on the main theme, this ECA Journal features also interviews with Vassilios Papageorgiou, Secretary-General for Civil Protection in the Greek Ministry of Climate Crisis and Civil Protection; with Willy Demeyer, Mayor of Liège; and with Bertrand Albugues, ECA Director; and with Heidi Hautala and Eero Heinäluoma, Members of the European Parliament.
Other views on various issues relating to disasters and crisis management - and auditing them – are set out in articles by John Ryan, Directorate-General Health and Food Safety of the European Commission; Mette Petersen, Red Cross EU Office; Sumaji, Audit Board of the Republic of Indonesia; Laurent Grosse-Kozlowski and Nils Vösgen, INTOSAI Development Initiative; Thomas Schmidt-Wegner and Martin Winter, German Federal Audit Office; and the ECA's Mark Marshall, External Action, Security and Justice Directorate, Marion Kilhofer, Financing and administering the Union Directorate, Andreas Bolkart, Rosa Kotoaro, Daniel Tibor, Derek Meijers and Gaston Moonen, Directorate of the Presidency.
This Journal also covers several ECA reaching out activities and an overview of recent ECA publications.