INTOSAI Development Initiative

Supporting effective, accountable and inclusive Supreme Audit Institutions

Bilateral Support Banner

Bilateral Support

Bilateral support works to ensure the most challenged SAIs are assisted and are improving their performance. 

Key characteristics of bilateral support are: customised advice, involvement of a majority of SAI staff, in-country activities, a dedicated and multiyear peer-team and flexibility. 

Where we work

Bilateral support is currently provided to SAIs in eleven countries

Where we work

Bilateral support is currently provided to SAIs in eleven countries:


SAIs operate in different political and economic environments and face varied constraints and opportunities. While evaluations of the IDI confirm that most developing SAIs benefit from the regional and global IDI programmes, it is recognized that some SAIs require more extensive bilateral support to sustainably develop their capacity and performance.

Bilateral support can be defined as support to strengthening the performance, independence and professionalism of one SAI, taking into account the needs and opportunities of the SAI. It takes a holistic approach to capacity development where support may be provided for the strengthening of both the professional, organizational and/or institutional capacity of the SAI.

INTOSAI has a strong tradition of bilateral peer-to-peer support, and a number of SAIs in developing countries are currently involved in bilateral capacity development programmes. There is also a large number of SAIs that receive donor support and/or technical support by private sector providers.

The revised IDI mandate endorsed by the INCOSAI in 2013 gave IDI a clear mandate to work bilaterally. IDI has developed a policy to clarify the conditions, principles and working modalities for IDI’s bilateral support. It seeks to utilize the comparative advantages of IDI, such as access to experienced SAI resource persons and the position of the IDI as INTOSAIs global capacity development provider.

As capacity development support in general, and especially in fragile contexts, carry risks in terms of not achieving goals or sustainable results, the bilateral policy aims to build on the lessons learned from the IDI and other experiences of support in states of fragility. The policy has been developed with inputs from various stakeholders, including the INTOSAI regions and donors.

Within IDI’s global and regional programmes, support is also frequently provided at the SAI level. IDI’s bilateral support differ from the SAI level support within global and regional programmes in terms of which SAIs that are targeted and the areas of support. While the global and regional programmes will concentrate on a defined area of support, and targets SAIs having the capacity to successfully follow-up of joint activities within the programme, the bilateral support typically will be broader and target the most challenged SAIs with a limited capacity to follow-up.

The bilateral programme covers a portfolio of agreements with selected country SAIs. For each bilateral project, Cooperation agreements have been signed. These show the outcome, outputs and activities in each country.

The bilateral programme also includes the Tier 2 programme. This is established in partnership with AFROSAI-E and CREFIAF. It involves support to up to nine SAIs selected by the INTOSAI Donor Committee, where extra support is needed to establish strategic and operational plans as well long term capacity development support. The Tier 2 programme document forms the main implementation strategy for this programme.

For IDI to consider new bilateral support projects, the SAI should request for support, either through the Global Call for Proposals or directly to the IDI. IDI will also consider bilateral support if a donor asks IDI to provide support. A dialogue will then be initiated with the SAI.

IDI will assess all requests or options for bilateral support using a uniform set of conditions. Bilateral support will be considered to SAIs that meet the following conditions:

  1. The SAI has major challenges and there is a need for bilateral support in areas where IDI has competencies and comparative advantages
  2. The SAI does not receive extensive support and there are no other INTOSAI community providers (SAIs or regional organizations) able to deliver the support needed
  3. IDI has the capacity to provide support and proper working arrangements can be established
  4. The SAI demonstrates a willingness and continued commitment to strengthen its performance and operate according to the principles of transparency and accountability