INTOSAI Development Initiative

Supporting effective, accountable and inclusive Supreme Audit Institutions


The entire world is facing
an unprecedented global climate crisis 

The 2015 Paris Agreement from 2015 aims to limit global warming well below 2° C with a goal of 1.5° C above pre-industrial levels. This goal is crucial to prevent irreversible damage to nature and society. However, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has warned that without immediate emissions reductions, limiting global warming is beyond reach. As noted by the IPCC, “The rise in weather and climate extremes has led to some irreversible impacts as natural and human systems are pushed beyond their ability to adapt”.

Many SAIs have already recognized the risks that climate change poses to their society and economy. In a recent INTOSAI Working Group on Environmental Auditing (WGEA) survey, respondents put climate change adaptation as the number one environmental audit topic for future audits. Climate change was also identified as a high priority trend in INTOSAI Development Initiative’s (IDI) futures and foresight work. 

Many of them in developing countries and especially Small Island Developing States (SIDS). Several SIDS are already facing critical problems due to climate change such as coastal erosion and flooding, leading to human suffering and irreversible changes in the ecosystem and local biodiversity of these states. Adaptation measures are however needed for all countries – based on their local contexts and existing and anticipating future climate-related problems

The national government’s role in adopting adaptation measures is crucial as droughts, flooding, water resource depletion, and coastal erosion are becoming more common. One of the ways in which SAIs could provide a relevant audit response, would be to examine the government’s efforts to adapt to climate change. In addition, adaptation should be planned aptly, in order to avoid maladaptation that could lock-in unfavorable development for a long time.