The Ordinary Annual Meeting of the Supreme Audit Institutions of the Mercosur and Associated Countries (EFSUR) was held last Monday, October 26, with the participation of all the member countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela. In the current context, due to the pandemic, it was carried out by videoconference.

The event was attended by the General Auditor of Argentina, Ms. Graciela de la Rosa; the Sub-Comptroller of Bolivia, Mr. Rubén Cardozo; the Minister of the TCU of Brazil, Augusto Nardes; the Comptroller General of Ecuador, Dr. Pablo Celi de la Torre; the Sub-Comptroller of Paraguay, Dr. Augusto Paiva; the Comptroller General of Peru, Econ. Nelson Shack Yalta; the Comptroller of Venezuela, Dr. Elvis Amoroso; the Minister of the Court of Accounts of the Oriental Republic of Uruguay, Acct. Diana Marcos; and the representatives of international affairs from the SAI of Chile, Dr. Osvaldo Rudloff, and the SAI of Colombia, Dr. Tania Hernández Guzmán.

During the meeting, the SAI of Paraguay was re-elected to exercise the presidency of EFSUR for the 2021-2022 period, the EFSUR 2020 Management Summary was presented, the proposal to carry out the normative update was presented, and the 2020-2022 Tactical Plan, ongoing coordinated audits and normative compilation work on gender were presented. Other relevant issues were the projects for new audits on the Sustainable Development Goal SDG 1 and SDG 6.

On the one hand, we have SDG 1 “End poverty,” which the United Nations identifies as one of the objectives that will suffer “first-order” effects due to the pandemic. The measures adopted by States in the area of social isolation are expected to generate a significant loss of income, which would lead vulnerable segments of society and families to fall below the poverty level. On the other hand, we have SDG 6 “Clean water and sanitation,” associated with a fundamental human right, and that, due to lack of access to clean water, makes cleaning difficult, one of the most important measures in the prevention of COVID-19.

The combination of the importance of water and sanitation as human rights, and their relevance in the context of the health emergency that is affecting the entire world, outlines a favorable scenario to carry out a regional audit on SDG 6.

Although it is still too early to be able to gauge the depth of the impacts of COVID-19 on the SDGs, it is a fact that the pandemic will have a very negative effect on most of the 2030 Agenda in general, and on those most vulnerable in particular.