There is a growing recognition of the necessity to involve Supreme Audit Institutions (SAIs) in the national implementation of the post-2015 development agenda. Given their independence, SAIs are uniquely positioned to serve the public by promoting effective public governance. Their role was also put in the spotlight on 2-4 March during the 23rd UN/INTOSAI (International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions) Symposium, held in Vienna, Austria.
The President of Austria inaugurated the meeting, which was held on the topic of “UN Post-2015 Development Agenda: the Role of Supreme Audit Institutions and Means of Implementation for Sustainable Development,” addressing representatives and heads of Supreme Audit institutions (SAIs) from more than 90 countries.
In his address, President Heinz Fischer highlighted the important role of SAIs in monitoring performance in the implementation of the post-2015 development agenda at the national level and in that context the need for strengthening their independence.
UN DESA’s Under-Secretary-General Mr. Wu Hongbo noted in his opening remarks that “Member States and the public at large have both underscored the critical role of effective and accountable institutions in implementing the post-2015 development agenda… SAIs are at the core of effective, accountable and inclusive institutions”.
Mr. Wu further noted that UN DESA “working closely with key partners, including INTOSAI, is committed to supporting national efforts, particularly in developing countries, to foster efficient, transparent and accountable public governance and administration”.
“SAIs play a key role in promoting an efficient, accountable, effective and transparent public administration, which is central to the implementation of sustainable development goals and the post-2015 development agenda”
Mr. Wu Hongbo
UN DESA’s Under-Secretary-General
Secretary General of INTOSAI, Mr. Josef Moser reminded the participating SAIs that “it is our task to do everything possible to safeguard sustainable development’. He stressed the prerequisites for SAIs to contribute to the implementation of the post-2015 development agenda to meet growing expectations.
The Under-Secretary-General of Internal Oversight Services Ms. Carman L. Lapointe made a presentation on lessons learned from MDGs and underlined the need to establish indicators and a baseline for monitoring the progress in implementation of SDGs by sharing methodologies for audit.
Representing the Chair of INTOSAI, Mr. Zhang Tong mentioned the concepts of real time audit of livelihoods being tried out in China and stressed the need for collective wisdom and joint efforts.
The Symposium covered three themes — expectations of the stakeholders ranging from citizens through parliaments and governments to donors, prerequisites for SAIs to play their role and the possibilities for INTOSAI, together with 193 member SAIs, to meet the expectations from them.
As many as 30 presentations were made on the three themes. Among them, Ms. Jennifer Thomson from the World Bank stressed the need for expanding the scope of audits by SAIs and Ms. Margaret Saner, Chair of UN Committee of Experts on Public Administration, underlined the importance of professional standards, code of conduct, independence, deep knowledge and skills combined with the ability to work collaboratively and across systems and themes.
Representing citizens, Mr. Amitabh Mukhopadhyay mentioned their vulnerabilities and stressed greater intensity of efforts by SAIs in fighting corruption, establishing shared accountability for public-private partnerships and undertaking performance audits for addressing issues in gender-responsive budgeting as well as of the regulatory process in protecting the environment.
In his concluding remarks for the Symposium Mr. Wu Hongbo highlighted that “SAIs play a key role in promoting an efficient, accountable, effective and transparent public administration, which is central to the implementation of sustainable development goals and the post-2015 development agenda.
In that context, Member States are encouraged to give due consideration to the independence and capacity-building of SAIs, in a manner consistent with their national institutional structures, as well as to the improvement of public accounting systems”. Mr. Josef Moser urged the SAIs to actively play their part in preparing for and furthering the SDGs.
The participants unanimously adopted the conclusions and recommendations of the 23rd UN/INTOSAI Symposium, which will be made available for the Third International Conference on Financing for Development in Addis Ababa, and the UN Summit for the post-2015 development agenda.