Mr. Wu Hongbo Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, Secretary-General for the Third International Conference on Financing for Development

Panel on the Independent Oversight Role of Supreme Audit Institutions
in Implementing the Post-2015 Development Agenda

Chairperson Ambassador Martin Sajdik,
Ambassador Oh Joon,
Mr. Abderrazzak Laassel,
Secretary-General of INTOSAI, Mr. Josef Moser,
Distinguished Delegates,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I thank the Permanent Missions of Austria, Korea and Morocco for co-organizing this event.

I warmly welcome Mr. Josef Moser, Secretary-General of the International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI) and President of the Austrian Court of Audit.

As some of you may recall, this is the second panel discussion in New York in recent years on the role of supreme audit institutions in advancing sustainable development.

In May 2013, DESA and the Mission of Austria co-organized a panel on safeguarding finance for sustainable development, featuring Mr. Moser as a keynote speaker. It was a very rich discussion. I am sure that today’s discussion will be likewise inspiring and thought-provoking.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in his Synthesis Report on the post-2015 development agenda, referred to the results of the Million Voices – My World survey. It is worth noting that an honest and responsive government was identified among the top priorities by the 7 million people who participated in the survey.

The Secretary-General also welcomed the outcome of the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals. Goal 16 aims to “Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.”

Clearly, Member States and the public at large have both underscored the critical role that effective and accountable institutions play in building the sustainable society we all want.

In the Synthesis Report, the Secretary-General further highlighted the need for urgent action to mobilize the transformative power of private resources and long-term investments in critical sectors, especially in developing countries. The Report emphasized the critical role of monitoring frameworks, drawing attention to oversight mechanisms such as supreme audit institutions and oversight functions by legislature.

Supreme audit institutions (SAI) are at the core of effective, accountable and inclusive institutions.

In this regard, the lessons learned during the last fifteen years of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) will serve us all as we contemplate the challenges ahead.

Country experience has demonstrated that where there is accountability of public institutions, there are better results on the ground in public service delivery, in areas such as education, health care, water and sanitation and women’s participation, among others.

The international community, together with individual countries, will continue to work hard towards achieving the MDGs during the final year of their timeframe. Supreme audit institutions will likewise need to strengthen their monitoring role in accelerating the implementation of MDGs.

Looking ahead, I believe the supreme audit institutions will play an even more important role in supporting the implementation of SDGs, which are broader in scope and include a specific goal and related targets on inclusive and accountable institutions.

I see three aspects relating to this challenge.

First, supreme audit institutions will need to continue strengthening their traditional financial auditing functions to help ensure that government resources are allocated and spent for the well being of the public.

Second, supreme audit institutions will need to further enhance their role in ensuring that public institutions perform their functions with accountability, efficiency and effectiveness.

Third, the international community must help developing countries strengthen capacity building in developing and strengthening supreme audit institutions and in fostering public accountability.

As you may be aware, the General Assembly adopted in December 2014 a resolution on Promoting and fostering the efficiency, accountability, effectiveness and transparency of public administration by strengthening supreme audit institutions.

By that resolution, the General Assembly calls upon Member States to “give due consideration to independence and capacity-building in respect of supreme audit institutions, and to the improvement of public accounting systems in the post-2015 development agenda.”

My department, 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.

DESA and INTOSAI will continue to explore the theme of implementation at our next biennial symposium, which will be held in Vienna on 2–4 March 2015. The theme will be “Means of Implementation for the Post-2015 Development Agenda: the Role of SAIs in Sustainable Development and Enhancing Accountability”. The Symposium will also consider what new capacities in SAIs will be needed to enhance their role in engaging with citizens for improved public accountability.


Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would like to conclude my remark with one more quote from the Secretary-General’s Synthesis Report, “We must now embrace a culture of shared responsibility … The new paradigm of accountability that we seek is … one of all actors…Governments, international institutions, private sector actors and organizations of civil society — and in all countries, the people themselves. This is the real test of people-centred, planet-sensitive development”.

I thank you for your attention.