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XXI INCOSAI | Conclusion with "Beijing Declaration"

INCOSAI XXI in Beijing was concluded with the adoption of the "Beijing Declaration" on 26 October 2013. The Congress was attended by 591 participants from 154 SAIs, 3 associated members and 22 observers.

In the "Beijing Declaration", the congress participants call in particular for the implementation of the UN Resolution A/66/209 on strengthening the independence of Supreme Audit Institutions (SAIs). They adopted 12 new audit standards and expressed support for the plans to intensify cooperation with the United Nations in the framework of the Post-2015 Development Agenda. The Congress also adopted recommendations on audit work concerning the theme areas "National Audit and National Governance" and "The Role of SAIs in Safeguarding Long-Term Sustainability of Finance Policies".

The Congress noted the adoption of the UN Resolution "Promoting the efficiency, accountability, effectiveness and transparency of public administration by strengthening supreme audit institutions" in a highly positive way and called upon members, development organisations and other stakeholders to implement the principles of the Lima and Mexico Declarations contained therein at the national level.

With regard to the adoption of new audit standards, the focus was on three areas:

  • ISSAI 12 "Value and Benefits of SAIs – Making a difference in the lives of citizens";
  • The fundamental auditing principles on financial, performance and compliance auditing revised by the harmonisation project (Level 3, four ISSAIs: 100, 200, 300 and 400) as well as
  • Auditing Guidelines with regard to audit of disaster-related aid (Level 4, five ISSAIs: 5500, 5510, 5520, 5530 and 5540 and one INTOSAI GOV: 9250).

An official document on "Communicating and Promoting the Value and Benefits of Supreme Audit Institutions – An INTOSAI Guideline" was also adopted.

The Congress explicitly called upon INTOSAI members to pursue and step up the cooperation with the United Nations. To this end, the fundamental principles of external government audit as laid down in the Lima and Mexico Declarations as well as in the UN Resolution A/66/209 shall be implemented at the national level and, in particular, included in the Post-2015 Development Agenda in order to strengthen transparency and accountability – as prerequisites for the sustainable development of public finances.

With regard to Theme 1 ("National Audit and National Governance") the Congress formulated, among others, the following recommendations: SAIs have to assume, in particular, their audit responsibility and adapt to constantly changing requirements in a complex environment. Furthermore, SAIs should advocate the strengthening of an audit-friendly legal framework, advance capacity building in audit institutions and improve national audit practices. Eventually, they should enhance the effectiveness of national audits on national governance and communicate the attained results.

In this spirit, INTOSAI should also embrace the improvement of global governance, improve its own governance and call upon SAIs to assume a more effective role at the national level.

With regard to Theme 2 ("The Role of SAIs in Safeguarding Long-Term Sustainability of Finance Policies") the congress participants deemed it particularly relevant to legally anchor budget rules and make use of fiscal indicators. A solid accounting system, preferably accrual accounting, is of high importance in order to step up transparency of public finances. At the same time, auditing the effective coordination between budgetary and fiscal policies together with a comprehensive economic risk analysis is conducive for the effectiveness of audits. Defining budget rules, with particular regard to structural budgetary balance and the implementation of planning systems, impact-oriented budgeting, performance audits, transparency and accountability are particularly relevant in order to safeguard the mid- and long-term sustainability of public finances and debts. In this regard, the mandate of SAIs should also encompass auditing financial regulators, while SAIs should ensure a timely provision of information to decision-makers and the public on their concrete audit possibilities and on limits with regard to financial sustainability. Performance audits should definitely be conducted in this area as well.

Finally, the Congress also made a number of organisational decisions:

  • It elected the new INTOSAI Governing Board, chaired by the SAI of China, and the SAI of the United Arab Emirates as the next host of the Congress in 2016. The SAIs of Oman and Ghana were elected as external auditors.

  • In Goal 1 (Professional Standards) the Congress took note of the transition of the chair of the Financial Audit Subcommittee from the SAI of Sweden to the SAI of the United Arab Emirates.

  • In Goal 3 (Knowledge Sharing and Knowledge Services) a new Working Group on Audit of Extractive Industries chaired by the SAI of Uganda and a new Task Force on Procurement Contract Audit chaired by the SAI of the Russian Federation were set up.

  • Furthermore, the Task Force on Global Financial Crisis was converted into the Working Group on Financial Modernization and Regulatory Reform under the chairmanship of the SAI of the United States. The INTOSAI Working Group on Accountability for and Audit of Disaster-related Aid, chaired by the European Court of Auditors, was dissolved. The chairmanship of the INTOSAI Working Group on Environmental Auditing, held by the SAI of Estonia, was handed over to the SAI of Indonesia.

At its 65th meeting immediately after the Congress, the Governing Board took a decision on rendering the Financial Rules more flexible and made the following appointments:

  • The SAI of China, Saudi Arabia, the United States, Norway, Ecuador as well as South Africa were appointed as members of the Finance and Administration Committee. Monika Gonzalez-Koss was re-appointed as Director of Strategic Planning until INCOSAI XXII in 2016. The SAIs of Japan, the United States and the Russian Federation were elected as Goal Liaisons for Goal 1, Goal 2 and Goal 3 respectively.
 29 October 2013

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