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News 2017

24th UN/INTOSAI Symposium in Vienna

The 24th UN/INTOSAI Symposium, which was jointly organized by the INTOSAI General Secretariat and the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA), was held at the Vienna International Centre in Vienna from 31 May to 2 June 2017.

Entitled "Digitalization, open data and data mining: relevance and implications for SAIs’ audit work and for enhancing their contributions to the follow-up and review of the SDGs", the 24th UN/INTOSAI Symposium focused on two themes that will be of considerable importance for the work of SAIs in the forthcoming years:

  1. the implications of digitalization, open data and data mining for the audit work of SAIs, and
  2. the possibilities of SAIs to contribute to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

In this context, the participants engaged in intensive discussions on the following issues:

  • What are the opportunities, but also the challenges, created by digitalization, open data and data mining for the audit work of SAIs?
  • What kind of practical experiences have SAIs made in the framework of their audits with regard to digitalization, open data and data mining and which best-practice examples can be derived therefrom?
  • How can SAIs – as a follow-up to the results of INCOSAI XXII in Abu Dhabi 2016 – contribute to the implementation of the SDGs in the best possible manner?

The function of the technical chair was excellently carried out by Mr Chris Mihm of the SAI of the United States of America.

The event was attended by more than 150 participants, and among these were heads and high-ranking representatives of more than 70 SAIs and of several international institutions (UN DESA, UN OIOS, International Budget Partnership, the Austrian Development Agency – ADA and the German Society for International Cooperation – GIZ).

The discussions showed that new information technologies and possibilities for the use of data entail profound opportunities, but also great challenges for SAIs. SAIs are aware of the fact that in times of increasingly available information they are playing a highly important role as the providers of qualified information through their audits. They, however, also know that digitalization comes with great expectations towards SAIs and changes the requirements regarding their audit work. Consequently, the exchange of experiences and of best-practice examples is of great importance. At the same time, the follow-up on the results of INCOSAI XXII in Abu Dhabi showed that SAIs are cognizant of the important contributions that they can make towards the successful implementation of the SDGs. Furthermore, they are taking concrete steps to put the commitment of INTOSAI in this regard, as laid down in the Abu Dhabi Declaration, into practice in the upcoming years.

The final highlight of the symposium was the adoption of the conclusions and recommendations by the participants on the last day. These conclusions serve as an important guideline for SAIs concerning "Digitalization, open data and data mining" both for their audit work and also with regard to their contribution to the implementation of the SDGs.

6 June 2017

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