Congresses and Conferences


International Journal of Government Auditing–January 2013

2012 OLACEFS General Assembly Held in Brazil

The Organization of Latin American and Caribbean Supreme Audit Entities (OLACEFS) held its in 22nd General Assembly in Gramado, in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, November 5–10, 2012. The assembly was hosted by the Brazilian Court of Audit (TCU) with attendees from Argentina, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, Uruguay, and Venezuela. Guests and observers included representatives from the SAIs of Portugal and Spain, the INTOSAI Development Initiative (IDI), the Inter- American Development Bank (IADB), the European Court of Auditors (ECA), the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development, local auditors from Brazil, and this Journal.

Opening Ceremony

The meeting was officially opened with a speech by Brazil's Vice President, Michel Temer, who welcomed the delegates and spoke of the key role SAIs have in promoting accountability in the region. The Brazilian Court of Audit's President, Benjamin Zymler, also spoke, thanking the delegates for joining TCU in celebrating its 122nd anniversary, making it Brazil's second oldest public agency. Carlos Pólit Faggioni, Comptroller General of Ecuador, the current OLACEFS president who presided over the meetings, emphasized the importance of SAIs in promoting a culture of transparency in OLACEFS member nations.

Participants in the OLACEFS General Assembly held in Brazil in November 2012.
Participants in the OLACEFS General Assembly held in Brazil in November 2012.

Technical Presentations

The assembly featured presentations on the following topics:

  • Coordinated audits as a method for building SAI capacity. This was a theme that resonated throughout the sessions, highlighting the importance of collaborative efforts across institutions and nations.
  • Country-specific examples of how SAIs have analyzed social subsidies as a poverty reduction mechanism, with case examples and a call for further analysis of this issue and related outcomes.
  • Sessions on implementing institutional diagnostics, ensuring quality in internal processes, and utilizing knowledge management tools available on the OLACEFS web portal. There were several panel discussions regarding the benefits of peer reviews to SAIs and a method to disseminate best practices.
  • Applying the ISSAIs, with a focus on creating a working group to better understand and implement these standards by identifying gaps in audit procedures and working with IDI and INTOSAI's Professional Standards Committee.
  • Results of the OLACEFS gender seminar and the "Declaration of Santo Domingo," which calls for increasing the presence of women in the process of overseeing public expenditures.
  • IADB support in the amount of US$60 million to support enhanced regional institutional and professional capacity focused on audit processes, strategic planning, information technology, performance audits, citizen participation, internal controls, and operations with subnational entities. The assistance will take the form of loans, technical cooperation, and knowledge tools. The IADB representative noted that regional diagnoses have been done for 19 audit institutions in 8 countries in the OLACEFS region, with 8 more expected to be completed in 2013.
  • IDI initiatives and the progress of the Steering Committee of INTOSAI-Donor Cooperation as well as the 3i program to implementing the ISSAIs. The latter will include tools and certification programs; virtual courses; and workshops for financial, performance, and compliance audits. The IDI Director General emphasized that INTOSAI is encouraging SAIs to become more focused on being resource providers and exchanging information.
  • The ECA discussed auditing supranational organizations and explained its traditional audit work as well as the opinions it issues when acting as a consulting body.
  • The Spanish Court of Accounts representative discussed guidelines it has developed along with that SAI's experience rendering accounts in local entities.

Other Activities

Throughout the conference proceedings, the Brazilian Court of Audit and its staff treated participants with generous hospitality. Highlights were visits to nearby communities where participants enjoyed song and dance presentations by local heritage groups, a commemorative dinner at a local park with a gaucho theme related to regional history, several Christmas-themed performances in the evenings that are a "signature" of Gramado, and the opening dinner and closing lunch at the conference site.

Looking Ahead

The General Assembly elected the Brazilian Court of Audit to preside over OLACEFS from 2013–2015 and Minister Augusto Nardes, the Vice President of the TCU, to take office as president on January 2, 2013. The next General Assembly is scheduled to be held in Chile.

Information and papers from the assembly will be available at the OLACEFS website: http://www.olacefs.com.