International Journal of Auditing – July 2007
In October 2004, INTOSAI members had the pleasure of meeting in the beautiful city of Budapest for the 18th INCOSAI (International Congress of Supreme Audit Institutions). During the 53rd meeting of the INTOSAI Governing Board, the SAI of Mexico—honoring the commitment it had made—issued an official invitation for the 55th meeting of the Governing Board to be held in Mexico in November 2006 and for the 19th INCOSAI to be held in Mexico City, November 5-10, 2007. The commitment also includes hosting the 56th and 57th meetings of the Governing Board, which will take place before and after the congress. The events will be held in Mexico City, formerly Tenochtitlán, the capital of the Aztec Empire, and today the capital of our country.
As the members of our organization that have hosted INTOSAI’s supreme event can testify, this responsibility—which we have freely assumed—involves a considerable financial, logistical, technical, and administrative effort. It is also a great honor for the SAI of Mexico and constitutes a commitment to all INTOSAI members.
The preparations required to organize this type of congress involve many months of hard work to carry out its planning, design, and operations. The results of these efforts are concentrated into a period of 6 days during which the host SAI’s organizational skills and ability to respond are put to the test. Many details must be taken into account, many unexpected situations may arise, and many technical and administrative problems must be dealt with. The climate may cause adverse conditions that need to be resolved in situ. In all these circumstances, two elements are essential: foreseeing potential issues and having the capacity to respond to them.
Holding a Governing Board meeting or a congress requires the participation of all INTOSAI members. Their collaboration on the various committees, subcommittees, working groups, and task forces gives our organization its life and purpose. The INTOSAI motto (Mutual Experience Benefits All) has been wisely chosen: the raison d’être of this international institution to which we are proud to belong is the exchange of experiences and knowledge in order to strengthen the organization’s members.
For this reason, I invite all INTOSAI members to join in our common effort and contribute their experience, presence, and participation to enrich the formidable body of knowledge that we have decided to create among ourselves. Our ultimate purpose is to be able to better serve the societies that have entrusted us with the important task of auditing the use of public resources.
It does not matter whether the members are experienced or newly created SAIs or SAIs undergoing a process of transformation; whether they are chambers, courts of audit, audit councils, or comptroller or audit general offices. Nor do the differences in governmental traditions, administrative practices, degrees of independence, and scope of the legal or constitutional mandate matter. Each SAI brings a unique contribution to this common task, for the principal wealth of the INTOSAI lies precisely in the diversity of its membership. It will be the responsibility of the Mexican SAI to provide the right environment for an open, respectful, free, and democratic exchange of ideas and contributions.
The growing importance of online communications is a sign of the times. For this reason, we have tried to take maximum advantage of tools such as the Internet to streamline the dissemination of information relating to the congress. Please visit our Web site for the 19th INCOSAI at www.incosai2007.org.mx, where you will find up-to-date details on the program of events, cultural and social activities, administrative and logistical matters, and other items of general interest.
Obviously, the congress reflects a financial and administrative cost not only for the host SAI but also for all the delegates, who must devote time, work, resources, and efforts to ensure that their participation is effective. Consequently, we are committed to (1) ensuring that the technical discussions form the core of the congress and (2) obtaining results that will have a real impact on our auditing work and lead to tangible improvements in our practices to benefit the citizens of our respective countries.
For this congress, the technical subjects to be covered come under the two broad areas into which the work of an SAI can be divided: the proper use of resources and the promotion of best government practices. The first area will be covered in theme I—management, accountability, and audit of public debt—which the Federal Court of Audit of Germany is coordinating, and the second, in theme II—performance assessment systems based on universally accepted key indicators—which the U.S. Government Accountability Office is coordinating.
Society has a legitimate concern about the use of resources obtained by public sector borrowing, and SAIs can help to allay this concern through their auditing duties. The work of SAIs must also propose parameters for objectively assessing government performance to detect areas of opportunity and to apply the necessary corrective measures. Since both subjects reflect situations common to our work, they are of interest to the whole INTOSAI membership. This has been confirmed by the widespread response we have seen in the country papers sent in by colleagues from around the world.
The technical side of the congress will not be restricted to the two themes mentioned above: various committees, working groups, and task forces will report to delegates on the results of their work. We will also be distributing an important document on the nature of auditing practice and its relationship to auditing institutions.
The congress will provide an invaluable opportunity for personal, face-to-face contact with members of SAIs from all over the world. Conversations in the lobby, participation in cultural and social events, and private meetings between heads of SAIs can often lead to informal agreements, answers to questions, opportunities to define joint projects, and a greater awareness in general of our own concerns and needs as we see them through the concerns and needs of others. These personal interactions will reinforce relationships between institutions.
The SAI of Mexico also sees this congress as an opportunity to introduce visitors to our country’s culture, traditions, and vision for the future. We are proud of our past, responsible for the present, and focused on moving toward a better future. It is our desire that those who visit our capital city for the first time, as well as those who have been here before, take away a positive impression of our country. The aim of the official and cultural events organized for congress delegates and accompanying persons is to ensure not only good technical results but also a very enjoyable time in Mexico.
Only a few months remain before our congress in November, and much is still to be done. Personally and on behalf of the SAI of Mexico, I extend a cordial invitation to all INTOSAI colleagues to attend the 19th INCOSAI in Mexico City. We look forward to seeing you then.
Mr. Arturo González de Aragón
Auditor General of Mexico and First Vice Chairman of the INTOSAI Governing Board