The Audit Office of the Republic of Cyprus hosted a kick-off meeting in Nicosia, Cyprus, to launch a cooperative audit on marine protected areas in the region.
The cooperative audit aims to identify and evaluate actions taken by governments of Mediterranean countries and Portugal to protect marine biodiversity through the designation and proper management of marine protected areas, as well as provide common conclusions and recommendations.
Members of the European Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (EUROSAI) Working Group on Environmental Auditing will perform the audit, which is co-led by the Supreme Audit Institutions (SAIs) of Cyprus and Malta. The SAIs of Albania, Greece and Portugal will participate, along with joint report contributions from the SAI of Slovenia.
During the initial meeting, discussions centered on audit scope, audit questions and criteria to be used, as well as a time frame and milestones for audit completion.
To collect and assess comparable information on national governments’ actions, the partner SAIs have agreed on a common framework of audit issues and corresponding audit questions to be addressed in the national audits. The SAIs identified five major topics to assess governments’ actions regarding marine biodiversity protection: national strategies, designation of marine protected areas, design of management plans, implementation and monitoring and feedback.
Participating SAIs are currently performing national audits, which are expected to conclude by the end of 2017. According to the agreed time frame, the joint report should be issued early in 2018.