International Journal of Government Auditing – July 2012
The need for an environmental audit training course for auditors, especially those undertaking environmental audits for the first time, has emerged repeatedly at several WGEA forums. Also, triennial environmental audit surveys of SAIs conducted by the WGEA have pointed out the need for such courses. In response, the WGEA, in partnership with the SAI of India, has decided to set up the International Center for Environmental Audit and Sustainable Development (iCED), a global training facility for environmental auditing to be located at Jaipur, approximately 250 kilometers from New Delhi, the capital of India. The first training is expected to take place in 2013.
The iCED will be extensive, spreading over 16 acres of land and offering state-of-the-art training facilities and a hostel. It will also provide training in environmental auditing for auditors in India. The training facilities will include two training halls, each for 75 people, and two meeting rooms, each for 35 people. The hostel facilities comprise more than 80 guest rooms, including those for the faculty. The iCED facility in Jaipur was also conceived as a green building and a host of features have been incorporated in the design and construction to reduce the building’s carbon footprint.
In many SAIs, environmental audits are conducted by auditors with good auditing competence and background but with little experience in environmental issues. Keeping this consideration in mind, the WGEA/iCED environmental audit course is designed to provide knowledge for working on environmental issues such as recognizing environmental problems, selecting relevant audit topics, identifying suitable criteria and audit methodology, as well as making meaningful recommendations. It also aims to provide hands-on training on these issues so that auditors trained here can replicate the processes learned during the course back at their home institutions.
The course has three modules: introduction to environmental auditing, auditing the environment and sustainable development, and adapting the learning to issues in auditors’ countries. The first module aims to clarify the concepts of environmental auditing and sustainable development, including special features of environmental audit. The participants will get an overview of the development of national and global regulations and different practices in environmental governance, such as the various institutional systems and financial instruments for environmental protection. The objective of the second module is to increase the participants’ knowledge of selected basic processes/phenomena in the environment and human impacts on them (for example, water, waste, biodiversity, and climate change). Along with the sessions on environmental topics, the lectures and exercises will cover each step in the audit cycle. The last module wraps up the key points for conducting an audit focused on environmental problems with an emphasis on the selection of topics for environmental auditing. Based on the knowledge acquired during the course, the participants will work individually under the guidance of experts to identify key development needs in environmental auditing at their home SAIs and prepare a presentation on introducing good practice in environmental auditing there. Feedback is to be collected from the participants to fine-tune the course and to help with any issues that the auditors might encounter in their countries.
For additional information, contact the author at prasadN@cag.gov.in.