ASOSAI Assembly Focuses on Environmental Auditing, Sustainability
A memorable cultural performance officially opened the 2018 Asian Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (ASOSAI) Assembly in Hanoi, Vietnam, hosted by the State Audit Office of Vietnam (SAV), the nation’s Supreme Audit Institution (SAI).
Dr. Ho Duc Phoc, SAV Auditor General (AG) and incoming ASOSAI chair, welcomed delegates and expressed honor at being able to provide a forum for sharing experiences and strengthening solidarity and capacity to better develop public auditing in the country, the region and the world.
“Energy and tenacity can build great things,” affirmed Dr. Madinah Binti Mohamad, Malaysia’s AG and outgoing ASOSAI chair. Dr. Mohamad added that the event allowed participants to deliberate with one another, learn from each other and reinforce the value of SAIs. She emphasized the tremendous contributions that ASOSAI has made and stressed that new priorities need to be established to adapt to an ever-changing audit landscape.
Dr. Harib Saeed Al Amimi, Chairman of the International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI) and President, SAI United Arab Emirates, noted ASOSAI is more relevant today than ever through its networking and capacity development initiatives, and added, “I look to my ASOSAI colleagues for inspiration.”
Inspiring truly characterized the assembly, which included nearly 250 delegates from 46 nations and international organizations who participated in this event that occurs once every three years—an event that, according to Vietnam’s National Assembly Chairwoman, Ms. Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan, helps strengthen national cooperation.
The agenda included numerous updates from the ASOSAI General Secretariat (GS) and various ASOSAI and INTOSAI groups along with dedicated discussions highlighting “Environmental Auditing for Sustainable Development,” the theme behind the assembly’s symposium.
Mr. Jaehyeong Choe, AG, SAI Korea, and outgoing GS, commended the region’s spirit of commitment and called the symposium a valuable opportunity—one bearing great significance in discussing the role of SAIs in national Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) implementation follow-up and review.
Ms. Archana Shirsat, Deputy Director General, INTOSAI Development Initiative (IDI), gave a thought-provoking presentation on the SDGs—why they matter and how SAIs can contribute.
Her presentation, which highlighted the importance of the whole-of-government approach and inclusiveness, led the assembly into a special reporting session, where numerous SAIs shared ideas, lessons learned and best practices related to environmental auditing and demonstrated how SAIs can contribute to national SDG efforts.
“Strategic SAI roles are important to contributing to and achieving the SDGs,” noted Mr. Ramu Prasad Dotel, Deputy Auditor General (DAG), SAI Nepal.
Mr. Dotel said SAI Nepal has recently selected audit subjects it believes will contribute to national sustainable development, and, through implemented recommendations, improved economy, efficiency, effectiveness and sustainability can be realized.
Mr. Nguyen Quang Thanh, SAI Vietnam, emphasized the importance to “think globally and act locally” and proposed strengthening cooperation, cultivating capacity and increasing knowledge sharing as essential mechanisms.
Certainly, developing a more robust knowledge base has led to new idea generation in the sustainable development arena. Mr. Li Feng, representing incoming ASOSAI chair, the National Audit Office of the People’s Republic of China (CNAO), explained how these new concepts—relationship between ecology and public etiquette; interaction of economic development with environmental protection; and determining the ecosystem’s value—are beneficial to environmental auditing and SDG realization.
At the onset of the final day’s activities, assembly participants gathered for a moment of silence for Vietnam’s President, Mr. Tran Dai Quang, who passed away September 21, 2018. Several delegates had the distinct honor of meeting the Vietnamese President as part of the ASOSAI event’s agenda.
Elections were also held to fill the region’s 2018 Governing Board (GB) and Audit Committee (AC) slots. The following SAIs were voted in as 2018-2021 ASOSAI GB members: Bangladesh, Indonesia, Kuwait, Nepal and Russia, and, after several rounds of voting, the SAIs of Kazakhstan and Turkey were confirmed to fill the 2018-2021 ASOSAI AC vacancies.
Dr. Doan Xuan Tien, DAG SAI Vietnam, summarized the symposium, “Political, economic and social conditions, as well as approaches to environmental auditing, vary, and environmental conditions threaten global development. SAIs are now more aware of organizational roles and missions when it comes to national sustainable development.”
As the event came to a close, key decisions were announced, including SAI Palestine’s inclusion into ASOSAI. The Assembly also approved the SAIs of China, India and Malaysia as ASOSAI training centers and unanimously adopted the Hanoi Declaration.
The declaration, online at http://asosai.org, is an important official document that conveys the preeminent ASOSAI Assembly messages and shared interests, particularly those of environmental auditing and SDG achievement.
The 2021 ASOSAI Assembly, the region’s 25th, will be hosted by SAI Thailand.