Inside INTOSAI

International Journal of Government Auditing – January 2004

Governing Board Convenes, INTOSAI Celebrates 50th Anniversary in Budapest

Special Program Honors 50th Anniversary

From October 13-15, 2003, INTOSAI’s 50th anniversary was highlighted at the Governing Board’s 2-day business meeting and special 1-day commemorative program in Budapest. Following the Board meeting, SAI heads from 15 other national audit offices joined the 18-member Board for a program that included technical and ceremonial sessions tracing the organization’s history and accomplishments since it was founded in Havana, Cuba, in 1953. The technical session included welcoming remarks from the chairman of the INTOSAI Board, Dr. Ock-Sup Noh of the Republic of Korea, followed by a lecture on the interpretation of the Lima Declaration by Dr. Attila Chikán, Rector of Budapest University. A presentation on the independence of SAIs by Secretary General Franz Fiedler focused on this most critical aspect of supreme audit institutions, and Dr. Arturo González de Aragón, Auditor General of Mexico, concluded the technical session with a presentation on the benefits of INTOSAI to SAIs.

Auditors general, staff, and accompanying persons from over 35 countries
Auditors general, staff, and accompanying persons from over 35 countries gather on the steps of the Hungarian Parliament building in Budapest as part of INTOSAI’s 50th anniversary celebration.

The ceremonial session was conducted in the main chamber of the Hungarian Parliament. This part of the anniversary program featured welcoming remarks from Dr. Arpad Kovacs, President of the Hungarian State Audit Office and host of the program, and a speech on the relationship between SAIs and the parliament by Dr. Ferenc Wekler, Speaker of the Hungarian Parliament. The session concluded with a comprehensive speech on the history of INTOSAI by Secretary General Fiedler, followed by a reception in the elegant Parliament reception rooms.

Dr. Arpad Kovacs, President of the Hungarian State Audit Office
Dr. Arpad Kovacs, President of the Hungarian State Audit Office, officially opens the 50th anniversary ceremony in the main chamber of the Hungarian Parliament.

A special 50th anniversary publication is being produced jointly by this Journal and the General Secretariat. It will include the full text and photographs of these proceedings, as well as additional historical information about INTOSAI and its many programs. The publication will be issued in each of INTOSAI’s five official languages (Arabic, English, French, German, and Spanish) and distributed at the INTOSAI Congress in Budapest in October 2004.

Board Focuses on Strategic Plan

At its business meeting on October 13-14, 2003, the Board dedicated a significant amount of time to discussions and debate on the report of its Strategic Planning Task Force. Mr. David M. Walker, Comptroller General of the United States and Task Force chairman, reported on the Task Force’s work since the Board’s 2002 meeting and presented the proposed plan, which covers goals related to professional standards, capacity-building, knowledge-sharing, and related governance issues. A lively and engaging discussion ensued with Board members and observers alike debating and contributing to the dialogue. There was broad-based support for the plan, and the Board approved a resolution adopting the Task Force’s report, including the following points:

1. The Board endorsed the Strategic Planning Task Force’s three proposed strategic goals and key related principles (see the following exhibit).

2. The Board endorsed the Strategic Planning Task Force’s plan to consider comments
received at the Board meeting—and other comments that were to be received by November 15, 2003—for inclusion in a revised proposed plan, including any related to governance issues and amendments to the Statutes. The Task Force will solicit comments from the regional working group general secretariats in connection with any proposed changes to the Statutes.

3. The Board endorsed the Strategic Planning Task Force’s proposed process and timeline, including consideration of a final proposed strategic plan and any related amendments to the Statutes at the 2004 Congress in Budapest.

Figure 1: INTOSAI Strategic Plan Overview as Modified in December 2003
INTOSAI Strategic Plan Overview as Modified in December 2003

The Task Force subsequently met in Washington, D.C., December 1–2, 2003, to further develop the plan and to address and incorporate the comments received from INTOSAI members before and after the Board meeting. At that meeting, the Task Force proposed a new goal (strategic goal 4—model international organization) based in large part on a recommendation made by Portugal at the October 2003 Board meeting. This goal includes a number of recommendations to help ensure the successful achievement of the plan’s three other strategic goals.

As this issue of the Journal goes to press, the proposed plan has been sent to the Board for authorization to send it to all 185 INTOSAI members for their review and comment. In his letter to Board members, Mr. Walker wrote on behalf of the Task Force, “As Chairman of the Strategic Planning Task Force, I believe that this first-ever strategic plan for INTOSAI will be instrumental in guiding an already successful international organization toward becoming a model international organization for the future. The Task Force looks forward to continuing to work with the Governing Board on this important initiative.”

Members of the INTOSAI Board’s Strategic Planning Task Force
Members of the INTOSAI Board’s Strategic Planning Task Force take a break from their deliberations at their December 2003 meeting in Washington, D.C., to pose for a photo.

A special Board meeting will be convened in Vienna, Austria, June 21-22, 2004, to review and approve the plan that ultimately will be presented for approval by INTOSAI’s members at the Triennial Congress in Budapest in October 2004.

Other Business

The Board heard a number of reports from committees, working groups, and the General Secretariat and made the following decisions:

  • On the recommendation of the General Secretariat, amended the Statutes related to a change in the Law on Associations of the Republic of Austria.
  • Accepted the auditor’s annual report and unqualified opinion on INTOSAI’s financial statements.
  • Accepted the report and work program of the newly created Task Force on Anti-Money Laundering.
  • Accepted the reports of INTOSAI’s eight committees and working groups, this Journal, and IDI.
  • Noted that five new members of the Board will be elected at the 2004 Congress to replace five current members, whose terms come to an end at the Congress.
  • Noted that the 17th UN/INTOSAI seminar, on the subject of SAI independence, will be held in Vienna, Austria, April 19-23, 2004.
  • Accepted reports on the preparations for the 18th INCOSAI and appointed the following theme rapporteurs: Theme I (United Kingdom, Bhutan, Austria, Mexico, South Africa, Czech Republic, Cuba, and Ghana) and Theme II (Canada, Tunisia, Switzerland, Fiji, Peru, New Zealand, Cameroon, and Burkina Faso).
  • Accepted the report of the host of the19th INCOSAI (Mexico, 2007) on preliminary preparations for that Congress.

For more information on the Board meeting or for copies of reports tabled at the meeting, contact the General Secretariat at intosai@rechnungshof.gv.at or the meeting host at incosai2004@asz.hu

Regional Course in Public Debt Auditing in OLACEFS

As reported in earlier issues of the Journal, the INTOSAI Public Debt Committee has been working together with IDI and OLACEFS to develop and deliver a pilot program to enhance the way that SAIs manage their auditing of public debt. The first regional public debt auditing training course was delivered to 24 OLACEFS auditors in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia, from October 27-November 7, 2003. Participants included auditors from 10 SAIs—Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, and Venezuela. The course instructors had been participants in the 5-week “champions” workshop held in Mexico in April and May 2003. A second course is planned for the SAIs of Central America in 2004. Also, the instructors will support the SAI of Venezuela in a pilot debt audit planned for early 2004.