From the 9th to the 11th of May, 2023, ACAG/PASAI RWGEA (Regional Working Group on Environmental Audits) held its 11th meeting in Sydney, Australia delivered in partnership with the Office of the Auditor-General New Zealand (OAGNZ) and the Pacific Association of Supreme Audit Institutions (PASAI). The hybrid event included participants from across the Australian Council of Auditors-General (ACAG) and PASAI offices.

Themes from the INTOSAI Working Group on Environmental Auditing Work Plan 2023–25 on climate, biodiversity and the green economy were discussed during the meeting. The 3-day meeting provided a range of opportunities for audit practitioners from different jurisdiction to network and share experiences. The event includes training, expert speakers and audit planning workshops, as well as an opportunity to learn about, and the potential to participate in the upcoming two global climate change cooperative audits projects.

The Samoa Audit Office's Manager for Performance and Environmental Audits, Ms. Frances Lipine Iosefo, participated in this meeting as the representative of the Samoa SAI. 

This 11th meeting was conducted by ACAG/PASAI RWGEA and hosted by the Audit Office of New South Wales. SAI Samoa was among the twenty two participants from 15 audit offices/ SAIs attended the May 2023 meeting, as well as representatives from the PASAI and INTOSAI WGEA secretariats. Members from other SAIs were given an opportunity to present a brief background about the environmental and climate-adaptation related programs and activities happening in their jurisdiction. As per IDI three main concepts should be consider during the scoping of audits that includes; Accountability, Effectiveness, and Inclusiveness.

The main academic learning points from this meeting includes:

  • The essence of sustaining our natural environment and the importance of auditing of environmental issues and climate change risks in the Pacific.
  • An update on the status of the implementations of sustainable development goals per jurisdiction presented by Dr. Vivid Niemenmaa, Secretary-General of the International Working Group on Environmental Auditing.
  • The significant of policy coherence for sustainable development goals
  • The climate risks and impacts in the Pacific
  • Importance of climate risk disclosure and sustainability reporting
  • The scoping and planning of climate adaptation-related audits, and mapping to the IDI’s thematic framework
  • Embedding indigenous knowledge to inform auditing related to climate and biodiversity

Relevant audit experiences were shared among SAIs and building work relationship with other colleagues via networking.

 The main takeaway from this meeting was the Climate Scanner project that was initiated by SAI Brazil, and it is basically an application tool which all SAIs in different jurisdictions could use for the collection, assessment and communication of their respective governments’ climate actions. The Climate Scanner project was officially launched during XXIV INCOSAI at Rio in 2022. The project is currently progressing well, and it’s now on the designing phase and will be execute in 2024. The objectives of the Climate Scanner application include the following:

  • Assess national governments’ climate action
  • Consolidate data in a global overview
  • Support decision for future works
  • Communicate relevant information
  • Share knowledge and experience
  • Contribute to INTOSAI’s global voice

This would surely enhance our audit planning and scoping of environmental audits, encourage the engagement of our SAI to do more performance audits on different subject matters, in particular with environmental and climate change related topics. SAI Samoa can also enhance the reporting of environmental audits conducted in our SAI Utilize the IDI ISAM in our SAI as one of the audit methodologies on the auditing of the implementation of SDGs in Samoa.

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