International experience shows that the Supreme Audit Institution (SAI) plays an important role in assessing the Government's prepareness to achieve the SDGs. Therefore, it is neccesary for the SAV to focus on studying, developing the outline and audit plan for the audit of this area.
SAIs play an important role in monitoring the progress of SDGs
The Government's preparation in implementing SDGs are audited by all SAIs
The 2017-2022 Strategic Plan of the International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI) identified the evaluation of the Government's prepareness to implement SDGs as one of four approaches to help SAI contribute to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for the sustainable development of each country. This is the Program adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015.
This approach has been actively researched by SAIs. They have developed implementation plan and carried out pilot audits. The audit results have shown many limitations of the Government in the prepareness that may affect the progress of achieving SDGs according to the plan. At the same time, the audit reports are also widely shared for the purpose of learning, exchanging experiences among SAIs and being the basis for INTOSAI to continue finalizing and issuing official audit guidelines.
In 2017, SAI of Indonesia conducted an audit on the theme "Auditing the Government's preparess towards the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development". The audit aims to evaluate the effectiveness of Government efforts in maintaining and securing the necessary resources, and at the same time establishing a mechanism to monitor, evaluate and report the progress of the UN Agenda 2030. The audit plan is built on the basis of combining the 7-step audit methodology of Court of Audit of the Netherlands, European Court of Autor and the IDI Guidelines, including 3 key audit questions, 12 primary audit criteria and 47 secondary audit criteria to evaluate in 3 aspects including policy formulation, implementation and monitoring.
Unlike SAI of Indonesia, which defines the wide range of audits of all ministries, departments and agencies, in 2018, Canadian Auditor General Office focused on the prepareness at only 7 major focal agencies of the Federation together with examining whether the current policies and laws system had been supporting the implementation of the economic, social and environmental pillars of the UN 2030 Agenda.
In 2017, Court of Audit of Austria selected to conduct a comprehensive audit at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Resources; Ministry of Transport, Innovation and Technology in order to assess the legal framework conditions for SDGs; responsibilities of the Federal Government and coordination among its attached agencies as well as SDGs monitoring, reporting and impact evaluation systems. Meanwhile, SAI of India, in 2019 focused on the prepareness at the local government level when conducting audits in 7 affiliated states and choosing the SDG No. 3 - Good health and a happy life - for a more thorough assessment of the prepareness.
Thus, although the scope and extent of audits vary among countries, in general, SAIs are all looking towards the evaluation of the prepareness of each Government in the development of mechanisms, policies, action plan, implementation resources and systems for statistics, monitoring and reporting. Some audits show the limitations that countries often encounter such as the tasks and effective cooperation among units are not clearly assigned, there is no monitoring and evaluation department or no final programs and action plans for SDGs at national and local level, etc. According to SAIs, these limitations may negatively affect the implementation progress of the UN Agenda 2030.
Promoting the audit of the prepareness for the UN 2030 Agenda implementation in Vietnam
Learning from international experience, SAV should soon organize a thematic audit related to the Government's prepareness in implementing the UN 2030 Agenda. This is a practical action for SAV to contribute to the implementation of the Government's SDGs, thereby enhancing its role and position in the international arena. In order to do this, the SAV should focus on the following issues:
i) Assigning the focal unit to take the lead, especially those which have the division for performance, environmental, IT audit, to develop the SDGs Audit Scheme on the basis of the study, application of international experience to the context of SAV; formulating the coordination regulation among specialized audit departments and regional audit offices auditors in the audit implementation and audit results incorporation; considering the set-up of a working group on audit of SDGs to welk implement the advisory work.
ii) Based on the audit outline, developing a separate strategic plan for the audit of the implementation of SDGs, in which it is necessary to select audit topics, objectives, content and audit entities to be integrated into the Annual Audit Plan.
iii) Promoting contents related to propaganda, training, retraining and updating knowledge regularly and continuously for the auditing teams. At the same time, strengthening cooperation among SAIs through knowledge sharing, capacity development within INTOSAI and ASOSAI; organizing cooperative audits on issues related to SDGs.
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