On March 3 Prague is hosting the First International Hackathon* of the European Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (EUROSAI). It will be attended by teams of supreme audit institutions from 25 European countries, including Russia. They will have three days to share best practices and complete tasks in creating software and visual solutions that increase the efficiency of SAIs and streamline the work of state auditors. In addition, some of the tasks pertain to the issues of comparison and collation of audit results from various countries based on different standards.
This is not the first time that the Accounts Chamber participates in hackathons. For instance, last year we hosted our first open hackathon.
‘We are ahead of our colleagues from European SAIs not only in terms of implementing up-to-date working methods like organizing hackathons,’ says Mikhail Petrov, team leader and Director of the Digital Transformation Department of the Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation. 'Russia is significantly ahead of most European countries in terms of digital development, such as openness and availability of government data. Official websites of many agencies at all levels and numerous specialized Federal State Information Systems provide for continuous on-line access to almost all non-classified data on the implementation of state budgets, state corporations, and implementation of national projects.'
However, according to Mikhail Petrov, the European competition will be much harder for the teams: despite their formal status, much data associated with the SAIs of Europe cannot be accessed freely. The teams will have to request them from the SAIs of EUROSAI member states as well as from the European Statistical Office and other European organizations.
The first training session of the team of the Accounts Chamber took place last week. The team has already planned a strategy and tactics for the competition and chosen software instruments and data analytics tools. For further information on the First International Hackathon, follow us on our social media.
* Hackathon is a professional competition between teams of developers of software and data analysis and presentation tools (programmers, data analysts, designers, interface experts, technical writers, etc.) for the best team creating working solutions in an area where digital technologies are used.
**At the INCOSAI XXIII in Moscow, the audit community adopted the Moscow Declaration and agreed to help to promote availability and openness of data, source code and algorithms, as well as the most efficient use of data in their professional activities.
The auditor of the Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation Svetlana Orlova said Russia and China should join forces to solve social problems and consider creating joint social welfare programmes. at the 12th Plenary Session of the China-Russia Friendship Committee for Peace and Development.
«Russia and China, as countries with family traditions, should join forces to preserve and strengthen traditional family values and to provide conditions for active lifestyle of senior citizens. This is a key to development of our countries. We should consider creating joint cooperation projects in the social sphere», Svetlana Orlova said.
According to the auditor, now the key objective of our countries is a poverty alleviation: «We are aimed at meeting the requirements of the Article 11 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which enshrines the right of everyone to an adequate standard of living for himself and his family and to the continuous improvement of living conditions. The experience of China is especially valuable for us in solving this problem as an illustrative example of citizen-oriented development of the country. We welcome plans of China to build a “middle class society” in 2020. This means that there will be no people in China living below the poverty line», Svetlana Orlova noted.
The auditor, for her part, told about Russian experience in solving social problems and poverty reduction. «Next year, under the authority of the president, a new technology of poverty alleviation, a social contract, will be launched in Russia. It covers mutual commitments of a family in return for the state assistance, including an assistant in finding a job, education or setting up your own business. The project is supposed to include more than 9 million people», Svetlana Orlova said.
She also noted that a special focus of poverty reduction is on families with children, «President of Russia proclaimed 2018-2027 the Decade of Childhood. This means that during this period we should not only set the stage for the development and welfare of children, but also achieve step changes to develop a potential of the country», Svetlana Orlova said.
According to the auditor, one of the most effective projects to support families in Russia is a maternity capital programme under which the state supports families, in which a second or a third child or more was born, for the improvement of their living conditions, education of children or a funded pension of the mother. «Maternity capital proves its effectiveness, she added. More than 9.2 million families have received the maternity capital certificate and almost 6 million families with children have already spent their money».
In conclusion, Svetlana Orlova noted that the potential for developing cooperation between Russia and China is not limited by social issues. There are development capacities for bilateral relations in the digital economy and trade and economic cooperation. At the same time, one of the key elements of the state-to-state relations is still the cooperation of audit institutions of the two countries. «In the next three years, the Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation will be chair of the International Organisation of the Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI). The main document of the Congress was the Moscow Declaration. It outlines the promotion of new approaches to audit – development of strategic audit and digital methods. We invite our Chinese colleagues to develop cooperation in these fields», the auditor concluded.
The delegation of the Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation participated in the International Anti-Corruption Conference, held on December 2-3 in Peru.
In the course of the Panel Discussion on the anti-corruption strategy of the UN Agenda 2030, representatives of the control department informed of new practices which would improve the transparency of the government expenditure and public control. The first tools were: the panel to monitor national objectives and the «Public Expenditure» project.
Сonsequently, citizens can almost in real time monitor the expenditure of public funds and implementation of public projects. «Globally, corruption is one of the main obstacles to the achievement of both national objectives and sustainable development goals adopted by the UN», said Olga Terekhina, Deputy Director of the Department for International Relations of the Accounts Chamber of Russia. According to her, working with open data, increasing the transparency of the government and public authorities activity, creating new analytical tools will increase the effectiveness of the public administration system.
Olga Terekhina added that the cooperation of supreme audit institutions and national governments, the implementation of the Moscow Declaration, which was adopted at the Congress of the INTOSAI in September 2019, and closer cooperation with the business community would contribute to the establishment of new methods and tools to oppose and fight corruption.
The Chairman of the Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation Aleksei Kudrin, in his video address to participants of the Conference, said that the use of modern anti-corruption approaches, including risk-oriented approach, legislation improvement and information technology increase credibility of the government.
In his opinion, the focus of the anti-corruption efforts should be shifted to preventive measures that require the cooperative work, close interaction with law enforcement agencies and civil society. «It will be impossible to solve the corruption problem without it», Aleksei Kudrin noted.
Summing up, the representatives of the Accounts Chamber noted that Russia as the chair of the INTOSAI, in cooperation with supreme audit institutions of other countries will proceed with participation in the development, analysis and dissemination of best practices to fight against fraud, corruption and money-laundering. Furthermore, next year the control department will present the results of Russia’s willingness to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals, which has established anti-corruption as a key objective.
Integration associations are becoming a new pole of attraction for countries, and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) can take on the role of one of the centers of development. The Chairman of the Accounts Chamber Aleksei Kudrin shared this opinion at the XIV Annual International Conference “Eurasian Economic Integration”.
He noted that trade is one of the key tools for global integration. In recent years, good exchange in the EAEU countries has grown faster than the global rate of increase. In 2018, mutual trade with Russia grew by 13%. However, now the Head of the Accounts Chamber sees risks in trade and currency wars that slow down the potential of global trade, which will affect the economic growth of the Union countries.
Moreover, according to the Chairman of the Accounts Chamber, the EAEU should increase its integration and mutual trade regardless of what is happening in the world. «Those who pursue a policy of common standards, technical requirements for products, food, and ecology will benefit more. We should understand what markets and standards we are affiliated with or if we take an active part and help to establish these standards», Aleksei Kudrin explained.
Aleksei Kudrin also dwelt on the incentives for the economic growth of the Eurasian Union. First of all, in his opinion, it is necessary to reduce the costs of resident companies of the EAEU. An equally important objective is the development of IT-technologies and digitalization. High-tech solutions are increasingly entering markets and are already setting their standards there.
«We should set a mission of the digital integration, creating joint projects in the field of technology and digital integration,” the head of the Accounts Chamber said. - This will be our driver in the next 5-6 years. According to our estimates, digitalization will provide up to a third of the increase in our performance and GDP in the next 6-10 years».
According to Aleksei Kudrin, until 2025 a common financial market will be formed in the banking and insurance sectors. The securities market will be integrated, and the common oil and gas market will be implemented. Moreover, it is supposed to create a supranational financial regulatory authority. «Of course, it will not take on all the roles of the Central Bank and the Ministry of Finance, but it will create new opportunities and will coordinate more», he said
The Supreme Audit Institutions of Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan held the Summit of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council in Yerevan on the results of the monitoring of compliance with the procedure for crediting and distributing import custom duties and their transferring to the government budgets by the appropriate authorities of the member states of the Eurasian Economic Union in 2018. The auditors Andrei Baturkin and Valery Bogomolov represented Russia at the Summit.
«The completeness and timeliness of budget revenues of the EAEU members from import duties is one of the key issues for the member states of the Eurasian Economic Union. Andrei Baturkin, the auditor of the Accounts Chamber of Russia, noted in his opening speech. In the Russian Federation, in particular, a substantial part of the federal budget is generated from revenues from import and export, including a levy of import customs duties. In 2018, revenues from import custom duties in the Russian Federation amounted to more than RUB 673 billion. RUB 100 billion of them have been distributed between the member states of the Union».
According to the audit, in 2018 the appropriate authorities of the EAEU member states generally ensured compliance with the procedure for distributing import customs duties.
The total amount of import customs duties received by the parties in 2018 amounted to $ 12.3 billion. Compared to 2017, revenues increased by $ 667.3 million, or 5.7%.
In 2018 the problem areas, connecting with the distribution of import customs duties under the new distribution standards, as well as the application of the procedure for crediting and distributing the amounts of import customs duties, by new members of the Union, were eliminated.
However, the member states failed to resolve the controversial situation that has arisen due to non-distribution of import customs duties on goods, imported by organizations-users of subsurface resources by the Republic of Kazakhstan in 2014-2018.
In addition, actions to ensure interaction between the central customs authorities, using the integrated information system of foreign and mutual trade, have not been completed. As it was noted at the meeting, it is necessary to complete measures to introduce national subsystems into the Union’s information system. Russia is ready to take part in testing information interaction from the 4th quarter of this year. «The establishment of an integrated information system of foreign and mutual trade will ensure more transparent and reliable monitoring of the implementation of the mechanism for crediting and distribution of import customs duties», Andrei Baturkin noted.
In accordance with the decision made at the meeting, the report on the audit will be sent to the Government of the Russian Federation, as well as to the Chambers of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation.
The parties also approved an External Audit (Control) Plan in the bodies of the Eurasian Economic Union for 2020.
The SAI of Russia will conduct an audit of the UN special agency for the first time.
At the 18th United Nations Industrial Development Organization General Conference in Abu Dhabi (UAE) the Accounts Chamber of Russia was elected as the next external auditor of UNIDO for the period 2020-2022 by passing other candidates with a significant margin during the voting by member states of the Organization.
«Industry 2030 – Innovate. Connect. Transform our future» is on the agenda this year.
The Accounts Chamber of Russia as the president of INTOSAI supports and shares UNIDO’s efforts in promoting industrial development to achieve SDGs, such as combating poverty, environment protection and others. According to SDG #9 investment in infrastructure and innovation are crucial drivers of the economic growth and development nowadays.
“We are aiming to conduct an independent audit of the Organization and its regional branches using modern tools and approaches that will improve the effectiveness of UNIDO and its important projects and programs,” said Olga Terekhina (Deputy Director of the Department for International Relations of the Accounts Chamber of Russia) while presenting national supreme audit institution at the Conference.
Being the External Auditor of UNIDO the Accounts Chamber of Russia will apply new approaches and take advantage of opportunities to ensure the continued relevance of SAIs as institutions of great value to society.
The final day of the Forum started with the outcomes of the two Plenary Sessions on the two main Themes of the Congress.
'When we first started to work on the Themes, it became clear that they generated a lot of interest in the audit community. Yesterday's Plenary Sessions confirmed that yet again,' Aleksei Kudrin, the INTOSAI Chair, stressed. 'Both Plenary Sessions witnessed a lively discussion. We talked about auditors of the future, the skills they should have. When I followed the discussion, I realised how acutely auditors experienced the problems they tackled in their everyday work, how interested they were to search for and find solutions. It is because we love our work. We want the resources of our countries to be used efficiently, economies to develop, and people to live better.'
The central message of the discussions formed the basis of the final discussion papers on the Themes and the main document of the Congress, the Moscow Declaration, which has been adopted today by a majority vote.
All the delegates stressed the high level of preparation of the declaration, its compliance with the basic principles of supreme audit institutions, namely transparency and independence.
'We wanted the Declaration to be as instrumental as possible, so that it could help every SAI in promoting new methods and instruments,' Aleksei Kudrin, the INTOSAI Chair, said upon presenting the main outcome of the Congress to the delegates.
Also on Friday, Mr Kudrin signed a number of agreements on joint and parallel audits. For example, there will be a joint audit of the Russian-Armenian University together with the SAI of Armenia, and a parallel audit with the SAI of Slovenia with a view to audit the implementation of intergovernmental agreements in the areas of culture, science and education.
Today there has been a meeting between the Chairman of the Accounts Chamber and Klaus-Heiner Lehne, the President of the European Court of Auditors. The parties exchanged opinions on the main issues of the public audit development and outlined the directions for further collaboration; in particular, in 2020 a bilateral seminar is planned on the SAI transformation and knowledge exchange in the area of strategic planning, capacity building, the development of environmental methodology and audit.
The Congress ended with the parallel sessions on SDG implementation audit, on a SAI's role in the fight against corruption, and on gender equality.
Mr Dmitry Zaitsev, the auditor from the Accounts Chamber, took part in the discussion on SDGs. He described the new mission of the Working Group on SDGs and key sustainable development indicators headed by the Accounts Chamber. 'We want to become a platform for knowledge sharing for the INTOSAI members on SDG audit issues, promote projects on practical usage of key sustainable development indicators for their achievement assessment. In Russia we also work towards our national goals and projects. The Accounts Chamber conducts relevant audits, and we want to introduce our best practices into the work of INTOSAI in the area of SDG audit,' he said.
This was the final day of INCOSAI XXIII. The next Congress is taking place in Brazil in 2022.
Today at INCOSAI XXIII, Aleksei Kudrin, the Chairman of the Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation, signed an agreement on intergovernmental agreement implementation audits with the heads of the SAIs of Armenia and Slovenia.
The Accounts Chamber together with the SAI of Armenia is going to audit the activities of the Russian-Armenian University.
As for the SAI of Slovenia, there will be a parallel audit of the implementation of two intergovernmental agreements, on the establishment and fostering an environment for scientific and cultural centers and on the cooperation in the area of culture, science and education. The parties are going to start the audit in December 2019 and conclude it in July 2020.
The main document of INCOSAI XXIII, the Moscow Declaration, has been adopted with the majority of the Congress participants supporting it.
All the delegates stressed the high level of preparation of the key document of the INCOSAI, its compliance with the basic principles of supreme audit institutions, namely transparency and independence.
'We wanted the Declaration to be as instrumental as possible, so that it could help every SAI in promoting new methods and instruments,' Aleksei Kudrin, the INTOSAI Chair, said upon presenting the main outcome of the Congress to the delegates.
The Moscow Declaration is based on the main conclusions of INCOSAI XXIII. It outlines the major directions for the future development of public audit:
- ensuring independent external monitoring of the achievement of goals agreed upon on the national level as well as SDGs;
- efficiently using opportunities offered by technological progress;
- strengthening the role of SAIs’ work with a view to improve transparency and accountability of public administration.
In accordance with the Moscow Declaration supreme audit institutions agreed to adhere to 10 basic principles:
- promoting more efficient, transparent, and informative accountability of the government for its outcomes;
- developing a comprehensive approach to audit for attaining national goals and priorities;
- preparing recommendations for the government on important strategic issues of public administration;
- promoting the principle of accessibility and openness of data, the openness of source code and algorithms;
- employing data analytics in audits;
- advancing the culture of experimental thinking;
- managing systemic risks in public administration;
- training auditors of the future;
- searching for ways to promote inclusiveness;
- establishing efficient collaboration with auditees and broadening the cooperation with the academia and the society as a whole.
Day 4 of INCOSAI became a day of discussions.
It began with a plenary session on one of the main themes of the forum, the role of SAIs in achieving national priorities and goals.
Participants discussed the role of SAIs in the modern world and in achieving national goals, discussed risks and challenges that public audit faced, and what auditor of the future should be like.
Aleksei Kudrin, the Chair of INTOSAI and the Chairman of the Accounts Chamber, opened the session. He pointed out that today supreme audit institutions should primarily act as consultants and partners of the government: 'Today auditors are required to help auditees with recommendations on the basis of comprehensive analysis rather than simply provide evidence-based criticism of failures, and thus be an independent and unbiased consultant that promotes better quality of decision making in public bodies.'
Dmitry Zaitsev, auditor of the Accounts Chamber, described challenges associated with the strategic approach to audit. First of all, this is lack of knowledge and weak mandates of SAIs, methodology and data problems, including the openness of data. 'Audit of complex topics imposes new requirements for the data quality. Today there are more and more data, but it is not always suitable for audit,' Mr Zaitsev stressed.
Basic skills of the auditor of the future became one of the main discussion topics. Quantity analysis, artificial intelligence and big data analytics are among the priorities and meet the needs of the time.
According to the SAI Russia, strategic thinking, knowledge in several scientific areas and communication skills must be the main skills of the auditor today. 'As for consulting, without communication skills, no matter how good your experts are, they will not succeed in building trust in their outcomes,' Mr Zaitsev added.
The second plenary session was dedicated to another INCOSAI theme, "Information technologies in the development of public administration". It was prepared by the SAI China.
"In recent years we have seen that information technologies have influenced all the aspects of life, we witness the exponential growth of big data. Now it is easier for us than ever to measure efficiency of decision making in public governance,' Hu Zejun, the Auditor General of the People's Republic of China, stated upon opening the discussion.
The participants discussed the importance of digital information for the development of public administration, identified the position and role of big data in their activities. They all agreed that it is impossible to conduct high-quality strategic risk-oriented audit without big data analytics.
Summing up the meeting, the Audit General of the People's Republic of China, pointed out that thanks to IT technologies, SAIs could improve the quality of their data, forecasts, and, as a result, enhance the quality of public audit. INTOSAI should become a platform for exchange of best practices and auditor training.
A meeting of the Chairman of the Accounts Chamber with representatives of the SAIs of BRICS member states was among the highlights of Thursday. The parties have adopted a cooperation plan. Joint monitoring and analysis of projects aimed at achieving national priorities and goals, including environmental audit, are among promising areas of cooperation.
Tomorrow is the last day of the Congress. We are waiting for the adoption of the Moscow Declaration.
Transformation is the motto of our times: the world has witnessed the beginning of the fourth industrial revolution, the global digitilization is underway. In order to ensure high quality control over state investments, the audit community should introduce modern technologies, learn to efficiently use their whole toolkit. In the opinion of INTOSAI members, the whole budgetary process will depend on it, and the public sphere itself will become more transparent and open for citizens.
It is not surprising that one of the main themes of INCOSAI XXIII is dedicated to the role of information technologies in the development of public administration. In 2016 it was proposed by the Accounts Chamber for consideration of the audit community. The Working Group is headed by China.
"In recent years we have seen that information technologies have influenced all the aspects of life, we have witnessed the exponential growth of big data. Now it is easier than ever to measure the efficiency of decision-making in public administration. Thanks to social media and Internet connectivity, the public has an easier access to the decision making process. Thus we stregthen transparency and accountability of state regulation. What is more, supreme audit institutions (SAIs) across the world feel the need to increase their accountability, governance efficiency, and monitor the implementation and distribution of responsibilities on the national level and Sustainable Development Goals implementation,' Hu Zejun, the Auditor General of the People's Republic of China, outlined the key questions of the discussion for the participants.
Without big data analytics, it is impossible to conduct high-quality strategic risk-oriented audit. It was for the purposes of identification of potential social challenges that the SAI of Canada used artificial intelligence for the first time. As for big data, auditors work with all sources of information, they consistently use social media.
USA also uses high tech methods on a regular basis for risk identification. American auditors have focused on public procurement and social programmes. Now the SAI of the USA is launching a new working group on science, technological assessments and analytics.
The majority of the auditors who participated in the Congress are certain that big data audit is associated with the implementation of national goals. Almost 67% of those who have participated in the voting can see the connection clearly. They also agree that information and communication technologies make the work of the government more transparent and increase the accountability.
Despite all the benefits, this instrument has not yet become common in the audit toolkit. A little more than one third of the participants of the session admitted that they often used big data in their work. Another 44% have done that occasionally, and 19% of SAI representatives only employ traditional audit methods. However, such results are not surprising. Big data analysis is a new method of thinking and work, and it is still being developed. 'We should admit that an immediate transition from traditional methods of audit to big data analysis is impossible. This is a step-by-step process. Now we are at the stage when we combine both approaches. This is why the INTOSAI Working Group on Big Data decided that we should develop methods and approaches to big data analysis in more detail,' Zhang Haiyan, a representative of the SAI China, said. INTOSAI should become a platform for exchange of best practices and auditor training.
Summing up the meeting, the Audit General of the People's Republic of China, pointed out that thanks to IT technologies, SAIs can improve the quality of their data, forecasts, and, as a result, enhance the quality of public audit. 'Big data is a new way of thinking, this is an important trend in public audit. The practice of SAIs across the world confirms that. Big data will allow to increase efficiency and effectiveness of audit in its various forms and on different levels. The long-term goal of big data is to promote openness, transparency and effectiveness of public administration and to also help us to achieve goals of sustainable development,' Hu Zejun summarised.
The third day of the Congress is over. It was full of important events and special for us as today Aleksei Kudrin, the head of the Accounts Chamber, has assumed the office of the Chair of the International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI). This means that in the next three years the SAI Russia will head one of the biggest international organizations and shape the global audit agenda.
Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation, Sergei Sobyanin, Mayor of Moscow, and representatives from the chambers of the Federal Assembly, congratulated the Accounts Chamber with the chairmanship in INTOSAI.
The key moment of the ceremony was the passing of the INTOSAI symbol to the Russian Federation as Aleksei Kudrin received a wooden gavel from H.E. Harib Saeed Al Amimi, the former President of INTOSAI.
Immediately after the inauguration ceremony, Aleksei Kudrin as the INTOSAI Chair opened the first general plenary session of the Congress. He made a statement before the delegates and described the main priorities of the Accounts Chamber for the period of the INTOSAI Chairmanship, for example continuous dialogue, strategic approach and openness, big data and development of education programmes.
An official ceremony of postal stamp cancellation dedicated to INCOSAI XXIII also took place on Wednesday. The issue of the stamp was 150,000. The stamp was cancelled with a special souvenir date stamp with the date of main event, namely the inauguration of Russia as the Chair of INTOSAI that took place on September, 25, 2019. After the ceremony, Oleg Dukhovnitsky, the head of the Federal Agency of Communication, presented the members of the Presidium with commemorative frames with cancelled stamps.
Discussion panels with external experts organized by the Accounts Chamber within the framework of the Congress are among other highlights of the INCOSAI.
The first panel was dedicated to macroaudit. Aleksei Kudrin, the Chairman of the Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation; Ksenia Yudaeva, the First Deputy Governor of the Bank of Russia; Kenneth Rogoff, economy professor from Harvard; Vinay Patrick Saldanha, Director, Regional Support Team for Eastern Europe and Central Asia (UNAIDS) contributed to the discussion as experts.
The participants discussed global risks and challenges of today's world, talked about what the state should do to make the life of people better and about the role of the auditing community in the changing world.
The second panel session was dedicated to the problem of maintaining sustainable development in the age of Great Disruption. Herman Gref, CEO in Sberbank; Sergei Sobyanin, Mayor of Moscow; Philippe Rogge, Regional Vice President in Microsoft (Central and Eastern Europe); Augusto Lopez-Claros, the Director of the Global Indicators Group in the World Bank (2011-2017) and other high-profile experts participated in the panel.
The participants addressed various questions, for example what the age of Great Disruption was and how we could deliver good performance when the existing standards were being sidelined and new ones had not been developed yet.
Tomorrow the INCOSAI continues its work with panel session on the main Themes of the Congress.
Continuous dialogue, strategic approach and openness, big data and development of education programmes. Aleksei Kudrin named the major pillars for the Accounts Chamber during its chairmanship in INTOSAI.
'We contribute to the development of INTOSAI for the purposes of the creation of a more active environment to discuss new challenges that supreme audit institutions face,' Aleksei Kudrin, INTOSAI Chair, said while opening the first general session of INCOSAI XXIII. 'It is essential to create a pool of best practices that the whole society will use to achieve progress. This fully corresponds to the INTOSAI motto "Mutual experience benefits all".’
Aleksei Kudrin also said that new challenges and objectives that supreme audit institutions face require them to seek continuous improvement: 'If we do not begin to employ new approaches more energetically and intensively, our efficiency and relevance will decrease. We will not be able to fulfill our tasks and meet the expectations of the public.'
This is why comprehensive development of INTOSAI educational environment has been formulated as one of the major tasks under the chairmanship of the Accounts Chamber. 'Our fundamental task is to launch an on-line platform where we could upload training seminars, webinars, electronic libraries and data bases, targeted courses that are relevant for our society as a whole,' Aleksei Kudrin said.
The Accounts Chamber also plans to focus particularly on big data. 'Big data is not a new reality anymore,' Mr Kudrin stressed. 'Taking into account amounts of information today, it is not feasible to process them in the old way. This is why today we all start to make relevant efforts, but we cannot all boast about good preparedness in the area. We are in the beginning of a long journey, but it is all the more important to try new approaches, share knowledge and improve together.'
The establishment of sustainable development goal audit is another essential area that the Accounts Chamber wants to focus on. 'After countries have adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and corresponding international obligations, we cannot consider the achievement of national targets without implementation of the SDGs. This is why in 2019 we decided to transform the INTOSAI Working Group on key national indicators to the Working Group on SDGs and key sustainable development indicators. We are certain that joint efforts will help us to develop a truly high-quality and useful guidance on the sustainable development goals audit for all supreme audit institutions,’ Aleksei Kudrin stated.
The stamp is cancelled during an official ceremony at INCOSAI, on Wednesday. The Federal Agency of Communication traditionally dedicates issues of postage notes to memorable historic anniversaries, outstanding events and major public and political organizations. Certainly, they could not ignore this principal SAI event. The stamp shows the corporate design of the 23rd Congress of the International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions.
‘Without any doubt, this is a crucial event. Both the Federal Agency of Communication and Marka Publishing House could not ignore it. This is a special way for us to celebrate it today. This issue will be sent to post offices across the country, abroad and remind of today's meeting, that Russia is going to be Chair of such a respected audit organization for the next three years,’ Oleg Dukhovnitsky, the Head of the Federal Agency of Communication, said during the official ceremony.
The issue of the stamp was 150,000. The stamp was cancelled with a special souvenir date stamp with the date of the main event, namely the inauguration of Russia as the Chair of INTOSAI that took place on September, 25, 2019.
At the end of the ceremony Mr Dukhovnitsky presented the Presidium members with commemorative frames with the cancelled stamps.
The Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation headed the International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions. It is going to shape the agenda of the international audit community for the next three years. The official inauguration ceremony took place at INCOSAI XXIII, on Wednesday.
Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation, Sergei Sobyanin, Mayor of Moscow, and representatives from the chambers of the Federal Assembly, congratulated the Accounts Chamber with the chairmanship in INTOSAI. ‘I would like to thank all the members of the International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions for the unilateral approval of the Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation as the host of your respected association and today's assembly. We see in this the acknowledgment of the role and professionalism of our Accounts Chamber, appreciation of how the parliament control over the budgetary process is exercised,’ Aleksandr Zhukov, the First Deputy Chairman of the State Duma, said.
The key moment of the ceremony was the passing of the INTOSAI symbol to the Russian Federation, as Aleksei Kudrin received a wooden gavel from H.E. Harib Saeed Al Amimi, the former President of INTOSAI.
‘We see the foundation of our development in the constant dialogue with a view to exchange experiences and best practices. All the aforementioned provides indispensable basis for us. However, today we should focus on the rapidly changing world. We should be ready for the new challenges of our times. The public still expects good performance, reliable reports and unbiased data from us. The relevance of the work of SAIs today is clearly greater than a few decades ago,’ Aleksei Kudrin stated. In his opinion, Russia counts on active engagement with all the members of the organization. ‘I would like to draw your attention to the logo of the Congress. It has been inspired by the works of the great artist, Vasiliy Kandinsky. You see how a complex structure consisting of many elements begins to function as a single mechanism, and the same applies to us, supreme audit institutions, who, united by INTOSAI and faced with new challenges, will be able to find common approaches to continue the efficient work for the benefit of our citizens and the whole international community,’ the new INTOSAI Chair said.
On Wednesday Mr Putin, President of the Russian Federation, visited the Congress of INTOSAI in Manege, Moscow.
‘Russia hosts the main forum of this representative and high-profile institution for the first time. I would like to say at once that for us it is important that our consistent efforts focused on the development of external public audit system were commended by our partners in the international community,’ he said in his welcoming address to the delegates.
Vladimir Putin stressed that more than 600 participants came to Moscow, including SAI leadership from 128 states. ‘We wanted to create conditions for your fruitful, free and meaningful discussion,’ President added.
Vladimir Putin also focused on the support given by the Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation in the analysis of national projects. ‘I support the commitment of the Accounts Chamber leadership to expose, register problems and complete financial audit with a comprehensive analysis of national projects and investment programmes, assessment of how their specific contents, practical measures address the challenges that the whole world faces today, including our own country, Russia: how they work to increase the competitiveness of the whole country and improve the life of, and create new opportunities for every person,’ he said.
What is the age of Great Disruption and how can we deliver good performance when the existing standards are being sidelined and new ones have not been developed yet? Today the participants of the Panel Discussion on “Sustainable development in the age of Great Disruption: what solution can technology and public management tools provide the governments with” tried to address these issues during INCOSAI XXIII.
Leading Russian and world experts took part in the discussion, in particular, Herman Gref, CEO in Sberbank; Sergei Sobyanin, Mayor of Moscow; Philippe Rogge, Regional Vice President in Microsoft (Central and Eastern Europe); Augusto Lopez-Claros, Chief Economist at the World Economic Forum; Robert Saum, Director on Standards, Public Procurement and Financial Management (World Bank).
Mr Sobyanin said that political bravery and stereotype breaking were among the main governance principles in the age of Great Disruption.
‘The main challenge of our times is the pace of change. Those who make decisions faster, adjust to the modern world and introduce the latest technologies are the ones who win in the global competition. This is why, in my opinion, the first thing is to break stereotypes. The second is to be goal-oriented everyday. The third element concerns political bravery necessary to implement what you have planned,’ he said.
Herman Gref's formula includes the introduction of innovations: ‘Despite all 4 industrial revolutions, public administration remains the same, there are too much routine and processes. We are at the threshold of the first revolution in public governance. It is necessary to introduce innovations. Run – agile – disrupt (in equal proportions) is the motto of the first public administration revolution,’ the Sberbank CEO stressed.
Augusto Lopez-Claros put the proactivity principle first: ‘The world has changed in the last 75 years, however, the governance principles have not. We must be proactive. We have to prevent crises, not respond to them,’ he believes.
The development of information technologies is yet another essential principle of the new era mentioned by all the participants.
‘We should review the paradigms, make technologies more democratic and give access to them to ordinary people. There is a need for the development of digital skills, IT ethics. We have a programme "Artificial intelligence for the benefits of the people". Our task is to show that technologies make our lives better,’ Philippe Rogge, Vice President in Microsoft, said.
The role of the auditing community in the changing world was discussed today during a panel discussion on macro audit. The term itself is not universally acknowledged and has been proposed by the Accounts Chamber. ‘This is an intellectual challenge to look at global issues, global economy, and global concerns from a broader perspective, to conduct an express audit of the main trends and risks,’ Aleksei Kudrin said.
The participants said that the global economy now was undergoing serious changes: driver countries, such as China and Germany, had their GDP decreasing, there were risks of deglobalization. ‘It is most likely that in the next 5-10 years the growth rate will be quite low across the world. This cannot be explained only by the demographic trends: technological innovation growth is slowing down, the global GDP is influenced by serious political and macroeconomic factors. What is going on now is the part of the cycle that is not over yet and now every country is in need of comprehensive reforms,’ Kenneth Rogoff, economy professor from Harvard said.
The Chairman of the Accounts Chamber covered global risks and modern challenges in more detail. In his opinion, poverty is the key problem. One quarter of the accumulated global economy growth has been in the possession of 1% of the world population since 1980. At the same time, the least prosperous account only for 12% of the growth. Income inequality results in unequal opportunities. Mr Kudrin also included education and Industry 4.0 in the list of challenges. ”States engage in the digitalization, internet of things, etc. in various formats. In Russia there is an actual national project "Digital economy". However, it is very difficult to assess state policies as well as the quality shifts in the area and in all areas of activities that result from new technologies. Here we need a continuous performance evaluation of the efforts, in particular state efforts,’ he said.
All these problems are monitored by supreme audit institutions. Time is another factor that must be considered. The pace of life today is very fast, and auditors must be quicker than everyone so that important and necessary decisions do not become obsolete and lose their relevance before they are implemented. Here cutting-edge technologies might help them. ‘Modern advanced technologies allow to transform the processes and conduct audits without delays. It frees time and resources for the analysis of how processes and institutes correspond to the goal standards,’ Ksenia Yudaeva, the First Deputy Governor of the Bank of Russia, said.
Finalizing the discussion, Aleksei Kudrin outlined the plans for the INTOSAI Presidency: ‘As the future leader of the organization, I would like to increase the role of analysis, data analysis, evidence-based audit methods in the analysis, data and outcome comparison and strengthen the role of recommendations given by our auditors to their governments. We should be proactive and develop the institutional structure that allows us to achieve real outcomes.’
INCOSAI XXIII is going on, while open discussions about how INTOSAI should evolve were a major highlight of its second day. “We try to make sure that the voice of every participant is heard. Our open discussions will work to put into practice the INTOSAI motto ‘Experientia Mutua Omnibus Prodest’ (Mutual Experience Benefits All),” said Alexei Kudrin, Chairman of the Russian Accounts Chamber.
The open discussions gathered small moderated groups of 10-12 participants to brainstorm around the most disturbing issues in the auditing community. The delegates discussed the role of SAIs in maintaining and strengthening of public trust and talked about what steps should be taken so that INTOSAI could be more efficient and proactive and supreme audit institutions could be even more relevant. The participants agreed that the independence and impartiality of SAIs was crucial in this respect.
The Memorandum of Understanding between the Russian Accounts Chamber and the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) was another Tuesday's highlight. The parties thereby renewed the previously existing Agreement of Cooperation they signed on November 7, 2007. It is primarily intended at promoting audit cooperation and also provides for knowledge and best practices exchange alongside with joint and parallel audits by SAIs of the two countries. “We have already had some experience in cooperating with each other. We’ve made a contribution to the Arctic Environmental Impact Assessment and now we have other issues on the table, including bilateral parallel audits, which would help us scrutinize government support practices in our countries to further compare our experiences,” Alexei Kudrin said after the signing.
On Tuesday, Alexei Kudrin held bilateral meetings with his vis-à-vis from Korea, Cuba, Laos, and Bahrain.
The INTOSAI Governing Board concluded its work and took stock of the progress made by INTOSAI key committees and regional organizations (such as ASOSAI, ARABOSAI, AFROSAI, EUROSAI, etc.). Now we can finally say that INCOSAI preparations are completed and everyone is ready to begin substantive work, including the inauguration of the new INTOSAI President and the opening of the First General Plenary Session.
The INTOSAI Congress held open discussions of small moderated groups of 10-12 participants who were brainstorming around issues of public audit. “We try to make sure that the voice of every participant is heard. Our open discussions will work to put into practice the INTOSAI motto ‘Experientia Mutua Omnibus Prodest’ (Mutual Experience Benefits All),” said Alexei Kudrin, Chairman of the Russian Accounts Chamber.
“From the moment I assumed the post of the Chairman of the Accounts Chamber, we’ve made this possible for our employees, too. The Accounts Chamber has held three strategy sessions of the same format this year,” he added.
The delegates discussed the role of SAIs in maintaining and strengthening of public trust and talked about what steps should be taken so that INTOSAI could be more efficient and proactive and supreme audit institutions could be even more relevant. The participants agreed that the independence and impartiality of SAIs was crucial in this respect.
Outcomes of the open discussions will be highlighted in the Chairman’s INCOSAI talk.
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