As stated in the Declaration of Lima, the compliance of the Supreme Audit Institutions (SAI) functions is improved by the exchange of experiences inside the International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI). There are many ways of exchanging experiences between SAIs, cooperative audits among them, which constitute learning tools through the practice of audit in areas of common interest for two or more SAIs. In this context, SAIs of INTOSAI Regional Groups as EUROSAI, OLACEFS, PASAI, etc. have experience in topics of environment, infrastructure, governance, public finance, social projects, information technologies, etc.
According to the draft ISSAI 5800: Guidelines on Cooperative Audits, cooperative audits enable the development and strengthening of auditors knowledge. When conducted, SAIs can enhance their working methodologies and, at the same time, learn new methods, technical terminology and avoid systemic errors detected by other SAIs.
Aware of the positive experiences of Cooperative Audits in the regions as well as their potential to approach SAIs to address issues of common interest, it is possible to consider them as tools for evaluating concerning topics for humanity, as the United Nations Millennium Development Goals and the new Post-2015 Development Agenda, where SAIs are expected to be included.
In the document “Realizing the future we all want”, elaborated by the United Nations, governments all around the world have established that inclusive economic and social development, world peace, security and environmental sustainability are fundamental grounds that must be included in the United Nations Post-2015 Development Agenda along with the countries aspirations for a better future.
This document also highlights the necessity of including monitoring and responsibility mechanisms involving states, civil society, private sector, NGOs and international community towards development, and recommends that all objectives must be supported by a participatory monitoring and accounting system. In addition to contribute in the implementation of the Post-2015 Development Agenda by strengthening accountability, increasing transparency and enhancing the performance of their governances, SAIs also have the possibility to participate in the development of national and international monitoring mechanisms regarding the achievements of sustainable development objectives.
In this context, it is possible to think of regional, interregional and global cooperative audits as SAIs resources to help their countries and international community on the achievement of sustainable development objectives, particularly on topics of expertise such environmental audits.
This scenario also raises interesting challenges. Strengthening coordination and follow-up mechanisms for implementing recommendations of the reports generated by cooperative audits involves an implicit exchange of experiences that enriches the process of cooperative audits. Besides, it implies the dissemination of SAIs experiences about the subject, as well as the methodology of cooperative audits from the Exposure Draft ISSAI 5800 so that those SAIs which have not participated in these activities can evaluate their participation in an activity that could contribute with the development of capacities and acquisition of good practices for their organization and staff.
Finally, considering cooperative audits on a global scope also presents the opportunity, and the challenge, to empower SAIs for undertaking shared responsibilities, managing risks and taking actions in common towards the promotion of economic growth. This will also raise social welfare standards and quality in the provision of public services and global governance.
By M.A Mirtha Piscoya Díaz
Department of Technical Cooperation
 Guideline developed by the Subcommittee on Cooperative Audits of INTOSAI Capacity Building Committee, currently in process for formal approval as an ISSAI 5800 in 2016.
Please see related reports: