Mr Aleksei Kudrin, Head of the Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation, held the 74th INTOSAI Governing Board meeting and summarized SAI Russia’s first year as Chair of this world’s biggest international audit organization.
‘Today we sum up the outcomes of this difficult year,’ Mr Aleksei Kudrin said opening the meeting. ‘For the first time the members of the Governing Board attend its meeting via a video conference. This year our organization has had to stay efficient and responsive while working remotely. We have had to learn to work in a new way. Considering the quantity and quality of events held online, as well as the operational continuity of INTOSAI, its working bodies and regional organizations, we can freely say that we have been successfully getting things done.’
In the follow-up to the Chairman of the Accounts Chamber’s report, we present the major initiatives and outcomes of SAI Russia’s first year as INTOSAI Chair:
Implementing the Moscow Declaration provisions
This September, the Accounts Chamber carried out a 10 Moscow Declaration articles: one year after marathon/survey to determine the progress of the international community in the implementation of the Moscow Declaration provisions. INTOSAI members were asked to indicate whether the Declaration provisions remained relevant, what had been done in terms of their implementation, what was planned to be done and what challenges were faced. Almost 50 SAIs provided responses and shared the results of their work. ‘The survey results proved the Moscow Declaration to be promising and innovative,’ Mr Kudrin said. ‘Some of its provisions turned out to be even more effective and relevant during the pandemic, than they were last year. We are currently finalizing the results of the survey, and the final report will be published on the recently launched website of the Accounts Chamber Chairmanship so that everyone can see the results.’
SAIs work during the COVID-19 pandemic
In May 2020, the INTOSAI COVID-19 Expert Group was created under the INTOSAI Supervisory Committee as a response to the immediate situation in the world. As the head of the group, the Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation presented recommendations summarizing the experience of many countries during the pandemic. The recommendations are to help SAIs identify areas for further improvement and provide clear guidance on how to maintain the business continuity and efficiency despite challenging conditions, and be prepared for similar situations in the future. Also, together with SAI Peru, we developed an interactive dashboard containing the key response measures for SAIs and governments against COVID-19 pandemic, as well as analytical publications on this topic. Mr Aleksei Kudrin also mentions that the expert group has become a focal point of new strategic practices, techniques and SAIs’ response measures addressing the pandemic challenges.
Under current conditions, it is essential for everyone to build their digital capacity. Therefore, the establishment of an INTOSAI open digital university, which was first discussed last year, is of primary relevance today. A lot has been done recently: the concept of the University has been successfully developed, a group of experts was hired and resources for the technical platform development were allocated. ‘The university will become an online educational platform opened for all INTOSAI members with unique programmes and specially designed courses for those who care about the future of audit and public administration,’ Mr Kudrin explained. ‘For example, the University pilot project consists of a series of short videos dedicated to the 10 provisions of the Moscow Declaration. We expect the final version of the site to be completed by the end of this year.’
Data openness is one of the most promising areas to be improved by SAI Russia in the upcoming years. This year, the Accounts Chamber came up with the second report on the openness of Russian public authorities. ‘The concept of an open SAI and our proactive communication strategy have proven to be in great demand among citizens, thus serving as a role model for other government bodies,’ Mr Kudrin said. ‘As INTOSAI Chair, we also seek to make our initiatives promote the openness of the organization as a whole.’
Promotion of the Russian language
Today more than 235 million people in 27 countries speak Russian. INTOSAI has a large Russian-speaking community too, although Russian is not considered as the official language of the organization. The Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation translates many documents and provides interpretation at various events into Russian for the benefit of all Russian-speaking audit experts living and working in Russia and abroad. ‘We would like to formalize this practice in the interests of all Russian-speaking audit experts who, believe me, live and work beyond Russia as well. This would be in line with the principles of inclusiveness and contribute to a more open professional dialogue,’ the Head of SAI Russia emphasizes.
Sustainable Development Goals
Since the end of the last year, the INTOSAI Working Group on the SDGs and Key Sustainable Development Indicators has been operating under the leadership of the Accounts Chamber. The primary goals of the Working Group are to revise and develop the sustainable development and SDG guidelines and to establish a database containing up-to-date documents, research and reports on sustainable development. The SDG Atlas is one of such documents. Beyond that, the group members work closely together with the INTOSAI working bodies, the German Cooperation Agency (GIZ), the OECD, the World Bank and other stakeholders. Their products are published in the Working Group Journal.
Promoting ongoing dialogue within INTOSAI
Creating an environment of ongoing dialogue is one of the issues that the Accounts Chamber of Russia intends to work on during its INTOSAI Chairmanship. To implement this task, the head of the Accounts Chamber offered to conduct an online scientific and practical 2021 conference to summarize the substantial outputs of SAI Russia’s Chairmanship, ‘This event could bring together all representatives from interested SAIs and their partners for expert discussions on key issues of SAIs’ work, taking into account all the new circumstances. The results of such events would provide us with valuable feedback on feasibility of the existing INTOSAI initiatives, priorities and the key challenges for the SAIs.’
For materials on the work of the Accounts Chamber within INTOSAI see our website, as well as the new constantly updated Chairmanship website. Besides, full recordings of many webinars with colleagues from other SAIs are available on the official YouTube channel of the Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation.