To enhance audit cooperation and the role of the Supreme Audit Institutions (SAIs) in environmental protection, an ASOSAI Working Group on Environmental Auditing (ASOSAI WGEA) was set up at the 8th ASOSAI Assembly held in Chiang Mai, Thailand in October 2000.
The group's aim is to conduct research on environmental auditing, step up its relationship with the International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions’ Working Group on Environmental Auditing (INTOSAI WGEA), and participate in international activities regarding environmental auditing. To date, ASOSAI WGEA has encompassed 32 member SAIs, including the State Audit of Vietnam (SAV).
Since the 13th Assembly in February 2015, ASOSAI WGEA has launched a string of activities in the aim of boosting environmental auditing in Asia.
Chair of ASOSAI WGEA and Auditor-General of China’s National Audit Office Hu Zejun said the working group had organized two seminars on environmental auditing. Specifically in October 2016, 19 SAIs in Asia discussed the topic of environmental performance auditing and the role of SAIs in stimulating national sustainable development
At a seminar in January 2018, SAIs focused on two topics: application of information technology in environmental auditing, and characteristics of environmental audits. In addition, the group carried out two surveys using questionnaires, and collecting some documents on Asian environmental auditing.
Especially, to spur the development of environmental auditing in the region, in January this year, ASOSAI WGEA decided to conduct a collaborative audit on water environment protection, with the participation of 19 SAI members, and two research projects on the application of Big Data technology in environmental and poverty alleviation audits in order to improve the living environment in rural areas with the involvement of 9 SAI members. All three projects are underway, said Hu Zejun.
As Chairman of INTOSAI WGEA and Chairman of the Audit Board of Indonesia (ABI) Moermahadi Soerja Djanegara praised ASOSAI WGEA's first joint audit of water environment protection.
"When we work together, we will be able to combine skills, learn together and share from our experience for common development" he noted.
Sharing experience in environmental auditing, the ABI Chairman stressed the need to have tools and give detailed guidance in order to carry out environmental audits in an effective way, thus achieving high quality.
Additionally, Moermahadi Soerja Djanegara also suggested some important issues on environmental audits of ASOSAI member SAIs, including water resources management, waste management, forest resource management, air pollution prevention and preparations for the fulfillment of the goals of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Talking to the media on the sidelines of the ASOSAI 14 plenary session, Auditor-General of China’s National Audit Office Hu Zejun, commended this year's ASOSAI theme "Environmental Auditing for Sustainable Development ", which she said, is not only of major significance for sustainable development of Asia, but also of great importance to the protection of the global ecological environment and the sustainable development of humanity.
The Chinese Government pays special attention to protecting the ecological environment, and China’s Audit Office has always made sustained efforts to build an auditing environment towards promoting sustainable economic development, she said, noting that Big Data technology is also applied in the work and proves highly productive.
China’s National Audit Office has also developed a system of environmental auditing projects in a bid enhance universal environmental auditing, Hu Zejun added.