Support to Supreme Audit Institutions in Southeast Asia (ASEAN)

Project description

Title: Support to ASEAN Supreme Audit Institutions (ASEANSAI)
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: All ASEAN Member States: Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Viet Nam
Lead executing agency: ASEAN Supreme Audit Institutions (ASEANSAI)
Overall term: 2013 to 2019

Caption-Auditors from Thailand Philippines and Malaysia

Context

Efficient and correct spending of public funds is in the interest of citizens and tax payers in every country of the world. Supreme Audit Institutions (SAIs) play a crucial role to ensure correct financial statements, to prevent misspending and to detect fraud in public financial management.

With a population of almost 600 million, the region of Southeast Asia is characterised by significant heterogeneity regarding its political and social systems and development. The region comprises least developed countries (LDCs) such as Cambodia, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic and Myanmar, but also highly developed countries like Singapore.

Corruption and inefficient governance systems hamper development and the population of many countries does not benefit sufficiently from public funds and financial management.

Within this highly heterogeneous context, and with the aim to promote good financial governance and accountability in public spending, the regional organisation of the 10 ASEAN Supreme Audit Institutions (ASEANSAI) was founded in 2011 to jointly increase the capacities through knowledge sharing and peer-learning in auditing and, thus, contribute to accountable public spending in Southeast Asia. 

As the regional organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions (SAIs) of all ten ASEAN member states, ASEANSAI focuses on regional knowledge sharing and capacity development, as well as technical cooperation on important and common audit issues. At its core are peer learning approaches and the use of expertise existent in the region. For this, mentoring schemes and SAI-to-SAI approaches have been established.

The goal is to close capacity gaps between strong SAIs and less experienced (younger) SAIs, in particular with a focus on the Audit Institutions in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Viet Nam.

Objective

The regional organisation of ASEAN Supreme Audit Institutions (ASEANSAI) is fulfilling its mandate to foster capacity development and to facilitate knowledge exchange within the region.  

Approach

The project supports the regional organisation ASEANSAI in sustainable, process-oriented capacity development approaches that are fed by regional expertise and knowledge exchange.

The project’s main leverage is the assistance in the implementation of ASEANSAI’s Strategic Plan, focusing on four key strategic areas: Promotion of the implementation of international audit standards (ISSAI), improvement of the organisation and management of member SAIs, contribution to relevant issues in the ASEAN region, and promotion of ASEANSAI’s partnerships, regionally and internationally.

Partnering closely with the ASEANSAI executive committee, Secretariat and its four technical committees (strategic planning, knowledge sharing, training, rules and procedures), the project is assisting the organisation in implementing and upgrading its monitoring and evaluation system and ensuring proper implementation of activities and mutual learning among members. The project also supports the identification of synergies and fostering of relations between ASEANSAI and international partners and stakeholders. Process advisory and organisational development are at the core of the cooperation with ASEANSAI.

Results

  • As a young regional entity, ASEANSAI has developed significantly by establishing a long-term Secretariat in the national audit office in Indonesia. It has strengthened its professionalism by creating sustainable structures and functioning committees, that plan, implement and monitor com-prehensive capacity development processes and run up to 20 regional activities per year.
  • A sustainable long-term training programme on implementing international standards in financial auditing (ISSAI) has been developed, based on the specific needs of the region and its SAIs. 27 auditors were trained in risk-based financial auditing, according to international standards. In a second phase, 17 auditors were certified as ASEANSAI facilitators for ISSAI implementation in financial audits. These facilitators will serve as multipliers and trainers in their own national audit offices and as resource persons in their region.
  • Regional guidelines and courseware on audits of public procurement, as well as a full training cycle, involving eight SAIs, have been developed and piloted. The pilot process informed the revision of the guidelines and courseware, which will be used in a second phase of training on audit of public procurement aligned with international standards in auditing. 
  • Peer learning approaches, such as mentoring programmes and the Trilateral Cooperation of Thailand, Laos, and Germany in the field of financial auditing and capacity development have been established and offer targeted support to the younger SAIs in the region, which often need assistance in fulfilling their tasks.
  • The ASEANSAI Monitoring and Evaluation System has been developed and allows monitoring of the conducted activities and evaluating in what way they contribute to achieving the strategic plan. Within this process, a culture of continuous (organisational) learning is being established and approaches for more efficient regional knowledge management are being explored.