EUROSAI. Magazine N24 - 2018

eurosai 36 EUROSAI Working Groups and Task Forces National Audit Office of Estonia Chair of the EUROSAI Working Group on Environmental Auditing (WGEA) YEAR 2018 IN EUROSAI WGEA: AUDITORS DISCUSS WIDE-RANGING ISSUES OF ENVIRONMENTAL GOVERNANCE AND CLIMATE CHANGE As per the usual tradition of EUROSAI WGEA, both the Spring Session as well as the Annual Meeting were organized in 2018. This year, major horizontal topics were on the agenda: environmental governance in Helsinki in April; climate change in Bratislava in September. These topics had emerged in our annual survey as of interest to members, reflecting that auditors are very much aware of the debates and concerns regarding the need for radical policy changes on both global and national levels to turn the course of the world towards a more sustainable path. Spring Session covered the building blocks of environmental governance At the Spring Seminar hosted by SAI Finland in Helsinki in April 2018, almost 60 participants from close to 30 SAIs set about to gain deeper understanding of the concept of good governance in the context of environment and environmental audits. Participants were brought through the genesis of environmental governance and were reminded of the main tools that auditors would need to grasp and could use as criteria when assessing environmental policies and programs. Finnish Agenda 2030 and Society’s Commitment to Sustainable Development were introduced by Finnish government representatives, showcasing how continual political commitment and effective governance can promote real changes in the society. Aarhus Convention and public participation in environmental decision-making were also explored, and participants learned more about participatory audit – different stages of stakeholder engagement and practices of SAIs. Throughout the seminar, SAIs with relevant audit experience complemented keynote speakers to create a link between theoretical material and practical audit work. Participants of WGEA events always appreciate practical exercises. Therefore, various methods were used also in Helsinki to promote engagement and reflection. Aside from several group discussions, two novel types of engagement – the debate and Lego-building group task – were tested. The friendly debate held with volunteer SAI-representatives proved effective for listing relevant arguments on a contradictory topic. Lego-building spurred creativity and facilitated group thinking. Read more from the report of the Spring Seminar.