Panel of External Auditors Holds Hybrid Sixty-Second Meeting, 28-29 November
The Panel of External Auditors’ sixty-second meeting, chaired by Jorge Bermúdez, Comptroller General of Chile, was held from 28 to 29 November as a hybrid session hosted from the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), at Santiago, Chile. The Panel consists of the Heads of 13 Supreme Audit Institutions who are either elected or selected to conduct the external audit of the United Nations Secretariat, funds and programmes and specialized agencies and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The meeting was attended by representatives of Supreme Audit Institutions, which constitute the Panel Membership from Chile, China, France, Germany, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Italy, Philippines, Russian Federation, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
External auditors are independent of the United Nations and conduct financial statements and performance audits. The United Nations Panel of External Auditors is a unique forum for the exchange of information and methodologies to further develop and improve the value and quality of the external assurance process. The Panel seeks to support the delivery of high quality, standards-based assurance to ensure that reported financial information provides a transparent and accurate basis for the financial decisions made by the United Nations, its specialized agencies and IAEA. The Panel’s Technical Group also met from 23 to 25 November to discuss technical matters and prepared for the ensuing discussions by their principals from 28 to 29 November.
The Panel discussed several topics including: financial issues such as the implementation of the International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS) 43 on leasing; the transition of IPSAS 29 to IPSAS 41 on Financial Instruments; and the implementation readiness in United Nations entities, assets management, auditing the treasury and the investments, with a specific focus on ethical investments, provisions for employee benefits classification and the financial impact of accumulated surpluses from cost recovery services. Management issues included oversight of programme and project planning; monitoring and evaluation in United Nations entities; implementing partners; development reform; systematic and consistent application of corporate knowledge management; and the audit of the Sustainable Development Goals focusing on gender equality in United Nations entities. Climate change and environmental issues were also discussed, including the contribution of Supreme Audit Institutions in the fight against climate change and how climate change impacts the activities of the United Nations system. The Panel also had deliberations on information technology security and governance.
The Panel met virtually with the Secretary-General for an exchange on important issues to the United Nations system entities. The Panel produces a letter to the Secretary-General in his capacity as Chair of the Chief Executives Board of the United Nations and its specialized agencies. The contents of the letter and his response will be published on the Panel’s website in due course.
More details on the Panel’s working are available at its website (http://www.un.org/en/auditors/panel/).