The BNAO shared experience in examining issues related to UN Sustainable Development Goals at the first EUROSAI-AFROSAI Joint Seminar


The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) under the UN 2030 Programme are a key global topic for which Supreme Audit Institutions have the ambition to continue to work together with public sector representatives in order to seek and make a better world.

This was made clear by the first EUROSAI-AFROSAI seminar on SDGs under the UN 2030 Programme, hosted by the Supreme Audit Institution of Portugal. It was attended by the President of the BNAO, Tzvetan Tzvetkov and Detelina Hadzhieva, Chief Auditor in Performance Audits Directorate.

The seminar was opened by Mr Vítor Caldeira, President of the SAI of Portugal, and the participants were welcomed with video message by Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations. Representatives from around 50 countries participated in the forum.

The seminar was organized in four sessions. During the first session was presented a global perspective on the topic as well as a stakeholders’ perspective. During the second session, various SAIs shared their experience in conducting audits related to the SDGs. A roundtable, moderated by the European Court of Auditors was organized for sharing regional experiences and online presentation of the achieved results.
The Bulgarian National Audit Office participated in the third session, which was held in the form of workshops for results achieved in auditing the implementation of the SDGs. SAIs should support governments' efforts to achieve the SDGs by developing national strategic policies and programs. The SAIs’ audit programs should prioritize the assessment of the achievement of the SDGs at national level and capacity strengthening in public institutions, said the BNAO President, Tzvetan Tzvetkov.

He also pointed out that the government has set up strategic planning systems, specific methodology and guidance, but the systems are not practically oriented and are not based on a targeting matrix. It is necessary to formulate specific goals, activities for their achievement, adequate evaluation indicators and enough resources.

The BNAO has carried out a number of performance audits on various aspects of the SDGs in the fields of education, poverty reduction, sustainable use of energy, employment, climate change, etc., said Tzvetan Tzvetkov, sharing key findings from the audits.

The BNAO President also raised the issue of the main challenge for SAIs in conducting SDG-related audits - the need to ensure a sufficiently large audit scope. The public and private sectors are involved in the achievement of the SDGs and that is why the SAIs need to evaluate more areas of activities. However, many SAIs do not have the mandate to audit the private sector and therefore it is needed to be sought out mechanisms to extend the scope of the audit activity. Another challenge is the need to engage a serious staff resource for quality research of a specific SDG issue. One of the possible solutions would be to apply a risk-based approach in determining the audits scope.

Following the fourth, final session of the seminar, an official ceremony took place to commemorate the 170th anniversary of the functioning of the SAI of Portugal in its current structure, and the 630th anniversary of the establishment of the institution. In relation to the anniversaries the BNAO President, Tzvetan Tzvetkov, gave the BNAO honorary plaque to Vítor Caldeira, President of the SAI of Portugal.

The seventeen Sustainable Development Goals, also known as the Global Goals, were adopted in 2015 by world leaders at the historic UN Summit. With these goals countries need to mobilize efforts to eliminate all forms of poverty, fight inequalities and overcome climate change. Regarding the goals, ending poverty should go hand in hand with strategies for building economic growth and meeting social needs, including education, health, social protection, jobs opportunities and environmental protection.

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