COA and the Audit of Implementation of Sustainable Development Goals

The Commission on Audit (COA) is the Supreme Audit Institution (SAI) of the Philippine Government. As an independent constitutional body, COA performs a critical role in promoting transparency, effective governance and enforcing public accountability as its mission; with a vision of being a trustworthy, respected and independent audit institution as an enabling partner of government in ensuring a better life for every Filipino.

The COA is a member of the International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI), the Asian Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (ASOSAI) and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Supreme Audit Institutions (ASEANSAI). The member states of these organizations have audit mandates under Goal 16 of the SDGs to ensure effective, accountable and transparent institutions at all levels. As SAI Philippines, the COA has a parallel reporting on audit results on the implementation of programs for SDGs.

In line with the guidance and cross-cutting priority of INTOSAI, the COA has committed to perform audits on the SDGs in order to provide contributions to the follow-up and review of SDGs within the context of Philippine Government’s sustainable development efforts and SAI Philippines audit mandate. The audit results are expected to provide independent oversight aimed at contributing inputs to address the challenges in the preparation, implementation, monitoring and reporting of progress on the SDGs by the Philippine Government through the Voluntary National Review (VNR). Aside from generating value and benefit of making the work of COA more relevant, the audits shall contribute to the transparency and accountability in SDG implementation.

Since 2016, the COA has started its awareness campaign on the SDGs through participation in the international conferences of INTOSAI and the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (UNCSW). In 2017, the COA invited the top officials of various government agencies to conduct awareness briefings among its officials and auditors of their respective programs pertaining to the implementation of SDGs. These programs are considered in the Strategic Audit Planning and in prioritizing programs for performance, financial and compliance audits. Thereafter, COA officials and representatives have been participating in various local and international programs, fora, workshops, consultations, conferences and research projects relating to SDGs.

At the initial state of implementation of the SDGs, the COA participated in the program of the INTOSAI Development Initiative (IDI) and Knowledge Sharing Committee (KSC) on cooperative performance audit of preparedness of the government for implementation of SDGs.  More than 70 SAIs across the INTOSAI regions participated in this undertaking.  The audit had been concluded recently and the report was already posted in the COA Website. SAI Philippines reporting to the INTOSAI on the audit of implementation of the SDGs is parallel to the periodic Philippine Government’s VNR Report being submitted to the High Level Political Forum of the UN.

Currently, the COA is participating in the 12th ASOSAI Research Project entitled: Audit on Implementation of SDGs (leveraging digital or big data to achieve SDGs).  A Kick-Off Meeting was held in February 2019.

UN’s sustainable development goals featured at COA women’s month celebrations

The United Nations formally adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in September 2015 and already the Commission on Audit (COA) moved to educate its auditors to plan for the audit of eventual Philippine programs under the SDG roadmap.

COA held a briefing on the efforts of the Philippine Statistical System on Gender Statistics and the SDGs on 9 March 2017 at the Professional Development Center as part of its national women’s month celebration. Assistant National Statistician Wilma A. Guillen of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) conducted the briefing.

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