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  3. IX EUROSAI-OLACEFS Joint Conference- a new gathering to discuss on enhancing the impact of SAI’s work in times of COVID-19.

IX EUROSAI-OLACEFS Joint Conference- a new gathering to discuss on enhancing the impact of SAI’s work in times of COVID-19.

16 de septiembre de 2020


Nearly 200 experts from SAIs of 56 countries across the European, Latin American and Caribbean regions joined the IX EUROSAI-EUROSAI OLACEFS Joint Conference from 9 to 11 September 2020. The three-day Conference was organized by the State Audit Office of Hungary, which celebrates this year the 150th anniversary of its foundation. Due to the restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic, the format was changed to a virtual one, thus using an untraditional format never used before for this type of bilateral events.

The main theme was also shaped in light of the pandemic situation ensuring relevance with regards to these extraordinary times and circumstances and also serving as a basis for vivid and in-depth discussions and valuable professional debates. Accordingly the motto was updated to: "The COVID-19 pandemic: a unique opportunity for Supreme Audit Institutions to highlight the impact of their work".

The Conference kicked off with an official opening ceremony where participants could listen to inspiring speeches from the President of EUROSAI, Mr. Seyit Ahmet Baş, President of OLACEFS, Mr. Nelson Eduardo Shack Yalta and the President of the State Audit Office of Hungary Mr. László Domokos. The Presidents’ opening remarks were followed by a plenary session where perspectives, activities and audit implications of COVID-19 pandemic were shared by the Secretary General of OLACEFS and the leader of the EUROSAI COVID-19 Project Group, giving participants a very good overview on how both regions are addressing this issue. The session continued with stimulating presentations by keynote speakers who provided participants with an external view on how the public sector could improve its impact and how to face change management in the time of COVID-19.

The online event then continued with panel discussions and workshops held during the two following days. Four different panel discussions focused on several topics: Enhancing Measurement Methodologies; Public Prosecution/Anticorruption-Means of prevention and tackling; The role of Supreme Audit Institutions in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda; and Media and Technology-where SAIs, digitalization and 3rd parties meet.

Following the panel discussions eight workshops, organized in two rounds, were held simultaneously and allowed participants to get more actively involved and exchange experiences and views on eight different subtopics such as the advisory role of Parliament, Congress auditees, citizens, and other parties; Indicators and measurement tools; Integrity and Anticorruption; Relations with public prosecutor’s offices; Reactive & rapid audit reporting; Social utilization and Transparency; and Digital tools’ impact.

During the plenary session held on the final day of the joint conference, the main results of the panel discussions and workshops were synthetized in form of e-posters, shown in the picture below, which helped the conference moderator to visually summarize the key conclusions on which workshop moderators reflected on adding extra thoughts and ideas, which greatly contributed to a successful recap and closing of the professional program.

As main conclusion, all workshop moderators agreed that COVID-19 crisis not only could be viewed as a mayor challenge or disaster, but also as a huge opportunity for SAIs to increase their impact and to serve more the arising societal needs. Nowadays capacity building, the extension of adaptive capabilities, reactivity, change management and measuring SAIs’ own performance has become more and more crucial for the effective work of SAIs, which has been further provoked and encouraged by the current situation. Even under the difficult circumstances we face, “BOOST your IMPACT!” the initial motto of the conference was proved to be a relevant and up-to-date topic, of which challenges every participant could identify itself, and therefore could give valuable insights during the online discussions.

The online IX EUROSAI-OLACEFS Joint conference was not only a great, but a novel success as well. It has been our collective success since the international community of SAIs has proved its commitment and engagement with each other, even under the most challenging times. To partially mitigate the absence of personal contact which would have taken place in  Budapest, a virtual café was open along the Conference and a virtual social program was also offered to discover the wonders of Hungary and to get familiar with its capital, culture and gastronomy.

All the content of the Conference will be soon made available online for a wider dissemination.

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