Commission on Audit (COA) officials led by Commissioner Roland Café Pondoc, attended the 62nd Regular Session of the United Nations (UN) Panel of External Auditors held from 28-29 November 2022 at the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), in Santiago, Chile. The meeting was hosted by Auditor-General Jorge Bermudez of Chile.

The Panel’s Technical Group also held its 38th meeting from 23 to 25 November 2022 to discuss technical matters and prepare for the ensuing discussions by their principals which was headed by Director Lito Q. Martin with Auditor Hershey P. Visaya from the International Audit and Relations Office (IARO) to represent SAI Philippines.

The Panel of External Auditors of the United Nations, the Specialized Agencies and the International Atomic Energy Agency was established by the UN General Assembly Resolution in 1959 to further the coordination of the audits for which its members are responsible, and to exchange information on audit methods and findings. The Panel has an essential duty to contribute to enhancing accountability, transparency and governance of the organizations that compose the United Nations system. On the other hand, the Technical Group comprises the Directors of External Audit, or equivalent, and the Executive Secretary of the Panel. Much of the Panel’s work is undertaken by the Technical Group which is mandated to research and review specific topics of interest to the Panel. The Technical Group reports to the Panel at its regular meeting on the topics reviewed with its recommendations.

The Panel and Technical Group’s SAI members are Chile, China, France, Germany, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Italy, Philippines, Russia, Switzerland and United Kingdom. The four main topics discussed with 15 presentations are Financial and Management Issues, Climate Change as well as IT/Digital Issues. The Technical Group designated rapporteurs for each topic with India, Philippines, Chile and France, respectively.

Director Martin presented a topic on management issues regarding audit of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in UN entities with focus on gender equality. As the rapporteur for Management Issues, Director Martin highlighted the five presentations: (a) the oversight of programme/project planning, monitoring and evaluation by India, (b) governance and oversight of implementing partners by Chile, (c) implementation of common back office by France, (d) and systematic and consistent application of knowledge management by Indonesia, including (e) the presentation of the Philippines – the audit of SDGs in UN Entities with focus on gender equality. The Panel appreciated the presentation and unanimously agreed that the Philippines thoroughly encapsulated the management Issues and considered them in the letter to the UN Secretary General.

As host country, Chile showcased its culture and traditions. A tour was specially organized for the Panel as a glimpse to Chile’s historical landmarks, vine yards with their wine production process, and arts through architecture, painting and dances. The Panel was treated to a Chilean culinary experience and also met with His Excellency Gabriel Boric, President of Chile.

For the culminating activity, the Panel met virtually with the Secretary-General for an exchange on important issues to the United Nations system entities. The Panel outlined the vital issues of the meeting in a letter addressed to the Secretary-General in his capacity as Chair of the Chief Executives Board of the United Nations and its specialized agencies.