A meeting of the Working Group on Environmental Auditing of the European Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions (EUROSAI) took place in Helsinki on 25–27 April 2018. The theme of the meeting was management of environmental matters from the perspective of auditing. The theme is closely connected to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
The Working Group on Environmental Auditing has its annual meeting every autumn and a workshop event every spring. This spring’s event was all about surveying the key elements of environmental management auditing. The “management of environmental matters” refers to processes consisting of discussions on the environment and natural resources, their control and related guidance.
First, the attendees received an overall idea of how environmental matters became globally recognised and how environmental management was institutionalised. The SDG of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the sustainable development perspective are key issues here.
Basic concepts related to the assessment of the status of the environment, such as the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and the “polluter pays” principle, were also studied from the viewpoint of auditing. Several examples of audits in the different EUROSAI member countries were given at the meeting. These audits focused on construction in nature conservation areas and how stakeholders can be involved in the audit process, for example.
Finland’s long-term commitment in the SDG was positively noted by the attendees of the event. Finland’s National Commission on Sustainable Development ensures that the SDG are included in the national policies. There are hardly any similar institutions expanding over several parliamentary terms and administrative sectors.