The Spanish Court of Audit as an associate member of OLACEFS
The Court is an associate member of the Organization of Latin American and Caribbean Supreme Audit Institutions (OLACEFS), Regional Working Group of INTOSAI, having joined as an adherent member at the 1988 General Assembly of the Latin American Institute of Auditing Sciences (ILACIF), OLACEFS former name.
OLACEFS has 22 full members and 28 associate members.
Currently, as an associate member of OLACEFS, the Court of Audit is entitled to the speaking right in the technical and administrative plenary sessions of the General Assemblies, as well as in the administrative plenary sessions of the Governing Board.
The Court of Audit attends OLACEFS annual General Assemblies regularly. This is the Organization’s highest authority which sets the overall policy of the Organization and promotes the achievement of its objectives. In addition to this, during the General Assembly the main financial (budget approval and setting of members’ contributions, among others), structural and organizational decisions are made.
Within the framework of the initiatives promoted by OLACEFS, the Court of Audit has taken part in a coordinated audit on Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), which seeks to assess the effectiveness of governments in the process of implementing the Sustainable Development Goal linked to gender equality (SDG5). As a result of the participation of the Spanish Court of Audit, this is OLACEFS’s first transcontinental coordinated audit. The main conclusions and recommendations resulting from the audit reports of all participating SAIs, including those of the Spanish Court of Audit’s performance audit report on the preparation for the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals with a gender focus (SDG5), are included in a joint report.
Relations with other Supreme Audit Institutions
Bilateral cooperation agreements
The Court of Audit signs collaboration agreements with SAIs of other countries, as well as with Regional Audit Institutions. Different activities are carried out through these agreements: training and development; exchange of experts; or joint research projects, including technical assistances that, in addition to training activities, involve collaborations to complete diagnosis reports or even the assistance in conducting audits.
Following the signature in 2018 of the corresponding bilateral cooperation agreements, the Court of Audit is currently collaborating with the General Comptroller of the State of the Republic of Ecuador and with the Court of Audit of the Republic of El Salvador with the purpose of promoting technical cooperation relations with both institutions, mainly in the jurisdictional field. This last agreement is being developed in collaboration with the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation for Development (AECID).
Twinning Projects are those financed by European Union funds aimed at strengthening the institutions of the candidate countries, acceding countries or those with preferential agreements with the EU.
The Court of Audit has participated in numerous twinning projects with SAIs of different countries since 2002, sometimes in collaboration with other European SAIs (as "junior partner" or "leader"), and other times individually.
Twinning projects are always of variable duration and require the designation of a project leader appointed by the leading partner, in charge of overseeing the project’s completion, and of a resident expert coordinating actions from the headquarters of the beneficiary, and who is normally a civil servant of the SAI leading the project.
The actual implementation of the twinning project is carried out by short-term experts, who spend time working at the assisted institution to perform the corresponding activities: training and development courses, workshops, design of regulations and/or audit programmes, etc.
The Court of Audit has recently taken part in two twinning projects which benefited the SAIs of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan (project completed in 2015) and of the Republic of Moldova (project completed in 2016).
Other bilateral activities
The Court of Audit carries out various international activities throughout the year, among which the following may be mentioned:
External Audit of International Organizations and other related activities
Fiscalización conjunta con el Tribunal de Contas de Portugal sobre desertificación e incendios en la península ibérica
La desertificación es un fenómeno que afecta con intensidad a la Península Ibérica debido a las condiciones climáticas y ambientales que se dan en ella. Cabe destacar que existe una continuidad geográfica en los ecosistemas de España y Portugal, especialmente en las zonas fronterizas, con problemas comunes en relación con la desertificación, que se intensifican por el efecto del cambio climático.
A su vez, España y Portugal son dos de los países con mayor incidencia de incendios en la Unión Europea, habiendo sufrido en los últimos años episodios muy violentos de los llamados incendios de «nueva generación», caracterizados por una evolución del fuego extremamente intensa y dañina.
En 2018, en la IV Reunión entre los Tribunales de Cuentas de España y Portugal, se acordó, como parte de la profundización de la cooperación bilateral, llevar a cabo un trabajo conjunto sobre los Objetivos de Desarrollo Sostenible, que dieron lugar a esta iniciativa. Este informe conjunto se fundamenta en los resultados de los informes de auditoría aprobados por ambas instituciones.
El Tribunal ha participado en esta auditoría, desarrollada en el marco de las relaciones bilaterales con el Tribunal de Contas de Portugal. La auditoría tuvo por objeto analizar los sistemas, procedimientos y medios aplicados por el Estado español, para la lucha contra la desertificación y para la prevención y extinción de incendios, desde la perspectiva de los principios de eficiencia eficacia, economía y sostenibilidad ambiental, y recoger estos mismos resultados conjuntamente con los obtenidos por nuestro homólogo portugués. La auditoría llevada a cabo fue una auditoría operativa.
Antes de iniciar los trabajos de auditoría conjunto, cada Tribunal de Cuentas elaboró sus informes de fiscalización respectivos sobre los que se desarrolló el informe conjunto. Durante el trabajo, se mantuvieron permanentes reuniones de trabajo con nuestros colegas portugueses y se realizó una labor muy importante de coordinación para que los resultados se recogieran en el informe de manera ordenada, y atendiendo a unos criterios homogéneos.
The mechanism for financing military operations of the European Union (ATHENA)
Since 2011 the Court of Audit has been participating in the activities of the College of Auditors of Athena, a mechanism created in 2014 by a Decision of the Council of the European Union (EU) to manage the financing of the costs arising from EU operations with military or defence impact. The College of Auditors, composed of six members, conducts every year an annual audit of the financial statements of the mechanism. The result of the audit is recorded in an audit report whose final drafting and signature take place at the headquarters of one of the members, having taken place in 2018 at the main headquarters of this Court.
Joint Organization for Co-operation on Armaments (OCCAR)
The Court of Audit is part of the Board of Auditors of OCCAR, which is composed of one representative from each Member State of the Organisation, and whose function is the financial audit of the accounts of the Organisation, as well as the control of the effectiveness, economy and efficiency in the management of funds and in the systems of internal control and management and administration of the armament programs, such as the A400M aircraft, the Tiger helicopter or the Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS), recently incorporated into the Organisation and in whose design and development Spain is participating.
European Fighter Aircraft EF-2000 (EUROFIGHTER)
The Court of Audit carries out audits in the scope of the national participation in the European Fighter Aircraft (Eurofighter) project, with field work and information gathering developed at the NETMA Agency in Munich (Germany) - coinciding with the audit of the International Board of Auditors for NATO (IBAN), which is responsible for the audit of the global project, and taking part in the annual meeting of the SAIs of the other countries that promote the Project (Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom).
International Board of Auditors for NATO (IBAN)
In addition to the collaboration with IBAN in the abovementioned external audit of the EF-2000 project, the Court of Audit collaborates with the International Board of Auditors for NATO by means of regular meetings and its participation in working groups.
College of Auditors of the European Defence Agency (EDA)
The Court of Audit has a permanent member at the International College of Auditors of the European Defence Agency (EDA), which is under the EU Council.
The College of Auditors of EDA is composed of three auditors from three participating member states. At the end of each financial year, an external audit is carried out on the expenditure of both, the working budget and the operational budget, and on the revenue administered by the Agency. The financial audit work is performed at EDA's headquarters in Brussels, where the final Audit Report is presented.
European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation (EUROCONTROL)
Between 2013 and 2017, the Court of Audit was part of the EUROCONTROL Audit Board, an intergovernmental Organization set up in 1960 that brings together 41 Member States with the aim of coordinating the safety of air navigation in Europe by improving air traffic control systems. This Board is composed of six members, each of them from a Member State of EUROCONTROL, with a four-year term. Each year the Board raises a report to the EUROCONTROL Commission which, on the basis of audit reports prepared by private auditors, presents its audit opinion on the annual accounts as well as other reports with the results of the performance audits carried out.
European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT)
The Council of the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT), composed of the high-level representatives of the Member States funding EUMETSAT programmes and activities, at its meeting on 1-2 December 2020, unanimously approved (except for the abstention by courtesy of Spain), to commission the Spanish Court of Audit to carry out an external audit of EUMETSAT's accounts for the financial years 2021 to 2024. The corresponding contract was signed on 20 May 2021.
The objective of the external audit will be, in addition to issuing an audit opinion on the EUMETSAT's financial statements, to verify compliance with its financial regulations in each of the years indicated, and to analyse the organisation's procedures from the perspective of compliance with the principles of sound financial management.
International Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory (INL)
The Spanish Court of Audit was appointed as external auditor of the financial statements of the International Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory (INL) for the financial years 2020 to 2022 by a Resolution adopted unanimously at the 47th meeting of the INL Council on 17th March 2020. On 20th May 2021, the contract governing the terms of this assignment was formalised.
The objective of the Spanish Court of Audit, as INL's external auditor, is to express an opinion on whether INL's annual financial statements present fairly its financial position and performance, and to verify compliance with the applicable rules, with the possibility to make such observations as it deems necessary with regard to the efficiency of INL's financial procedures, accounting system and internal controls.
The audit work for the first year - financial year 2020 - started in April 2021. The Audit Opinion and the Long Form Audit Report on the financial statements of the period with the relevant audit conclusions and recommendations for improving the management of INL were issued in June, and presented by the Spanish Court of Audit to the INL Financial Committee in August, after having been submitted to the Director General of INL for his comments.
Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)
The Spanish Court of Audit has carried out in the past the external audit of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). PAHO’s Directing Council, at its 51st session, agreed to appoint the Spanish Court of Audit as External Auditor of the Organization for the 2012-2013 and 2014-2015 biennia. This mandate was renewed for a period of two years, being extended to the biennium 2016-2017.
The objective of the external audit was not only to verify the representativeness of PAHO’s financial statements and the fulfilment of its financial regulations in each of the aforementioned fiscal years, but also to analyse the management of the Organization from the perspective of compliance with the principles of sound financial management.
The results of the audit works of each fiscal year culminated with the issue of the Audit Opinion on PAHO’s consolidated financial statements and the Long Form Audit Report. In the following links you can access those documents, which are published jointly with PAHO’s Financial Report:
In addition to the above, the Court of Audit issued other reports to the Director of PAHO, which are not public, with recommendations for improving the management of the Organization.
Additionally, in its status as PAHO’s External Auditor, the Court of Audit was invited to participate as Observer in the meetings of the Technical Group of the Panel of Auditors of the United Nations, which is a group formed by the audit Institutions that have been entrusted with the audit of the Bodies and Agencies of the United Nations.
Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE)
From 2016 to 2020, the Spanish Court of Audit has carried out the external audit of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). In April 2013, the Permanent Council appointed the Spanish Court of Audit as the external auditor of its financial statements for the financial years 2016, 2017 and 2018, succeeding the Bundesrechnungshof (SAI of Germany) in this mission, a mandate which was renewed in 2019 on an exceptional basis for an additional financial year. On 30 July 2020, the audit opinion and report on the 2019 financial statements were presented to the Permanent Council of the Organisation, thus ending the four-year mandate of the Spanish Court of Audit as the external auditor of the OSCE.
The objectives of the external audit performed included verifying the representativeness of the OSCE's financial statements, compliance with applicable legislation and analysis of the main areas of management of the Organisation's activity, as well as, more specifically, of different missions and other OSCE field operations. The implementation of the strategy and plan for gender equality of the Organization were also analysed.
In the following links you can consult the reports of the External Auditor for each of these financial years, which are published together with the corresponding OSCE Financial Reports and Financial Statements: