Environmental Auditing to Protect Mekong Region’s Biodiversity

12 May 2014

Phnom Penh, Cambodia

To support environmental protection efforts, the Asian Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions (ASOSAI) has set up in October 2000 a working group on Environmental Auditing (WGEA). Last week in Vietnam, the group met to exchange experience on three audit topics: atmospheric environment, sustainable energy and solid waste. Dr. Denis Roy, GIZ Senior Advisor to the project, Support to ASEAN Supreme Audit Institutions (ASEANSAI) joined among other officials.

“The Mekong River is the heart and soul of mainland Southeast Asia. Populations of at least six countries depend on the Mekong for food, water, transportation in their daily lives,” Dr. Denis Roy said. “The Mekong River also supports one of the world’s most diverse fisheries.”

From 2011-2013, the German Government, through GIZ supported a cooperative environmental audit on the Mekong River Basin management. Currently, it is planned to start a second environmental audit with the participation of the Supreme Audit Institutions of Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.

GIZ is working with the Supreme Audit Institutions throughout the ASEAN region and is also very active with several regional and bilateral projects in the area of environment and climate change. With this in mind, GIZ is in a good position to bring together knowledge and expertise needed to improve environmental audits.

“Environmental audits play a crucial and vital role in the implementation of environmental goals and objectives, including those enshrined in multilateral environmental agreements,” said Alexander Beetz, project manager of the GIZ project, Support to ASEAN Supreme Audit Institutions (ASEANSAI).

Supreme Audit Institutions have a difficult but very important task: Their task is to make sure that the state uses public money in an effective and efficient way to achieve best possible results. This includes spending for education, health and agriculture, for example. Supreme Audit Institutions require expertise knowledge to be able to assess the spending of public money in these areas. One area audit institutions are now focusing increasing attention to is environment protection and climate change adaptation.

Explanation of picture:

During the 5th Seminar on Environmental Auditing held in Hanoi in April 2014, country participants from ASOSAI WGEA (Asian Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions Working Group on Environmental Auditing) were invited to Ben Thuyen Trang An ecotourism site. Located 80 km south of Hanoi, Trang An is often referred to as an inland Halong Bay and its community is seeking UNESCO world heritage site status. On this visit, over 20 Asian countries representatives participated in a tree planting ceremony. Dr. Denis Roy, Senior Advisor to ASEAN Supreme Audit Institutions participated in the ASOSAI WGEA meeting to discuss a proposal for a cooperative audit on the Mekong River Basin. During the ceremony, he planted a tree on behalf of the GIZ Cambodia office.

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