Xth EUROSAI CONGRESS

Congress at a Glance



The Turkish Court of Accounts, as decided in the IXth EUROSAI Congress (held in The Hague in 2014), hosted the Xth EUROSAI Congress in Istanbul, 22-25 May 2017 and took over the 3 years-presidency of EUROSAI from the Netherlands Court of Audit.
 
Approximately 170 participants from 51 countries (including 41 EUROSAI member-SAIs and 10 observers and guest countries) participated at the Congress, the main theme of which was defined as “Implementation of ISSAIs; Challenges and Solutions”.
 
The Congress was designed as a four-day event, which inherently consisted of the 47th and 48th EUROSAI Governing Board meetings and plenary sessions of the Congress and also included Seminars and Work Sessions organized on the main theme of the Congress. To make EUROSAI more agile and responsive in the new strategic plan period, as an innovative way of cooperation and collaboration, the Marketplace of Ideas on the pivotal topic of “Initiative for stronger EUROSAI” was also organized during the Congress.
 
Since we intend to turn the Congress into an opportunity for discussing the major problems in the field of public sector audit besides the main theme of “ISSAI implementation”, two Breakout Sessions, each including one Seminar for the Heads of SAIs/Organizations and five simultaneous Work Sessions for the fellow delegates, were organized. During Seminars, diverse issues were discussed, mainly those relating to the SAIs’ responses to the emerging issues such as cyber security, funds allocated to migration and humanitarian problems etc. and the role of SAIs in ensuring sustainable development. On the other hand, during Work Sessions, fellow delegates had discussions on the theme of “Implementation of related ISSAIs” with ten different topics such as IT audit, ethics audit, digital revolution, performance audit etc.
 
The Marketplace created an enabling environment for the related parties to communicate new ideas and initiatives. The outputs of this event are invaluable in the sense of their contribution to the successful implementation of the new EUROSAI Strategic Plan through the gathering of ideas and feedback from all EUROSAI members and, therefore, involving them actively in its operationalization.
 
More information about the Congress and all these events are available at Congress website www.eurosai2017.org.
  
Organizational Preparations by the EUROSAI Team of the TCA

Being aware that organizing an event like a EUROSAI Congress necessitates sophisticated and exacting preparations, the TCA formed a group and assigned a special team to focus on EUROSAI related issues both for preparations to the Congress and dealing with the Presidency issues afterwards. The EUROSAI team included some focal committees regarding presidency related issues, organizational preparations for the Congress, technical preparations for work sessions, website management etc.

For Congress venue, the city of Istanbul which has a strategic location and splendid cultural and regional history was chosen and Swissotel The Bosphorus was designated as the main Congress Hotel in order to carry out all organizational events. All details regarding both the organizational and technical issues as well as the social events for our guests were elaborated with the responsible company to have a smooth and proper running Congress.
Since the Congress was planned to be paperless, technical infrastructure at the Congress venue was set up in advance such that each delegation was given one tablet pc to access the documents during the Congress Plenary sessions which was available on a password protected area on the Congress website. All the updated documents are still available at the Congress website.

Furthermore, registrations for the Congress events and the accommodation were carried out through contact persons from each participating SAI and on-line via the website.
 
Determination of Subthemes and Breakout Session Preparations

SAIs go through tremendous changes in order to play an active role in the public sector audit. This trend requires SAIs to be equipped with advanced audit, analysis, reporting and communication skills. In this respect, the adoption and implementation of appropriate professional standards are the key factors for promoting strong and effective SAIs. To this end, the main theme of the Congress was declared as “Implementation of ISSAIs; Challenges and Solutions”.
By taking into consideration especially the recommendations of self-assessment survey results, an enabling environment was designed to encourage debate and professional cooperation in both workshop sessions and for administrative issues as well as to foster critical discussions on fundamental issues. Apart from discussing the issue from the theoretical perspective of ISSAI framework, it was intended to focus as much as possible on the practical examples of SAIs’ approaches to the challenges stemming from both ISSAI implementation and other audit related issues.

To bring the related parties together and create an opportunity for discussion and brainstorming, an “Introductory Paper” was sent in December 2016 and preferences of SAIs among 16 subthemes (listed by the TCA) were collected. Upon the analysis of preferences, work session leaders/coordinators and presenting SAIs were decided and Subtheme Program including most preferred 10 subthemes was finalized as the following:





As revealed at the Tables, two Breakout Sessions were organized on Tuesday, 23 May as morning and afternoon sessions, which included simultaneous meetings such as 1 Seminar for the Heads of SAIs/Organizations and 5 simultaneous Work Sessions for the fellow delegates.

By conducting the Work Sessions simultaneously, it was aimed to maximize the added value generated by the Congress and to create an environment where participants could communicate ideas and experiences with other SAIs as much as possible. The Seminars were organized for the Heads of SAIs/Organizations in order to elaborate the specified subthemes mostly at the strategic level while the Work Sessions were organized for the fellow delegates.

For the active contributors to the Breakout Sessions via either preparing/coordinating work session or making presentation, “How to design your work sessions” guideline was prepared and sent. Following this informative document, the cooperation and coherence among the work session leaders and other presenters in terms of their contextual preparations were encouraged and followed by the TCA staff via e-mails.

The last but not the least, workshop leaders and coordinating SAIs or rapporteurs were informed in advance that they would be invited to present their concluding remarks to all Congress’ participants in the “General Wrap-up” session on Tuesday afternoon. The concluding remarks consolidated through the “General Wrap-up” established the base for the “Statement of Conclusions and Recommendations” declared at the end of the Congress.
 
Marketplace of Ideas

The recent self-assessment survey of EUROSAI carried out in 2015-2016 revealed a number of interesting suggestions for potential additional strategic discussions, which gave birth, to an innovative event like a “Marketplace of Ideas” within the Congress.  The aim of this event was to encourage members to have a more active role in the Congress by inviting them to propose topics for discussion and to create an enabling environment for the exchange of expectations for the future of the EUROSAI.

Especially to foster the successful implementation of the new EUROSAI Strategic Plan (ESP), the marketplace offered a unique opportunity to involve all EUROSAI members in its future operationalization and gathering invaluable feedback from members by creating a welcoming atmosphere for dialogue in the new strategic period and determining the roles.
 
Just before the beginning of the event “Marketplace of Ideas” in that morning, activities regarding the EUROSAI’s logo and video competitions were carried out. A voting was held to choose the new EUROSAI logo. Since two of the three finalist proposals were in a tie, they were presented to the Congress anonymized (for scoring purposes), so that the Congress could vote on them. The results of the voting were the following; the winning proposal was one designed by two representatives of the SAI of Spain. The authors of the second and third finalists belonged to the SAIs of Slovenia and Finland, respectively.  Furthermore, the videos participating in the EUROSAI Video Competition “Ethics Matters” were presented and the SAI of Israel, author of the winning video, received the award of this competition.
 
Following the announcement of competition results, innovative and dynamic section of the Congress began with the plenary session and presentations were delivered by Ms. TyttiYli Viikari, the Auditor General of National Audit Office of Finland, about Strategic Goal 1 and by Mr. Vítor Caldeira, the President of Tribunal de Cuentas, about Goal 2 of the ESP. These two presentations were followed by the presentation of the EUROSAI Secretary General Mr. Alvarez de Miranda on cooperation with the INTOSAI Regional Organizations and external partners. The EUROSAI Secretariat, Tribunal de Cuentas continued further discussions on “regional cooperation” in a separate meeting room as a breakout session while the INTOSAI Development Initiative leaded a breakout session on SAI PMF in another room concurrently.
 
Since Marketplace of Ideas is a dynamic event, informal discussions continued in the Foyer where various stands, tables, information points and posters of the various members such as candidate SAIs for GB membership as well as next Presidency, EUROSAI Secretariat, Goal Teams, WGs and TFs etc. were available.
           
The outputs of this fruitful event were analyzed and combined following the Congress in order to submit to the consideration of the future Co-leaders of Strategic Goals for the preparation of the operational plan taking into account the interest of individual SAIs to take part actively in the implementation of the strategic plan.
 
Social Events

On 21 May 2017, Sunday, all the participants and accompanying persons were invited to the Welcoming Reception accompanied by live music in the garden of the Swissotel The Bosphorus.

On the first day of the Congress (22 May 2017, Monday) Welcoming Dinner was held in the Swissotel The Bosphorus. During the event, Cultural Dance Performance that shows outstanding forms of Traditional Turkish Folk Dance also took place. On the occasion of the dissolution of the Goal Teams, the Secretary General of EUROSAI awarded certificates of appreciation to current and former Chairs of the Goal Teams during the dinner in recognition of their outstanding contributions in leading the implementation of the ESP 2011-2017 over the past years

On the second day of the Congress (23 May 2017, Tuesday) a Bosphorus Tour on a luxurious Boat to explore the magnificent scenes of the Bosphorus and historical peninsula was organized for both Congress participants and accompanying persons.

On the third day of the Congress (25 May 2017, Wednesday), the Farewell Dinner was held at Sait Halim Pasha Mansion which itself is a witness of the Ottoman history and is one of Istanbul’s most popular venues having a gorgeous Bosphorus view. The Governor and the Mayor of Istanbul were also attended to the Dinner to convey their welcome message to the guests. The event was also filled with live music that includes famous songs from all over the world.
Besides these social activities, other cultural visits in Istanbul were arranged for the accompanying persons during the Congress while the meetings are held.