12th ASOSAI Research Project on “Audit on Implementation of SDGs”

Background of the Program

asosai.jpgThe Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which the United Nations Members States jointly committed to in September 2015, provides an ambitious and long-term agenda on a broad range of vital issues. The UN Members States declaration on the SDGs, “Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda For Sustainable Development,” noted that “Our Governments have the primary responsibility for follow-up and review, at the national, regional and global levels, in relation to the progress made in implementing the goals and targets over the coming fifteen years.”

SAIs can, through their audits and consistent with their mandates and priorities, make valuable contributions to national efforts to track progress, monitor implementation and identify improvement opportunities across the full set of the SDGs.

INTOSAI has decided to include SDGs quite centrally in its strategic plan 2017-2022 as a cross-cutting theme. In its current discussions building up to the INCOSAI in December 2016, INTOSAI also identified four approaches through which INTOSAI and SAIs can contribute to the implementation of SDGs.

By this aim of INTOSAI, research project on “audit on implementation of SDGs: leveraging digital or big data to achieve SDGs” was launched by the ASOSAI Governing Board.


Participant Countries

There are 15 participant countries of this Project. Afghanistan, Bangladesh, China, Georgia, India, Indonesia, Kuwait, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Turkey, UAE, Vietnam.

Participants from the TCA

Turkish Court of Accounts, joins the 12th ASOSAI Research Project by a team consisting of three auditors. Mr. Mesut ÜNAL and Ms. Çiğdem ASLANKARA conducted an audit on the ‘Audit on the Preparedness of Turkey for Achievement of SDGs’. Mr. Özcan TOPSAKAL is mostly working on big data and data analysis.

Program Outputs and Outcomes

The research project is conceived to design a framework for SAIs on how to audit the implementation of SDGs with a more focus on the use of big data in the audit on implementation of SDGs.

The subject of the research project reflects the significance of the issue which is becoming central to the future strategies of many Asian countries both on the national level and institutional level.  In that context, there is an increasing need for ensuring the information that is reported by the relevant bodies in the governments is at the required quality and bound by integrity measures.

Likewise, there is an increasing need for understanding the importance of ensuring the integrity and quality of the information reported against SDGs. The existing mandates of SAIs allow them to play a critical role in this area and become an integral part of the reporting process in respect to the implementation of SDGs.

What Has Been Done So Far?

First meeting of the Project was held on the days 25 and 26 February 2019 hosted by the State Audit Institution of the United Arab Emirates (SAI-UAE).

At the meeting, the project’s team agreed that there are three principal dimensions that need to be worked on to execute this project. These dimensions are:

  • Clear accountability lines
  • Policy coherence
  • Management of information

An analytical report on the progress of the research project was issued and submitted to the ASOSAI Governing Board’s last meeting which was held on 23 and 24 July 2019. The Governing Board approved the report and made no comments.

An operational plan detailing the activities that will be undertaken, delineation of responsibilities and expected outputs had been developed.

Second meeting of the Project was held on 22-23 October 2019 at Abu Dhabi, UAE as well.

At this meeting, countries have carried out a study on a policy that related to the audit of SDGs through an ISSAI100 based template. Template provides a good framework as a road map for SDG implementation audit. The participants have been requested to bring a selected policy that related to the audit on implementation of SDGs. With the help of these templates the project team will be able to see different SDG related national policies and alternative ways to proceed in audit of those policies. With these different point of views, the team aims to develop the best and most useful methodology to audit the implementation of SDGs by using the tool of big data. 

The third meeting of the project was held on the 21st of April 2020, as a virtual meeting. The agenda of this meeting includes three issues:

  • maturity of the data generated from SDG policies,
  • Deciding on the direction when assessing SDG policies,
  • Determining SAI’s function and describing its intervention when auditing SDGs.

Participants agreed on working in detail within the framework presented above and met in a virtual meeting on the 26th of July 2021. In this meeting the draft research was discussed amongst the participants.

As the leader of the project, SAI UAE finalized the research paper and submitted to the ASOSAI Assembly by the 7th of September 2021. The research paper involved two documents: “Audit on Implementation of SDGs: leveraging digital or big data to achieve the SDGs” and “Evaluation of the importance of reporting frameworks based on providing transparency in situations that have complexities”.