ASEAN Secretariat, ASEANSAI and AIPA joint seminar promotes accountability

ASEAN Secretariat, ASEANSAI and AIPA joint seminar promotes accountability

Illustration - ASEAN (Antara)

Jakarta, (ANTARA News) - Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla opened the first seminar, Jakarta, Tuesday morning, organized by ASEAN Secretariat (ASEC), ASEAN Supreme Audit Institutions (ASEANSAI), and ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA), for promoting accountability and transparency in the bloc.

The three organizations highlighted the need to build connections beyond the government level to promote accountability and transparency in the ASEAN in order to benefit the people, the Jakarta-based ASEAN Secretariat noted in a statement here, Tuesday.

With support of the German Government, through the "ASEC 2025", "Support to ASEANSAI", and "AIPA4ASEAN" projects implemented by GIZ, the seminar brought together some 100 senior officials and representatives of the three organizations and other entities in the ASEAN.

"For decades, the ASEAN has proven itself to be one of the world`s regional organizations that has been successful in developing and maintaining cooperation in various sectors. Cooperation in auditing is important for us to have transparent and accountable systems within our countries. I hope this seminar, which will share practices and lessons learnt from each (ASEAN) country, will bring greater good for all of us," the vice president emphasized.

In his remarks, Deputy Secretary-General of the ASEAN for Community and Corporate Affairs Dr AKP Mochtan commended the timely convening of the seminar, which he believes will contribute significantly to the advancement of the ASEAN Community as a whole.

He highlighted that governments and public institutions usually use regulations to promote accountability and transparency. In this regard, he urged all ASEAN agencies to work together with the ASEAN Secretariat and to reinforce the importance of promoting good governance that is a critical feature in the "ASEAN 2025 Vision: Forging Ahead Together."

Chairperson of ASEANSAI and President of the State Audit Organization of Lao PDR Dr Viengthong Siphandone lauded the initiative to co-organize this event.

"Ten Supreme Audit Institutions (SAIs) in the ASEAN have established the regional association ASEANSAI, in 2011 in Bali, to promote capacity building in public sector auditing of its members. This way, ASEANSAI is contributing to the improvement of transparency and accountability in Southeast Asia," she remarked.

Dr Siphandone further explained that SAIs in the ASEAN have contributed to the audit of financial statements of the ASEAN Secretariat every year. SAIs play a prominent role in promoting efficiency, accountability, effectiveness, and transparency of public administration.

"With the support of parliaments and governments, as SAI`s main partners, SAIs will perform their role more efficiently and effectively in their respective countries," Dr. Siphandone noted.

Dr Siphandone assured ASEANSAI`s commitment to building future cooperation with ASEC and AIPA to promote transparency and accountability in Southeast Asia.

AIPA Secretary-General Isra Sunthornvut praised the ASEANSAI for initiating a joint event on such an important issue. He acknowledged the importance of parliaments having the responsibility to ensure accountability as well as putting in place an internal mechanism in each country for accountability.

However, Sunthornvut opined that applying accountability to regional organizations, such as the ASEAN, ASEANSAI, and AIPA, where public interest needs to be built up, remained a challenge. Who and how to set the standard were other challenges, he added.

Furthermore, he called for greater public participation and willingness from the regional organizations to be scrutinized and checked in order to make them more people-oriented and people-centric.

During the seminar, participants identified good practices in their work to promote transparency and accountability of the public sector. They explored common interests and opportunities for future collaboration between the ASEC, ASEANSAI, and AIPA to strengthen relationships and synergize their works to contribute to good financial governance in the ASEAN.

This inaugural event of cooperation among the three ASEAN entities is expected to result in concrete proposals for collaborative action in future to jointly work towards greater transparency and accountability in the region.

Reporting by Fardah Assegaf
Editing by Suharto