Photo: Fanni Kuittinen

Aspirations for community-based environmental auditing - insights from new INTOSAI WGEA member SAIs


According to the 10th global Working Group on Environmental Auditing (WGEA) survey from 2021, environmental audits have been on the continuous rise. This has been the case recently especially with climate audits. As also the Cooperative Audit on Climate Change Adaptation Actions (CCAA) has shown, SAIs in the Global South have also increasingly engaged with environmental auditing. Supporting this growing engagement, the INTOSAI WGEA plays an important role in enabling cooperation, providing guidance, and facilitating audits on environmental policy.

The number of INTOSAI WGEA members has also been on the rise. As of March 2024, there are 86 WGEA member SAIs. The working group welcomed the SAIs of Nepal, Vietnam, and UAE as new members in 2023. The expansion of the WGEA means increasing opportunities in global knowledge sharing and cooperation. In the interest of showcasing the motivation of SAIs to join the WGEA, we heard from two of the newest additions to the WGEA, SAI Vietnam and SAI Nepal.

In relation to the impact of the INTOSAI WGEA, the State Audit Office of Vietnam outlines: “the INTOSAI WGEA plays a pivotal role in enhancing the capabilities of its member SAIs in the field of environmental auditing. Serving as a catalyst for collaboration, INTOSAI WGEA fosters a global community where SAIs are afforded the opportunity to actively participate in the exchange of knowledge, experiences, and best practices.

The INTOSAI WGEA 2023-2030 strategy outlines that the Work Plan projects aim to serve all users, by e.g. developing training materials, studies on emerging topics or experience sharing in platforms such as the Assemblies. As new members, SAI Nepal and SAI Vietnam were present at the 22nd INTOSAI WGEA Assembly, organized 22-24 January 2024 in Rovaniemi, Finland.

Director Ram Chandra Ojha from the Office of the Auditor General of Nepal highlights the global importance of environmental protection and the practice of conserving the natural world. Ojha asserts that environmental auditing can significantly contribute to protecting the environment.

After becoming the member of WGEA, SAI Nepal has benefited to share and learn from the knowledge, skills, experiences, good practices, potential risks and challenges of environmental auditing among the member SAIs.” – SAI Nepal

Similarly, SAI Vietnam recognizes the substantial value of the INTOSAI WGEA, acknowledging that the engagement of SAI Vietnam is grounded in its profound recognition of the critical importance and urgency surrounding environmental initiatives.

The INTOSAI WGEA’s strong commitment and advocacy efforts contributing to sustainability are demonstrated through the provision of resources, guiding SAIs to conduct effective environmental audits and encouraging SAIs to actively participate in the monitoring and evaluation of environmental policy in their nations.” – SAI Vietnam

With these remarks, the SAIs of Nepal and Vietnam recognize how the INTOSAI WGEA fosters collaboration and knowledge exchange among SAIs worldwide, thereby contributing to global environmental protection efforts and wise public spending. These remarks also reflect the key messages from the 22nd INTOSAI WGEA Assembly, which encompass the understanding of environmental issues as cross-national phenomena and highlight the role of SAIs in evaluation of government performance on environmental issues.

With words of inspiration, SAI Nepal hopes its membership in the INTOSAI WGEA will be a valuable center for learning, and as a result contribute to maintaining uniformity in audit methodologies, procedures, and ultimately enhance audit quality as well. SAI Nepal also looks forward to capacity-building for staff engaged in environmental auditing, to develop environmental audit information systems and contributions in cooperative audits.

Should your SAI not be a current member of the INTOSAI WGEA yet, but has interest in becoming one, please reach out to the Secretariat (intosaiwgea(at) Furthermore, while all WGEA publications and the audit database are accessible to the public, membership of the working group entitles to exclusive invitations to events such as general assemblies and webinars.

By: Nella Virkola, former intern of the INTOSAI WGEA Secretariat