Environmental Audit Report on the three-border area of Hungary Slovenia and Austria
Report ID: 5

The Austrian Court of Audit conducted an audit at the Federal Ministry of Forestry, Agriculture, Environment and Water Management and at the provincial governments of the provinces Styria and Burgenland. The audit took place from April to May 2005 and concerned the environmental situation at the border to Hungary and Slovenia. The audit focused on water quality (bodies of flowing water and ground water), soil quality and nature conservation (Natura 2000). The audit compared the actual state of the audited territory with the quality objectives as well as assessed the measures taken by the responsible authorities concerning their effectiveness to preserve and improve the environmental situation. The audited period covered the years from 2000 to the beginning of 2005.


Within their supervision duties the authorities responsible for water management (water management authorities) checked whether the municipal and industrial sewage treatment plants complied with the conditions defined by legal regulations and permissions. A comparison of the supervision activities in both provinces showed that the authorities of the province Burgenland investigated in a weekly rhythm whereas in Styria municipal plants were inspected three to six times a year and industrial plants usually once or twice a year.


In the opinion of the Austrian Court of Audit the inspection activities of the authorities should be harmonized all over Austria. It recommended that the Federal Ministry of Forestry, Agriculture, Environment and Water Management should work out guidelines concerning the frequency of controls. The frequency should be defined in such a way, that the water management authorities obtain a good overview of the installed systems and their emissions.


The objective of the Austrian Water Act concerning ground water quality is to obtain good chemical and quantitative conditions, a balance between extraction and regeneration and a quality, which generally allows the utilization of ground water as drinking water.

The Federal Ministry of Forestry, Agriculture, Environment and Water Management defined limit values for immissions by issuing regulations concerning drinking water and ground water. Based on the European Nitrate Directive an action programme was developed to protect the water bodies and to reduce and prevent water pollution caused by the agricultural use of land. This “Action Programme Nitrate” limits the application of fertilizers on agriculturally used land.

Financial means expended on air quality protection
Report ID: 28

The audits performed by the participating SAIs confirmed that commitments relating to international conventions on air and ozone layer protection were in principle fulfilled, Only Directive 96/62/EC of the Council on ambient air quality assessment and management and related regulations, were not being complied with. IN the territory of the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Slovenia the monitoring detected exceeding of thresholds of certain pollutants, specifically PM10 particles. 

Slovakia and the Czech Republic are meeting the Kyoto targets. Both countries committed to reduce GHG emissions by 8% compared to the year 1990 in the period 2008-2012, which is achieved continuously and there are conditions created for the future achievement.

Slovenia committed to reduce GHG emissions by 8% compared to the year 1986 in the period 2008-2012. Difficulties were detected in the creation of comprehensive policies on climate change on Slovenia. The GHG emission mitigation principles were not incorporated into other key sectorial policies (e.g. agriculture, transport and energy) SAI Slovenia recommended establishing a responsible body on the governmental level to insure forming comprehensive policy on climate change and to carry out sectorial measures continuously. 

Austria is obligated to reduce GHG emissions by 13% compared to the year 1990. Following the current findings, the development of emissions in the housing, industry and traffic sectors made achieving the Kyoto target unlikely. SAI Austria recommended taking additional measures  to meet the targets of the period 2008-2012, as well as commitments for the period after 2012. The first period of the national emission system showed no significant benefit for the environment but enabled the participants of the system to start well prepared into the second period. 

The audit findings were approved in individual national audit reports. The reports together with the proposal on measures to be taken were submitted to the respective SAIs involved and to the legislative bodies of the participating countries.

Report on the three-border area of Hungary, Slovenia and Austria
Report ID: 75

Environment and nature protection are decisive factors in modern society. As environmental problems do not stop at national borderlines, intensive international cooperation is needed in order to prevent and reduce pollution. Supreme Audit Institutions (SAIs) as independent organizations have a special function in covering these topics.

With the aim to contribute to a supranational approach on environmental issues, the Heads of the SAIs of the Republic of Hungary, Republic of Slovenia and the Republic of Austria decided to carry out a coordinated audits on how to treat the frequently identical problems of environment and nature protection in the region located along the joint borders of the three countries. All SAIs already had experience with successful bilateral audit cooperation; this trilateral audit denotes a further step in cooperation and exchange of know-how between the SAIs of the Republic of Hungary, Republic of Slovenia and the Republic of Austria.

The environmental audits carried out by the three SAIs covered the topics water, soil and nature protection. The audited area comprised the border region of the three countries with emphasis on the region of Raab/Rába and Mur/Mura border river basin and protected areas. The audits covered the period 2000-2005 with focus on the trends and recent developments.

The main objectives were to address:

• the quality of rivers, groundwater, soil and natural habitats,

• the situation of sewage disposal,

• the effectiveness of the measures taken by the authorities to foster environment and nature protection, and of the application of funds,

• deficiencies and need for further measures.

In the audits special emphasis was given to the transboundary cooperation of the competent authorities of the three countries in the field of environment protection.
The audits were carried out in the spirit of tight cooperation of the three SAIs. Beyond the in-depth reconciliation of the audit highlights with one another, each of the three SAIs carried out the audit under its own authority and as part of its annual national audit program. Audit results were published in separate national reports and condensed to the joint report, compiled by the three SAIs.


Report in german: intosai-cooperativeaudits.org/catalog/report/umweltschutz-im-dreilndereck-ungarn-sterreich-und-slowenien

Implementation of Tasks Related to Environmental Projects and Measures in the Thaya River Basin
Report ID: 144

Cooperation between Supreme Audit Institutions (SAIs) in conducting environmental audits has become more and more common in recent years for good reason: There are many benefits, for both the institutions and the environment. For the institutions, cooperative audits facilitate mutual sharing and learning, capacity building, networking, and identification of best practices. For the environment, many environmental problems transcend political boundaries. Thus, combining forces through cooperative environmental audits allows SAIs to take a broader view of the situation, to consider the various upstream and downstream impacts of domestic actions, and to benchmark best practices.

There are many models of and approaches to cooperative audits. They are applicable to a variety of situations, including the audit of international and regional environmental agreements, of shared physical resources (for example, watersheds), and of shared environmental problems (for example, domestic waste management). SAIs now have gained considerable experience in what works, what doesn’t work, and how best to ensure success.

The paper entitled Cooperation between Supreme Audit Institutions: Tips and Examples for Cooperative Audits responds to the ongoing demand for information and ideas on how to make cooperation work effectively. Reflecting the real-world experience of practitioners from some 29 SAIs, the paper provides practical advice and tips through each phase of the audit cycle.

While the examples in this paper are drawn from cooperative environmental audits, the tips have been generalized to make them broadly applicable to cooperative audits of any topic and perhaps also to cooperation with local or regional audit institutions. Tip 1 Communicate! is essential advice that readers will find reiterated throughout the paper.

This paper was co-led by the Supreme Chamber of Control of the Republic of Poland and The Netherlands Court of Audit. In particular, I would like to thank Rob de Bakker and Arien Blees-Booij from the Netherlands and Ewa Borkowska-Domanska and Monika Skrzypiec from Poland for all of their hard work and efforts in preparing this document. My thanks also goes to the many other organizations and individuals who contributed to this paper (see Acknowledgments).

I believe this paper will facilitate future cooperation between SAIs and enhance the effectiveness of their initiatives.

Cooperation between Supreme Audit Institutions: Tips and Examples for Cooperative Audits is one of four guidance papers developed by the INTOSAI Working Group on Environmental Auditing (WGEA) in the Work Plan period 2005–2007. The other three papers are:

• Evolution and Trends in Environmental Auditing,

• Auditing Biodiversity: Guidance for Supreme Audit Institutions, and

• The World Summit on Sustainable Development: An Audit Guide for Supreme Audit Institutions.

Readers are encouraged to consult these papers as well as Appendix 4 of this paper for information on other WGEA products and services.  

Summary of the parallel audit conducted by the Office of the Auditor General of Norway and the Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation
Report ID: 284

Unregistered fishing and the illegal harvesting of fish in the Barents Sea and the Norwegian Sea, and the challenges these have set for the fishing authorities’ control work, have been central topics in the discussions of the Joint Norwegian-Russian Fisheries Commission in recent years.

The Office of the Auditor General (OAG) and the Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation conducted a parallel audit of the management of fish resources in the Barents Sea and the Norwegian Sea from 2006 to 2007. The investigation was formally launched after an agreement of intent between the OAG and the Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation was signed in January 2006.

The objective of the investigation has been to assess goal achievement and the efficiency and effectiveness of national follow-up and implementation of bilateral agreements between Russia and Norway and decisions taken by the Joint Norwegian-Russian Fisheries

The audit was performed in parallel in the sense that common general audit questions and audit criteria were defined and the same outline used for the reports. The two audit reports were written separately and on the basis of independent information. A major element in the parallel audit has been reciprocal learning, and emphasis has therefore been placed on detailed descriptions of the organisation and working methods of Norwegian fisheries management.

In the period January – April 2006, common goals, audit questions and general audit criteria were drawn up by means of a written dialogue between the parties. At the meeting in Moscow in May 2006, the parties arrived at common audit questions, and an agreement was signed in June 2006. The working parties met again in September in Norway to go through methodological approach and preliminary findings and to implement joint audit procedures.

In October 2006, the parties reached agreement on a common outline for the two reports. This chapter briefly presents the methods and analytical concepts that have been used to study the various audit questions (topics). The analysis rests largely on three types of source: official documents, statistical material and records of qualitative interviews. The contents of all interview records have been verified by the informants.

A joint memorandum was signed by the Auditors General of the two countries on 18 June 2007.