Joint final report on findings concerning the implementation of provisions of the convention on the protection of the marine environment of the Baltic Sea area (the Helsinki Convention) 2001
Report ID: 42

In  2000, the SAIs of  Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, the Russian Federation and Sweden decided to carry out a parallel audit to assess the implementation of the provisions of the Helsinki Convention of 1992, previously encompassed by the 1974 Convention, related to the protection of the Baltic Sea against land-originating pollution.

The participating SAIs prepared a common Audit Programme signed in Stockholm in May 2000.

The audits were undertaken on the initiative of the Supreme Chamber of Control of the Republic of Poland, with consideration of the INTOSAI and EUROSAI guidelines on initiating and conducting international and regional audits of the implementation of tasks arising from provisions of international agreements related to environment protection.

In particular the SAIs examined:

  • Whether national legislation takes into account the provisions of the Helsinki Convention related to the protection of the Baltic Sea against pollution,
  • Whether control procedures and measures are in place in this respect,
  • The use of public funds for the implementation of tasks related to the protection of the Baltic Sea waters,
  • Audit of the non-point sources of pollution, mainly from agriculture,
  • Audit of land-based point pollution sources, regarding mainly urban zones and municipal wastewater treatment plants.

The audits scope covered the period between 1996 and 1999. The audit was carried out during the second half of 2000 and the first quarter of 2001. The audit findings were presented in the second quarter of 2001 in the form of national reports. Summaries of these reports served as a basis for preparation of this Joint Final Report.


Fisheries management and monitoring of environmental impact on fish resources in the Baltic sea
Report ID: 159

1. In 2008 the Supreme Audit Institutions of Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Russia, and Sweden conducted an audit of environmental monitoring and fisheries management and control in the Baltic Sea. The Supreme Audit Institutions in Estonia, Finland, Lithuania, Russia, and Sweden did not participate in the audit of the environmental monitoring in the Baltic Sea. The Supreme Audit Institutions of Latvia, Poland and Germany did not participate in the audit of fisheries management and control in the Baltic Sea. The audit was performed as a performance and compliance audit and covered the period 2005-2007.

2. The audit was divided into two parts: The first part was about environmental monitoring in the Baltic Sea and the second part was about fisheries management and control in the Baltic Sea.

3. The overall objective of the first part was to assess whether the signatory states of the Helsinki Convention are complying with the standards of the Cooperative Monitoring in the Baltic Marine Environment (COMBINE) and how the Baltic Sea Action Plan (BSAP) will affect national monitoring.

4. The overall objective of the second part was to conduct a review of fisheries management and control in the Baltic Sea.

5. The first and the second part of the audit share the following overall objective: How have the monitoring and fisheries control authorities contributed to preserve the marine environment and protect the fish stock in the Baltic Sea.

6. The relevant national legislation in the EU Member States is supposed to be within the frame set by the EU. However, the monitoring and fisheries management and control strategies may differ significantly among the individual countries, and comparative analyses may provide an overview of what is considered good practice. Furthermore, Russian fisheries legislation is, naturally, not adjusted to the EU-regulations. The Russian Federation’s national fishery legislation takes into consideration the requirements and provisions of nine international conventions and agreements related to fishery issues in the Baltic Sea. Moreover, Russia still adheres to the recommendations of the International Baltic Sea Fisheries Commission (IBSFC) in spite of the fact that it was dissolved in 2004.

7. The audit was planned and conducted as a parallel audit. A parallel audit means that the participating audit institutions audit the same audit objectives in their respective countries and identify relevant audit criteria and audit methods together. However, it is up to the individual supreme audit institution to decide how to conduct the audit and which audit criteria and audit methods to apply in the audit. The Joint Final Report is prepared on the basis of the data provided by the participating supreme audit institutions.

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.

Pacific Regional Report of the Cooperative Performance Audit: Managing Sustainable Fisheries
Report ID: 237

This report provides a regional overview of the process and outcomes of the third Cooperative Performance Audit in the Pacific region. At the aggregate level, it reports the significant findings about managing sustainable fisheries (in particular the tuna fishery) in the nine Pacific island countries, which were the focus of the audit. The report also records the achievements against Pacific Regional Audit Initiative (PRAI) objectives, including building performance auditing capacity within PASAI.

Nine PASAI member audit offices took part in the audit: PICT 1, the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), Fiji, PICT 2, Palau, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Tonga and Tuvalu. Owing to confidentiality reasons, the reports of two SAIs are not identified in this regional report, as they have not yet been made public within their jurisdictions. As a result, these Pacific island states are referred to as Pacific Island Country and Territory (PICT) - PICT 1 and 2. Of the SAIs participating in the third cooperative audit, the majority had participated in either the first or the second cooperative audit. The Solomon Islands SAI was new to the cooperative performance audit approach.

Key Findings

The main findings from each of the three lines of enquiry are presented below:

  1. The overall finding for the first line of enquiry is that, while government objectives are set out in legislation, these objectives need to be reflected in sector planning arrangements.
  2. The overall finding for the second line of enquiry is that, while there have been important sub-regional developments, it is difficult to provide assurance that economic returns to the Pacific island states involved in this audit, are uniformly fair and reasonable.
  3. The overall finding for the third line of enquiry is that the accuracy of fishery data collection and analysis procedures as the basis for good decision making are less than optimal.

Coastal and Marine Environments in Africa: A Cooperative Audit by the African Organisation of English-Speaking Supreme Audit Institutions (AFROSAI-E)
Report ID: 240

In 2017, AFROSAI-E initiated a cooperative project to audit coastal and marine environments in Africa. Six Supreme Audit Institutions from the region participated. This publication expands on the process followed and the common findings among the participating countries.

AFROSAI-E (African Organisation of English-Speaking Supreme Audit Institutions), with the support of the GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit), initiated a project in 2017 to capacitate SAIs of countries with coastal areas, to conduct audits to:

  • Assess the state of coastal ecosystems;
  • Understand the significant issues and coastal zone management risks for coastal communities;
  • Make recommendations for improvement.

The AFROSAI-E region has 16 member countries that are coastal states, two of which are island states. Six SAIs agreed to participate in this cooperative audit using a mix of both performance and compliance audit principles and methodology. The six SAIs are Liberia, Mauritius, Namibia, Seychelles, Sudan and Tanzania.


Lack of public awareness of coastal environmental issues: Three of the participating SAIs found that there is limited general awareness and understanding by the public of the importance of the marine environment and related pollution and degradation issues.

Outdated and insufficient legislation/ policies and poor alignment with international commitments: Almost all the participating SAIs found that legislation, policies and plans related to coastal management and protection are outdated and insufficient to address many of the current environmental risks.

Inadequate human and technical resources: Two SAIs found that there are inadequate human and technical resources (satellite surveillance systems, vessel monitoring systems, boats for inspections etc.) to manage and monitor coastlines and marine environments. Human resources also lack the necessary competencies and understanding of marine-related environmental risks and issues. Technical resources and infrastructure essential to the guarding of the coastal zones are scarcely available.

Too many silos and too little coordination: Three of the six SAIs found that the relevant sector (coastal/marine environment) policies are fragmented. Limited or no cooperative arrangements and coordination exist among the various spheres of government and relevant stakeholders, to manage and protect coastal regions and related resources.

Inadequate data, statistics and information systems: Three of the participating SAIs found that national data, statistics and information systems that inform decisions and coastal programmes are inadequate or completely unavailable. For example, statistics on threatened marine species and fishing activities as well as data on the health status of marine environments and the levels of coastal degradation are not available.

Inadequate monitoring of coastal resources and poor enforcement of legislation: All six SAIs found that monitoring of coastal resources and enforcement of legislation are inadequate.

Ineffective performance indicators to monitor progress: Two SAIs found that either no key performance indicators are being implemented to measure progress in achieving objectives on the management and condition of coastal and marine resources, or the indicators used are ineffective.

Insufficient coastal response strategies specific to climate change risks: Almost all the participating SAIs found that climate change response strategies related to coastal environments are insufficient or non-existent.