One of the basic parameters for analyzing the quality of a democracy is the efficiency of the accountability and transparency mechanisms for the management of public resources. The United Nations General Assembly, through resolution A/RES/66/209 on the promotion of efficiency, accountability, effectiveness and transparency of public administration through the strengthening of SAIs, has recognised that these elements bring together unique conditions for serving the public, promoting effective public governance, increasing the efficiency of public administration, improving development outcomes and fostering trust in government.
To address these challenges, in the 10th General Assembly, held in Brasilia in 2000, OLACEFS created the Special Technical Commission on Public Ethics, Administrative Probity and Transparency (CEPAT), “in order to support the development of OLACEFS in matters of Ethics, Administrative Probity and Transparency, through study, research and proposals on policy and methodology which together help optimise the exercise of the supreme audit function.” Later, in the 15th General Assembly held in San Salvador in 2005, the Technical Commission on Accountability (CTRC) was created by SAI’s as one of the primary ways of guaranteeing the proper functioning of the accountability system; this, through its steering role and coordination of the control and supervision systems of the respective countries, and also through the commission’s capacity to appraise management reported in the accountability process, in order to further develop this area in the region.
The next step came in 2009 with the approval of the Declaration of Asuncion of Principles of Accountability, specifically addressing issues related to transparency and good governance and emphasising how accountability allows for the governance of countries, where governance is understood to be the ability of governments to effectively use public resources in meeting common needs and increase the welfare of the citizenry. In turn, it accords SAIs prevalence in these matters, seeing them as promoters of principles, systems and efficient accountability mechanisms that help to institutionalize more transparent and reflective decision-making processes, which invariably translate into better-quality public policies and decisions.
As the aims of both the CEPAT and CTRC Committees are closely related, they were urged at the 54th OLACEFS Board of Directors Meeting to start a joint process of reflection on the possibility of thematic linking.
At the same time, and following international trends, the Declaration of Santiago on “governance, the fight against corruption and public trust” was signed at the 23rd OLACEFS General Assembly, held in Santiago de Chile in 2013. The Declaration states that expectations concerning SAIs are no longer confined to their complying with the classic tasks of fiscal control; they are also expected to contribute with their specific abilities to the development of good governance. It was further noted that the value OLACEFS has added to fiscal control in Latin America and the Caribbean is based on the valuable contribution made by its Committees, Commissions and Working Groups and their ability to respond to the new needs and demands of society, including new fields of action in matters of control and transparency and new guidelines for the proper management of public resources.
In this context it was decided at the 23rd OLACEFS Ordinary General Assembly, held in Santiago de Chile – also in 2013 – to create a new commission to merge the objectives of the Special Technical Commission on Public Ethics, Administrative Probity and Transparency, and the Technical Committee on Accountability, based on the prerogatives accorded by Article 14 paragraph 9 of the Charter of the Organization.
The terms of reference of the new commission were set out in Havana, Cuba, in 2014, defining the mission, vision and aims of the body. The SAI of Argentina was made chair.
In May 2014, at the 59th Board of Director’s Meeting held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, the terms of reference were approved, thereby formally marking the start of the Technical Commission on Good Governance (CTPBG).
For more information on the Technical Commission for Good Governance Practices (CTPBG), follow this link: