On July 13, at 11:00 am in Lima, 12:00 am in Santiago and Washington DC and 1:00 pm in Buenos Aires, a webinar was held on the “Mapping of Digital Technology, Data and Innovation of OLACEFS,” organized by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the Executive Secretariat of the Latin American and Caribbean Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (OLACEFS). The purpose of this conference, which was held through the Zoom platform, was to present the results of the digital technology mapping and point out how SAIs use technology to improve their control processes, as well as learn about the main regional initiatives in this area and the possible prospects for cooperation between our institutions.
With more than 560 people connected from around 12 countries in the Americas and the Caribbean, the conference was moderated by Macarena Rojas, in charge of Data Governance of the SAI of Chile, and included the welcoming words of Mr. Jorge Bermúdez Soto, Comptroller General of the Republic of Chile and Executive Secretary of OLACEFS, who highlighted the importance of having a study of this type, emphasizing the need to incorporate technology in the audit processes, training teams and considering the ethical dimension in the use of ICTs. All this in a pandemic environment that has generated political, economic, social and environmental crises in our countries.
Subsequently, Ms. Deborah Sprietzer, Lead Fiduciary Specialist and Allizon Milicich, Senior Fiduciary Specialist, both in IDB Financial Management, spoke about the “Publication and Main Results of the Mapping of Initiatives and Needs in Digital Technology, Data and Innovation of OLACEFS,” for which they first indicated the high interest of the region’s SAIs to participate in the study, as well as the lack of a digital inventory and data uses to identify needs as well as good practices on the part of the OLACEFS member SAIs, which led to this study. Lastly, they indicated that most of the SAIs consulted have digital means for the execution of their key processes, but they do not have software architects on staff in the offices or units in charge of ICT issues.
Next to speak was Dr. Francisco Javier Fernández, Auditor General of the Argentine Nation and President of the Commission for Information and Communication Technologies of OLACEFS (CTIC), who, together with his strategic coordinator, Mr. Federico Villa, presented the “Follow-up to the initiatives and needs in digital technology, data and innovation of OLACEFS,” highlighting that the mission of the CTIC is focused on being able to work assuming the digital challenges of the time with the responsibilities as public control body members. In addition, he indicated the need of a permanent search to improve public administration, allowing greater efficiency in the management of the State and, consequently, being able to contribute to enriching the quality of life of citizens. Finally, Mr. Fernández highlighted the ongoing work of the CTIC, the formation of the work force on Big Data and Artificial Intelligence and the implementation of the Open Data Portal for OLACEFS.
Next to present were Mr. Roberto de Michele, Principal Specialist and Mr. Nicolás Dassen, Senior Specialist, both from the IDB’s State Modernization Division, who spoke about the “Next Steps in the IDB’s Framework for Institutional Strengthening of the Supreme Control Bodies.” On the occasion, both representatives highlighted the regional and cross-cutting approach of the mapping, and the structured and systemic vision of the study. They also indicated that they are interested in continuing to support projects of this type, which could be done through traditional loans, as well as using other non-reimbursable financial instruments for technological strengthening.
Finally, the closing remarks of the webinar were given by Mr. Nelson Schack Yalta, Comptroller General of the Republic of Peru and President of OLACEFS, who indicated that the implementation of technology in SAIs also implies changes in the organizational culture. He also highlighted that, years ago, in the Moscow Declaration, the world’s SAIs committed themselves to applying new technologies to carry out their work. Finally, he indicated that the COVID-19 pandemic generated a dramatic change in people’s lives, which also impacted the way in which governments provide public goods and services, which translates into the challenge of embracing digital transformation, both in the operation of public institutions, as well as in the control work carried out by SAIs.