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Speech by Mr Mihkel Oviir, the Auditor General of the National Audit Office of Estonia, Chair of INTOSAI WGEA

Distinguished Auditor General Mr. Liu Jiayi, dear guests of ASOSAI Seminar on Environmental Audit,


first of all I would like to express my gratitude to the hosts of this meeting for inviting us to the beautiful Hangzhou and for the excellent hospitality! As a Chair of INTOSAI Working Group on Environmental Auditing I bring you the warmest greetings from our Working Group.


However, we keep in mind why today’s meeting takes place here in Hangzhou. Originally, we were supposed to meet in another beautiful city - Chengdu - over 1,000 kilometres from here. But the nature stepped in - its forces may be constructive as well as destructive. Five months ago the nature revealed its destructive side as the Province of Sichuan was struck by a devastating earthquake which caused the death of nearly 100,000 people and brought suffering to millions. Today, our thoughts are with those who are no longer among us. And with those who are rebuilding what has been destroyed, regardless of all the difficulties. Let these thoughts be of support to Auditor General, Mr Liu Jiayi, who formerly worked for years in Chengdu, in the Province of Sichuan and who therefore feels all the pain caused by this natural disaster in his heart and soul more directly than any of us.


Our today’s meeting is characterised by environmental concerns: how to ensure both - environmental protection and the economic development of countries. In other words - I think that environmental auditors all over the World have a similar idea - to use the power of public sector audit for improving the quality of the environment, the management of natural resources, and the health and prosperity of people.


I wish balanced debates and constructive discussions for all of us, because co-operation between governments and nations is the only way of achieving progress in the modern world.


Thank you for attention!