PANAJI: The SAI20 Summit under India’s G20 Presidency began today in Goa. Shri Girish Chandra Murmu, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India, as the Chair of the Supreme Audit Institutions-20 (SAI20) Engagement Group, led the deliberations.
In his opening address, CAG highlighted that the Supreme Audit Institutions have a crucial role to play in the audit of Blue Economy and Responsible AI to ensure good governance, transparency and accountability and to optimise their positive impact on humankind. CAG further stated that though the audit of Blue Economy and Responsible AI is challenging, their all-pervasive, cross-cutting nature compounded with evolving technology and usage, necessitate close cooperation among the SAIs for knowledge sharing and capacity building.
While recognizing the importance of sustainability, growth and role of emerging technologies, he informed that the SAI20, priority areas – “Blue Economy” and “Responsible Artificial Intelligence” represents the new-age opportunities and concerns and these underline the need for genuine cooperation, CAG informed that in an effort to understand the global experiences and initiatives and to know how external stakeholders view the emerging role of Audit in these areas, they interacted with many domain experts from government and the private sector and conducted seminars on these themes during the last few months.
While explaining the criticality of the priority area of Blue Economy, CAG stated that as the Blue Economy gains primacy, so will its audit. CAG urged that in order to keep ahead of the curve, the SAI20 community must prioritize collaborations in arriving at new techniques, skills, capabilities and methods and that SAIs must proactively formalize channels and platforms that would facilitate these collaborations.
While discussing the possibility and perils of AI, CAG emphasized that it was essential that policy makers put in place processes to responsibly harness the potential of this technology. CAG emphasized that as AI was making greater inroads into governance, SAIs must inevitably prepare themselves for auditing AI based governance systems and SAIs must look for opportunities to adopt AI into their audit techniques to increase their effectiveness.
CAG while announcing the establishment of a Center of Excellence in the Blue Economy at SAI India’s International Centre for Environment Audit and Sustainable Development (iCED), a recognised Global Training Facility for INTOSAI, said that the ball was set rolling in April 2023 with an international webinar on experience sharing by 7 SAIs represented by 32 participants on audit of blue economy related issues. CAG further emphasized that the vision was to create a Centre of excellence that not only fosters research but also acts as a catalyst for knowledge sharing and capacity building amongst SAIs in this important field.
CAG, Shri. Murmu remarked that the two Compendiums on Blue Economy and Responsible Artificial Intelligence could be brought out as a result of overwhelming support and contributions from various Supreme Audit Institutions and panelists of the sessions on Blue Economy and Artificial Intelligence.
Shri Amitabh Kant, G20 Sherpa, in his address, expressed that establishment of SAI20 is a very positive step as it has led to the creation of a network between the SAIs and the governments to coordinate and articulate strategies and provide opportunity to the SAIs to deliver as partners in governance and help in creating greater transparency and accountability.
Hon’ble Governor of the State of Goa, Shri P. S. Sreedharan Pillai, in his inaugural address, emphasised that the SAI20 Group under the aegis of G20 is expected to play a central role in strengthening governance and in delivery of a positive impact on the lives of Citizens. While emphasizing the role of SAIs, Hon’ble Governor stated that SAIs in their respective countries are a key pillar of accountability, effectiveness and ensuring integrity in governance.
The Heads of the delegations from the SAI20 member SAIs, Guest SAIs, Invited SAIs, International Organisations and Engagement Groups shared their views on the SAI20 Summit and its priority areas of Blue Economy and Responsible Artificial Intelligence through their general statements. The delegations in their General Statements agreed on the strong relevance of the priority areas while appreciating the efforts of SAI India in successfully taking ahead the SAI20 Engagement Group forum and providing the member SAIs opportunities to share their knowledge and experiences on the two priority areas through the compendiums. The delegates also appreciated the productiveness of the deliberations held so far in the SAI20 meetings during the chairmanship of SAI India.
During the meeting, insights on Responsible Artificial Intelligence were provided by eminent personalities in the field of technology, who shared their valuable knowledge and experience on the different aspects of the emerging technologies like Responsible Artificial Intelligence.
The SAI20 Summit saw a participation of about 85 National and International delegates from G20 member SAIs, viz. Australia, Brazil, Korea, Indonesia, India, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Turkiye; Guest SAIs, viz. Bangladesh, Egypt, Mauritius, Nigeria, Oman, Spain and UAE; Invited SAIs, viz. Morocco and Poland; International Organisation, viz. USAID and World Bank; and Engagement Groups viz. Think20 and Youth20.