Representatives From Over 30 Countries Discuss Public Financial Management for Economic Prosperity in Asia at CAPA and World Bank Forum

May 18, 2016 | Kuala Lumpur | English

Senior representatives from governments, Supreme Audit Institutions, and professional accountancy organizations representing virtually every country and jurisdiction in Asia gathered in Malaysia to discuss how improved public financial management can promote better public services, accountability and transparency to support poverty reduction and economic growth.

The 2nd Financial Reform for Economic Development (FRED II) Forum in Asia—hosted in Kuala Lumpur by the Confederation of Asian and Pacific Accountants (CAPA) and the World Bank—included thought leaders and development partners from 33 Asian jurisdictions, including larger economies such as China, India, and Japan, and smaller ones such as Afghanistan, Bhutan, and Cambodia. The two-day landmark forum was a joint initiative of CAPA and the World Bank, and strongly supported by the International Federation of Accountants® (IFAC®).

“The increasing economic significance of Asia, together with ASEAN’s economic integration, is a potential game-changer for many of the region’s nations. However, success will depend on wide and deep acceptance of the principles of effective, accountable, and transparent governance. This is especially true of Asia’s public sector institutions, which must set the right policy directions and deliver high quality sustainable services if they are to maximize opportunities for their citizens in the global economy,” said CAPA Chief Executive, Brian Blood.

In her message to the Forum on emerging trends in Asia, World Bank Governance Senior Director Deborah Wetzel said, “the scope of challenges we face across the world today makes our focus on improved and strengthened governance a critically important area—in the form of (i) open, effective and accountable institutions that promote inclusive development, respond to citizens, and promote citizen engagement; (ii) efficient revenue mobilization that allows governments to be more inclusive and comprehensive in service delivery and poverty reduction; and (iii) effective public institutions that are critical in underpinning sustainable growth.”

“Achieving sustainable economic growth requires the coordination of public and private sector leaders who are dedicated to sound decision making based on high-quality information, accountability, and transparency,” said Fayez Choudhury, Chief Executive Officer of IFAC. “The accountancy profession plays a critical role in ensuring that sound financial management practices—in both the public and the private sectors—lead to economic development both globally and in Asia, as the region looks to emerge from recent financial pressures. FRED II advances an important discussion about the effectiveness of public financial management in building and sustaining economies.”

Two key papers were highlighted at the forum: 

Attracting and Retaining Finance Personnel in the Public Sector—a solutions-oriented approach developed by CAPA to help jurisdictions embrace the challenge of identifying, attracting, and retaining professional accountants and other key financial personnel to the public sector.

Unravelling the Secrets of Successful Public Financial Management Reforms:  Is There a Role for Professional Accountancy Organizations?—a forthcoming knowledge product of the World Bank, this retrospective study analyzes country cases of successful PFM reforms across two regions of the Bank: South Asia Region and East Asia and the Pacific. Themes from the study shared at the Forum focused on identified opportunities for the public sector to partner with the private sector specifically including professional accountancy organizations (PAOs) to influence policy, build PFM skills and capacity, and provide sustainability to PFM reforms and their outcomes. The full paper will be launched later this year.

FRED II examined a range of themes related to the 2000 UN-backed Millennium Summit and the 2015 Sustainable Development Goals, focusing on the importance of effective, accountable, and transparent institutions in the developed and developing worlds. Discussions included:

  • Public-private partnerships and collaboration with the private sector;
  • Practical challenges in implementing accrual-based International Public Sector Accounting Standards;
  • How improved public financial management contributes to strengthening the public sector;
  • Attracting the next generation financial management professionals, especially for the public sector;
  • The role of the accountancy profession and the need for robust public audit; and
  • Rapidly aging demographics that have impacted growth and increased fiscal pressure in countries throughout the region.

Aspects of the Forum were sponsored by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA), and PwC Malaysia. 

About FRED
A joint initiative of the Confederation of Asian and Pacific Accountants (CAPA) and the World Bank, FRED—the Financial Reform for Economic Development Forum in Asia—was established in 2014. FRED I, held in Sri Lanka, explored the role of key participants in the financial reporting supply chain. FRED II, in Kuala Lumpur, will focus primarily on the role of the public sector, and the need for stronger public financial management to help the region’s nations grow. 

About CAPA
The Confederation of Asian and Pacific Accountants (CAPA)’s mission is to develop, coordinate and advance the accountancy profession in the region. It is recognized by the global accountancy profession, represented by the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC), as a regional organization representing national professional accountancy organizations (PAOs) in Asia Pacific. 

About the World Bank Group
The World Bank Group is a development finance institution that provides financial and technical assistance to developing countries around the world. Its mission centers around two main goals: Ending extreme poverty by 2030 by decreasing the percentage of people living on less than $1.90 a day to no more than 3 percent, and promoting shared prosperity by fostering the income growth of the bottom 40 percent for every country. The World Bank Group is headquartered in Washington, DC, and has more than 10,000 employees in more than 120 offices worldwide. 

About IFAC
IFAC is the global organization for the accountancy profession, dedicated to serving the public interest by strengthening the profession and contributing to the development of strong international economies. It is comprised of more than 175 members and associates in 130 countries and jurisdictions, representing almost 3 million accountants in public practice, education, government service, industry, and commerce. Accountability. Now. is an IFAC initiative to help drive awareness of the critical need for high-quality, transparent, comparable public sector financial reporting, and the importance of engaging citizens in the process of holding governments to account.


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