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The Cour des comptes (Court of Accounts) has a longstanding experience of being appointed as External Auditor of International Organisations. Driven by the core values of independence, excellence, integrity and professionalism, the Cour des comptes is constantly striving to improve its practices and build on the diversity of experience gained during its previous mandates to best serve the international organisations it audits.

Its long and rich experience enables it to contribute to the modernisation of these organisations, to disseminate the best practices identified during audits and to offer guarantees that the work is carried out in accordance with the highest international standards.

The Cour des comptes has continually provided external auditing of at least one organization linked to the United Nations for almost 35 years, including:

  • World Meteorological Organisation (WMO, 1984-2003)
  • United Nations Organisation itself with its almost 30 related entities (UN, 1986-1989; 2001-2009 and 2022-2028)
  • United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO, 1994-2001)
  • Interpol (2005-2010),
  • United Nations Education Social and Cultural Organisation (Unesco, 2006-2011, 2012-2017)
  • International Organisation of la Francophonie (OIF, 2007-2013)
  • World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO, 2008-2009)
  • European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (Eumetsat, 2008- 2012)
  • International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO, 2008-2013)
  • Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD, 2008-2018)
  • Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organisation (CTBTO, 2009-2017)
  • ICC (International Criminal Court, 2012-2019)
  • World Food Programme (WFP, 2016-2021)
  • World Trade Organisation (WTO, 2008-2013 and 2020-2025)
  • Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe, (OSCE, 2020-2023)

The actual mandates

The First President of the Court currently exercises the duties of External Auditor of the following international organisations:

  • CoE (Council of Europe, 2019-2023)
  • WTO (World Trade Organization, 2020-2025)
  • United Nations (2022-2028)

The method

The role of the External Auditor is to audit the Organisation’s annual financial statements and examine the compliance and performance of its management and administration. Financial audit aims at providing an independent opinion, indicating whether, in all of their significant aspects, the financial statements present a fair view of the Organisation’s financial position, in accordance with the relevant accounting standards, generally the International Public Sector Accounting Standards (Ipsas). The Cour des comptes plays a part in several international auditing and accounting standard-setting bodies and has a representative in the Ipsas Board.

Its yearly audits of the financial statements of Organisations are conducted in accordance with the International Standards of Supreme Audit Institutions (Issai), the Guidelines for Good Governance issued by the International Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions (Intosai GOV) and the International Standards on Auditing (ISA) developed by the International Auditing and Assurance Standard Body (IAASB).

Besides, the Cour des comptes mandate frequently include compliant and performance audits at the Headquarters or in the country offices of the Organisation, to determine whether operations and support functions are managed in a compliant, economical, effective and efficient manner through.

Whatever the field of action, the Cour des comptes systematically applies five principles:

  1. Risk-based approaches
  2. Collaboration with internal audit
  3. Audit traceability
  4. Clearance and quality control
  5. Follow-up of recommendations

The Cour des comptes bases all its financial and performance audits and their planning on a strategic approach with three essential objectives:

  1. Deep understanding of the Organisation
  2. Assessment of its internal control system
  3. Identification of major risks

The External Audit Manager presents the annual audit workplan embodying this approach to the Organisations’ Governing bodies and their Audit Committees.

At the end of each audit, the management enjoys enough time to raise objections, in a justified manner, with regard to the facts and data presented in the Cour des comptes draft reports. After every corrections and incorporation of the management’s formal comments, the External Auditor presents his final reports to the Organisation’s Governing bodies. He also provides them with an annual follow up of his recommendations.

Read the reports on the World Food Program:

Report of the External Auditor on oversight by management

Report of the External Auditor on the management of cooperating partners

External Auditor's Report on country portfolio budgets

External Auditor's report on the prevention, detection and repression of fraud

External auditor's report on losses related to food supplies