Wednesday 1 November 2017

Agenda item 1. Election of officers
Agenda item 2. Adoption of the agenda and organization of work

Opening: Gerard Ee, Singapore, President of the Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants, Chair of the thirty-third session of ISAR

Opening remarks: UNCTAD secretariat

Election of Chair and Vice-Chair-cum Rapporteur

Introductory remarks: James Zhan, Director, Division on Investment and Enterprise, UNCTAD

High-Level panel: Recent developments on financial and non-financial reporting and their implication for the SDGs

This High-Level panel will review recent trends in the area of enterprise reporting. In particular, it will discuss how the role of accounting and reporting could be further enhanced to facilitate the implementation of 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Key stakeholders will present their perspectives, including the views of Governments, accounting standard-setters, the accounting profession and the private sector, among others.

In particular, the following issues will be addressed:

  • What is the impact of 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development on recent developments in accounting and reporting?
  • What are the key initiatives in the area of financial, non-financial/sustainability/ESG and integrated reporting at the global, regional and national levels which could help enhance the role of reporting for sustainable development? What is their impact on strengthening financial stability, improving financial markets regulation, and facilitating investment flows for development and financial inclusion of micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises?
  • How can accounting and reporting help to address issues of climate change, environment protection and social development? How can they contribute to building effective, accountable and transparent institutions at all levels?
  • What are the key regulatory, institutional and human capacity building challenges in this regard?
  • How could cooperation and coordination among key stakeholders in accounting and reporting be further strengthened, including with regard to the integration of non-financial/sustainability information into companies’ reporting cycle? How to facilitate regulator collaboration at the national level? Are there best practices and lessons learned?
  • How could the ISAR programme of UNCTAD contribute further towards enhancing the role of accounting and reporting in the attainment of the SDGs?

Vania da Costa Borgerth, Superintendent of Controlling, Brazilian Development Bank
Amaro Luiz de Oliveira Gomes, Chair, Emerging Economies Group, International Accounting Standards Board
Jarett Decker, Head, Centre for Financial Reporting Reform, The World Bank
In-Ki Joo, Deputy President, International Federation of Accountants
David Szafran, Member of the Supervisory Board, Financial Services and Markets Authority of Belgium

Plenary discussion

Lunch break
Working lunch for ISAR speakers and guests (by invitation)

Agenda Item 3. Enhancing comparability of sustainability reporting: Selection of core indicators for company reporting on the contribution towards the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals

The panel will discuss key initiatives in the area of enterprise non-financial reporting focusing at the SDG reporting, address the issues of their coordination and harmonization with a view to facilitating its comparability and usefulness, as well as improving its consistency with financial reporting frameworks and requirements. References will be made to a joint UNCTAD-UN Environment draft metadata guidance on sustainability reporting (in progress) and to the proposal on a limited number of core universal SDG indicators for company reporting in alignment with the SDG monitoring framework.

In particular, the following issues will be addressed:

  • What are the key international, regional or national initiatives on SDG reporting by companies?
  • Is comparability of SDG reporting by companies achievable? Is there a need for a benchmark to facilitate the progress of harmonization of the SDG reporting?
  • Are there universal accounting and reporting indicators, alignable with relevant SDG macro indicators, which could form such benchmark as core indicators for SDG/sustainability/integrated reporting by companies?
  • The draft metadata guidance on sustainability reporting requires a definition of sustainability reporting and key criteria to ensure its quality. What could be a consensus on these matters?
  • In order to monitor the progress on the SDG reporting by companies, specific databases/depositories should be established. Are there good practices in this area? What are the main challenges in creating mechanisms for collecting such information?
  • SDG target 12.6. requires countries to encourage companies to integrate sustainability information into their reporting cycle. How could this be facilitated, and should there be specific indicators to measure the progress in this area?
  • Would developing guidance on core SDG indicators for companies be useful to policy-makers, especially in developing countries and countries with economies in transition to facilitate their reporting on the private sector contribution to the SDG agenda?
  • How can global forums, such as ISAR, further contribute to consensus-building on these core indicators as means to enhance the SDG monitoring mechanism?

Introductory remarks: Tatiana Krylova, Head, Enterprise Branch, UNCTAD

Elisa Tonda, Head, Responsible Industry and Value Chain Unit, UN Environment (by video-conference)
Teresa Fogelberg, Deputy Chief Executive, Global Reporting Initiative
Neil Stevenson, Managing Director, Global Implementation, International Integrated Reporting Council
Githa Roelans, Head, Multinational Enterprises and Enterprise Engagement Unit, International Labour Organization
James Donovan, Global President and Chief Executive, ADEC Innovations
Michal Shinwell, Policy Analyst – Measuring Well-Being and Progress, OECD

Cocktail Reception

Thursday 2 November 2017

Agenda Item 3. (continued) Enhancing comparability of sustainability reporting: Selection of core indicators for company reporting on the contribution towards the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals

This panel will continue deliberations on sustainability and SDG reporting, focusing on the experience of enterprises. This will include discussions of selected case studies prepared by companies, with a view to providing insights into approaches and challenges on SDG reporting, as well as facilitating the discussion of issues in the practical application of selected SDG indicators.

In particular, the following issues will be addressed:

  • What are the evolving company practices on sustainability/SDG reporting and integrated reporting?
  • What are some of the most frequently used sustainability and SDG indicators in company reporting?
  • What challenges do companies experience in preparing such reports, and how they can be addressed?
  • What impact do these reports have on companies’ performance and relationships with their stakeholders?
  • Are there specific challenges with regard to consistency between financial reporting and sustainability or SDG related issues?
  • What kind of challenges do companies and their report users face with regard to comparability of provided data?
  • Should small and medium-sized enterprises be affected by SDG reporting requirements?
  • What are the main lessons learned so far by users and preparers of sustainability information that could help improve the quality and comparability of such information?

Rosa M. Garcia Pineiro, President of Alcoa Foundation
Jimmy Greer, Head of Sustainability, ACCA
Gulen Tambe, Partner, Financial Services, EY
Roland Schatz, Founder, Global Sustainability Index Institute Foundation
Alex Silva, Integrated Reporting Specialist, Itau Unibanco
Mario Abela, UNCTAD resource person

Plenary discussion
Lunch break

Agenda item 4. The role of disclosure in risk assessment and enhancing the usefulness of corporate reporting in decision-making

This panel will discuss recent developments in the area of disclosures and risk assessment, from the perspective of decision-making in investment strategy, allocation and regulation. Panelists will provide perspectives of professional services firms, companies, regulators and other key stakeholders.
In particular, the following issues will be addressed:

  • What are the main challenges in establishing harmonized standards for disclosures, especially among listed or multinational companies? What needs to be done to better align risk disclosures in financial statements and narrative reporting in other parts of corporate reports? Are there good practices to be shared?
  • What is the optimal level of disclosure, which can balance the information needs of users and the capabilities of preparers, as well as address issues in transparency and confidentiality?
  • Is consistency required between disclosures for financial and non-financial information? What are the main challenges?
  • Should risk disclosure requirements and guidelines take into consideration the specific challenges of large private companies, SMEs and the public sector, as well as companies operating in developing countries and countries with economies in transition?
  • How can global forums such as ISAR further contribute to consensus-building on the topic of risk disclosure?

Introductory remarks: Dr. Amir Amel-Zadeh, UNCTAD resource person

Andrew Watchman, Chief Executive Officer and Technical Expert Group Chairman, European Financial Reporting Advisory Group
Ewald Muller, Managing Director, Supervision and Authorization, Qatar Financial Centre Regulatory Authority
Lapo Guadagnuolo, Managing Director & Head of Analytics & Research, S&P Global Ratings
Mandy Kirby, Director of Reporting, Assessment and Accountability, Principles for Responsible Investment
Vincent Papa, Director, Financial Reporting Policy, CFA Institute

Plenary discussion

Friday 3 November 2017

Meeting of formal members of ISAR (by invitation)

Consideration of outcomes of agenda items 3 and 4

Agenda item 5 – Other business
Agenda item 5(a) – Accounting Development Tool implementation experiences

The panelists will share their country’s experience in the implementation of ISAR’s Accounting Development Tool (ADT), emphasizing findings, challenges and lessons learned related to regulatory, institutional and capacity building issues. The session will also review recent updates to the ADT.

In particular, the following issues will be addressed:

  • What are the main benefits and outcomes of the ADT implementation in the country?
  • Has the ADT implementaion contributed to improvements in regulatory, institutional and human capacity building? Has it been useful in monitoring the progress over time?
  • Has the ADT been useful in facilitating stakeholder dialogue at the national level?
  • The ADT inter alia addresses issues on accounting for MSMEs; should a separate chapter on MSMEs be created in order to enhance the ADT applicability in this area?
  • Should the chapter on accounting for the public sector be expanded?
  • Are there other issues to be condidered to foster ADT implementation around the world?

Introductory remarks: UNCTAD secretariat

Wilmar Franco, President, Technical Council of Accounting, Ministry of Trade and Industry, Colombia
Leonid Shneydman, Head, Regulations of Accounting, Financial Reporting and Auditing, Ministry of Finance, Russian Federation
Drissa Koné, Technical Expert, Organization for the Harmonization of Business Law in Africa
Tetiana Iefymenko, President of the Academy of Financial Management, Ministry of Finance of Ukraine

Plenary discussion
Lunch break

Agenda item 5 – Other business (cont.)
Agenda item 5 (b) Accounting and Reporting by MSMEs as a means towards financial inclusion

This panel will discuss the role of standard-setters, national regulators, regional and international organizations, the private sector and other stakeholders in harnessing the potential of accounting by micro, small and medium-sized enterprises to achieve financial inclusion and access to finance.

In particular, the following issues will be addressed:

  • What is the role of accounting and reporting in addressing issues of financial inclusion and financial literacy?Are there good practices at the international, regional and national levels in this area? What are the key challenges in this regard?
  • What platforms, training products and information technology tools are available to further enhance the role of MSMEs accounting in sustainable development and inclusive access to finance?
  • How can the agenda on accounting for MSMEs be further advanced, including by international forums such as ISAR?

Introductory remarks: Yoseph Asmelash, Economic Affairs Officer, UNCTAD

Fredrick Riaga, Senior Manager, Public Policy, Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Kenya, and
Alexei Estrella Morales, Member – Ecuador, SME Implementation Group, International Accounting Standards Board
Vickson Ncube, Chief Executive, Pan-African Federation of Accountants
Lim Ju May, Deputy Director, Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants
Richard Martin, Head, Corporate Reporting, Association of Chartered Certified Accountants
Frank Grozel, Economics Affairs Officer, UNCTAD Accounting and Formalization joint platform

Consideration of outcomes of agenda items 5 (a) and 5 (b)

Agenda item 6. Provisional agenda for the thirty-fifth session of ISAR
Agenda item 7. Adoption of the report