ISAR Update

This document has been reproduced without formal editing.
September 2015

In this issue:


UNCTAD-ISAR to hold its 32nd session in November in Geneva

UNCTAD’s Intergovernmental Working Group of Experts on International Standards of Accounting and Reporting (ISAR) will hold its thirty-second session at the Palais des Nations in Geneva from 4 to 6 November 2015. The session will deal with two main agenda items:

  • Key foundations of high-quality reporting: International audit and assurance requirements and good practices on their implementation; and
  • Review of good practices on enhancing the role of corporate reporting in attaining sustainable development goals.

The opening segment of the session will include a keynote address by Mr. Russell Golden, Chairman of the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) of the United States of America. The session will feature a number of panel discussions on the two main agenda items as well as related topics such as compliance-monitoring and enforcement of corporate reporting standards and requirements. A tentative programme of the session, including profiles of speakers will be posted in the coming days on the web site of the thirty-second session of ISAR.

To register for ISAR 32 please visit our online registration site by clicking here.
Separate registrations are necessary to participate in the workshops – see links below.
To access background documentation and additional information for the thirty-second session of ISAR and the workshops please click on the following link:

UNCTAD-ISAR organizing a workshop on practical implementation and challenges of International Public Sector Accounting Standards

On the occasion of the thirty-second session of ISAR, UNCTAD is organizing a workshop on the practical implementation of International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS). This event will take place on Tuesday, 3 November 2015 in Room XVIII in the Palais des Nations in Geneva. The first segment of the workshop will review the current status of IPSAS implementation and priority areas for further development. The second segment will focus on practical implementation experiences at a country level.To register for the workshop please click here.

Joint UNCTAD-GRI introductory workshop on sustainability reporting to take place in Geneva in November

Furthermore, UNCTAD and the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) are organizing a joint introductory workshop on sustainability reporting. This event will take place on Monday, 2 November 2015 in Room XXV of the Palais des Nations in Geneva. The workshop will focus on GRI’s Sustainability Reporting Framework and G4 Reporting Guidelines, which aims to provide governments and regulatory bodies with an overview of how sustainability reports contribute to transparency and accountability and how organisations preparing them are responding to increasing regulatory requirements.To register for the joint UNCTAD-GRI workshop please click here.

Please note that this workshop will be in English only.

Consultative Group on Corporate Reporting and the Sustainable Development Goals held meeting in Geneva

On 24 March 2015, the Consultative Group on corporate reporting and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) held a one-day meeting at the Palais des Nations in Geneva on 24 March 2015.  The meeting assessed the current state of corporate reporting and enhancements that need to be considered with a view to facilitating the positive role of enterprises towards attaining the SDGs. UNCTAD convened the Consultative Group in accordance with the agreement reached among member States at the thirty-first session of ISAR.  The UNCTAD secretariat has prepared an issues note based on the outcome of the deliberations of the Consultative Group. This issues paper will be considered by the forthcoming thirty-second session of ISAR under the second main agenda item indicated above.

Consultative Group on Compliance-monitoring and Enforcement met in Geneva

On 16 June 2015 the Consultative Group on Compliance-Monitoring and Enforcement held a meeting at the Palais des Nations in Geneva. The Consultative Group exchanged views and identified some good practices for consideration in developing guidance on compliance-monitoring and enforcement of corporate reporting standards and requirements. UNCTAD convened the Consultative Group in accordance with the agreement reached among member States at the thirty-first session of ISAR. It is to be recalled that in concluding its thirty-first session, ISAR called on UNCTAD to establish a Consultative Group comprised of key international experts and organizations in this area with a view to preparing a guidance document on this topic for policy makers. The UNCTAD secretariat is in the process of finalizing the guidance document for future consideration by the ISAR Working Group of Experts.

Joint UNCTAD-GRI event on how corporate reporting can help in attaining the SDGs held on 6 July in New York

Within the United Nations High Level Political Forum (HLPF), UNCTAD and GRI, in collaboration with the Chair of the European Union, and the Ambassador of the Permanent Mission of Peru to the United Nations in New York, jointly organized a side even on How corporate reporting can help attain the SDGs and enrich an implementation and review framework that took place on 6 July 2015, in the United Nations Head Quarters in New York. The event brought together the UN permanent representatives, representatives from capitals, UN agencies, private sector and civil society to interactively discuss the important role of corporate reporting in the post-2015 development agenda and how it could be further enhanced. It specifically discussed the role that reporting can play in implementation and review (on national, regional and global levels) of the SDGs, and tools that are available or should be developed to measure the contribution of the private sector in this area. The inter-governmental negotiations have illustrated the commitment that member States have to develop a robust, effective and transparent follow-up and review framework. The overarching direction is that this will be anchored in strong national ownership, and might also operate at regional and global levels. It could also include follow-up progress by other actors, such as the private sector, in supporting the implementation of the post-2015 development agenda.

UNCTAD XIV and World Investment Forum to be held in March 2016 in Lima

The Fourteenth Quadrennial Ministerial conference of UNCTAD will take place in Lima, Peru from 14-18 March 2016.  The Conference will bring together heads of government, ministers and other prominent players from the international organizations, business world, civil society and academia to tackle global trade and economic development issues.  The week-long Conference will feature ministerial debates, high-level round tables, thematic events and a Civil Society Forum, among other events.  The World Investment Forum 2016 will take place from 14-17 March in Lima in parallel with the UNCTAD XIV conference.  It will continue to serve as the global forum for inclusive dialogue and policy formulation on investment-development needs at the highest level, bringing together investment partners to discuss challenges, opportunities and policy solution to meet the SDGs.

News briefs:


European Commission Adopts report on use of International Financial Reporting Standards in the European Union

In mid June 2015, the European Commission adopted a report on the evaluation of its Regulation on the application of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) in the European Union. Since 2005, IFRS have been required for preparation of consolidated financial statements of listed companies in the European Union. The key findings of the European Commission on its evaluation showed IFRS have been successful in creating a common accounting language for capital markets. Companies had indicated that their experiences of using IFRS had been mostly positive and in most cases benefits outweighed costs. Investors also largely supported IFRS for improving the transparency and comparability of financial statements. Most stakeholders indicated that the process through which IFRS become part of EU law works well.  The evaluation was part of the Commission’s broader review of existing regulation, known as the Regulatory Fitness and Performance Programme.  Further information on this evaluation can be accessed by clicking here.

IFIAR members reach agreement on MoU for information sharing

At their annual meeting which took place in Taipei at the end of April 2015, members of the International Forum of Independent Audit Regulators (IFIAR) agreed in principle on a multi-lateral Memorandum of Understanding intended to facilitate sharing of information among themselves pertaining to inspection of audit firms and related enforcement actions and outcomes. The MoU was subsequently adopted and published at the end of June 2015. Further information on this news item can be accessed by clicking here.

The IASB completes comprehensive review of the IFRS for SMEs

The International Accounting Standards Board announced on 21 May 2015 that it had completed a comprehensive review of its International Financial Reporting Standard for Small and Medium-sized entities. The Board started the comprehensive review process in 2012. According to the IASB, the most significant changes resulting from the comprehensive review were: permitting SMEs to revalue property, plant, and equipment; and aligning the main recognition and measurement requirements for deferred income tax with IFRS. The IASB also indicated that the majority of the amendments clarify existing requirements or add supporting guidance, rather than change the underlying requirements in the IFRS for SMEs. The IASB is of the view that the effect of the amendments for most SMEs and users of their financial statements will be to improve understanding of the existing requirements, without having a significant effect on a SMEs’ financial reporting practices and financial statements.  Further information on this item can be accessed by clicking here.

GRI publishes report on Sustainability and Reporting Trends in 2025

The Global Reporting Imitative (GRI) published a report in May 2015 titled Sustainability and Reporting Trends in 2015 – Preparing for the Future.  The report which is part of GRI’s Reporting 2025 project is intended to facilitate discussions around the future of reporting. The report highlights that over the coming decade: companies will be held to account more than ever before; business decision makers will take sustainability issues into account more profoundly; technology will enable companies and stakeholders to access and collate, check, analyse and correlate data; technology will enable companies to operate and report in a highly integrated way; ethical values, reputations and risk management will guide decision makers; new indicators will emerge; reports will result from regulated and voluntary processes; and sustainability data will be digital. The full report can be accessed by clicking here.


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