Each year, the Czech Republic pays CZK 4.4 billion in contributions to international organisations. Unfortunately the Czech state does not evaluate the benefits of this cooperation

Press release to audit No 19/05 – 15 June 2020

The Supreme Audit Office (SAO) examined the funds paid by the Czech Republic for cooperation with international organisations between 2014 and 2018. The Czech Republic cooperates with almost 500 organisations and pays them CZK 4.4 billion for contributions annually. However, the Czech state failed both in making the cooperation more effective and in achieving planned savings. Moreover, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (hereinafter “MoFA”) lacks necessary information in order to assess the benefits of cooperation. The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports (hereinafter “MoEYS”) also had shortcomings in the management of its cooperation with international organisations.

The MoFA coordinates cooperation with international organisations for the Czech Republic and individual ministries are then responsible for specific cooperation with organisations that fall within their area of specialisation. Each ministry should inform the MoFA of establishing cooperation with international organisations. However, the audit revealed that the MoFA is often not aware of the establishment of such cooperation.

New agreements with international organisations or new financial commitments to these organisations must be approved by the Government first and the MoFA should be informed. The auditors have found that in half of the 28 cases, the responsible ministries concluded cooperation with international organisations without the knowledge of the Government or the MoFA.

The MoFA should also have an overview of all the international organisations the Czech Republic cooperates with and what the benefits of such cooperation are. However, the MoFA failed to secure this kind of information, and thus failed to fulfil the tasks set by the resolution of the Government. The SAO therefore obtained information from all the administrators of the state budget chapters and from the Czech National Bank by means of its own questionnaire investigation. The investigation showed that the Czech Republic cooperated with 477 organisations in 2018 and paid them CZK 4.4 billion.

In 2013, the Government instructed individual ministries to determine where the Czech Republic could make savings in terms of cooperation with international organisations. For 16 organisations, the ministries proposed savings amounting to more than CZK 18 million, i.e., 0.5% of all annual expenditures on cooperation with international organisations. However, the MoFA did not monitor whether these savings were really made. In 2018, the MoFA itself and other ministries paid CZK 10.5 million to organisations from which they wanted to withdraw.

In order to improve cooperation and the exchange of information between the ministries and the MoFA, a working group was established in 2015. Unfortunately, it only met once, and for the next four years, the MoFA neither reconvened another group meeting, nor did it make use of the suggestions which arose from the first and only meeting. Coordination between the ministries which was to be carried out by the MoFA had not moved forward.

Auditors also found shortcomings in the management of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports as regards cooperation with international organisations. For example, the MoEYS had set the objectives of cooperation only for certain international organisations.

The results of the SAO questionnaire investigation are available here: https://www.nku.cz/scripts/detail.php?id=11033.

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