As the Magna Carta of external government audit, the Lima and Mexico Declarations define the prerequisites for its independent and effective functioning.

Already in the wake of the adoption of the “Lima Declaration” in 1977, INTOSAI set the goal to determine the principle of independence and the precepts of external government audit in methodological and professional terms.


When the Lima Declaration of Guidelines on Auditing Precepts was adopted by acclamation of the delegates more than two decades ago in October 1977 at the IX INCOSAI in Lima (Peru) there were great hopes, but no certainty, that it would achieve worldwide success.

The experiences made with the Lima Declaration since that time have exceeded even the highest expectations and proven how decisively they influence the development of government auditing in the given context of each individual country. The Lima Declaration is equally significant for all Supreme Audit Institutions grouped in INTOSAI, no matter to what region they belong, what development they have undergone, how they are integrated into the system of government or how they are organized.

The success of the declaration is above all due to the fact that it contains a comprehensive list of all goals and issues relating to government auditing, while simultaneously remaining remarkably significant and concise, making it easy to use, with its clear language ensuring that focus does not wander away from the main elements.

The chief aim of the Lima Declaration is to call for independent government auditing. A Supreme Audit Institution which cannot live up to this demand does not come up to standard. It is not surprising, therefore, that the issue of the independence of Supreme Audit Institutions continues to be a theme repeatedly discussed within the INTOSAI community. However, the demands of the Lima Declaration are not satisfied by a SAI just achieving independence; this independence is also required to be anchored in the legislation. For this, however, well-functioning institutions of legal security must exist, and these are only to be found in a democracy based on the rule of law.

Rule of law and democracy are, therefore, essential premises for really independent government auditing and are the pillars on which the Declaration of Lima is founded. The precepts contained in the Declaration are timeless and essential values which have maintained their topicality since the years they were first adopted. The fact that it has been decided to republish the Declaration more than 20 years later indeed witnesses the quality and farsighted spirit of their authors.

We extend our thanks to the International Journal of Government Auditing for their effort in publishing the new edition of the Lima Declaration, realizing the great importance of this fundamental paper which quite rightly is held to be the Magna Carta of government auditing. We now know that the Lima Declaration will continue to be disseminated in future. Living up to its high ideals remains an ongoing task for us all.

Vienna, in the fall of 1998
Dr. Franz Fiedler Secretary General of INTOSAI

INTOSAI ref. Lima Declaration(pdf) (ISSAI-P 1).
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