The International Public Sector Accounting Standards Board (IPSASB), developer of IPSAS®, international accrual-based accounting standards for use by governments and other public sector entities around the world, received strong overall engagement and feedback from stakeholders globally on the proposals in its recent Consultation Paper (CP), Advancing Public Sector Sustainability Reporting. The IPSASB launched its global consultation on developing a sustainability reporting framework for the public sector in May 2022 in response to stakeholder encouragement, including from the World Bank, and the consultation closed September 9, 2022.
The CP identified the drivers for public sector sustainability reporting as:
- Global public interest;
- Major economic, environmental, social and governance impacts; and
- Capital markets significance.
A motivating factor behind the IPSASB’s launch of the CP was that global public sector specific sustainability reporting guidance is needed because of challenges in applying private sector guidance for public sector reporting given the differences in focus. With its many years of experience working with other global standard setters, including the International Accounting Standards Board to maximize alignment with its public sector guidance, the IPSASB therefore proposed in the CP that its experiences, processes and relationships would enable it to develop the necessary guidance efficiently and effectively.
An overview of the feedback received over the course of the open consultation, collected through the IPSASB’s regional roundtables and from written submissions, was presented at the IPSASB’s Public Sector Standard Setters Forum this week hosted by the Order of Certified Accountants (OCC) in Cascais, Portugal, attended by more than 100 delegates from 36 jurisdictions. In addition to supporting the main proposals, the feedback strongly encouraged collaboration between IPSASB and other international standard setters, particularly the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) and the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), in using its current processes to ensure that new guidance addresses public sector needs while maximizing consistency with sustainability frameworks globally.
IFRS Foundation Executive Director, Mr. Lee White, and GRI Chief Standards Officer, Mr. Bastian Buck, addressed the Forum, and both expressed a willingness by their organizations to collaborate with the IPSASB if it decides to take forward its public sector sustainability reporting initiative.
The IPSASB will continue to analyze the written submissions in detail, and to progress discussions with key stakeholders, including potential funders, in order to decide at its December 2022 meeting on whether to proceed in 2023 with the development of public sector sustainability reporting guidance.