Israeli comptroller to push climate issues at global UAE conference

State Comptroller Matanyahu Englman is set to become the first Israeli president of the European Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions ever.

State Comptroller Matanyahu Englman at Tuesday's Maariv Conference. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
State Comptroller Matanyahu Englman at Tuesday's Maariv Conference.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

State Comptroller Matanyahu Englman will push for the global comptrollers’ network to host an event at the next global climate conference in the United Arab Emirates to grade nations according to their commitments on the issue, he told The Jerusalem Post in an exclusive interview Wednesday.

“The dangers of climate change are critical and substantial. I intend to continue to follow the issue. I will act, in cooperation with other EUROSAI comptrollers to carry out joint oversight. In addition, I will act to establish an event which will address oversight regarding climate change at the global climate change conference in Abu Dhabi in November 2023,” said Englman.

Englman, who in 2023 is due to become the first Israeli president of EUROSAI – a body of comptrollers for around 50 countries mostly from Europe – spoke to the Post alongside current EUROSAI president and Czech Republic State Comptroller Mr. Miloslav Kala, who visited Israel this week.

He said, “I thank Mr. Kala for his support of my candidacy for the presidency of EUROSAI. We will cooperate in the EUROSAI framework toward improving and enhancing the Israeli State Comptroller’s Office.”

Kala visited Israel to consult on preparations for a major EUROSAI strategic general conference that Israel will host in 2024 when Englman becomes president.

 PRIME MINISTER Naftali Bennett speaks at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, in November. (credit: HAIM ZACH/GPO) PRIME MINISTER Naftali Bennett speaks at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, in November. (credit: HAIM ZACH/GPO)

In an interview along with Englman, Kala said, “From the point of view of the EU... our plans to fight against climate change are very fast and very strong. But now we have this energy crisis. We recognize the will of our governments is not so strong. In our country, we are opening some coal energy power stations.... From the point of view of the state auditor, we should wait for stabilization of the situation and after that, to continue on this very important point.”

Part of the reason for the current global energy crisis has been Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and all of the spin-off conflicts it has created.

"From the point of view of the state auditor, we should wait for stabilization of the situation and after that, to continue on this very important point.”

State Comptroller Matanyahu Englman

Regarding Russia, Kala said, “I can represent the official statement of the governing board of EUROSAI, which declared we will not invite Russian and Belorussian auditors to meetings up until the end of this crisis.”

He added that Russia’s representative on INFOSAI, the world body of auditors, had to resign from the presidency.

In preparation for the next INFOSAI meeting in a few months, he said EUROSAI is preparing for any issues related to Russia, including “preparing our new statement for this situation, but generally we hope the conflicts between the states should be solved peacefully and not by using guns.”

Sources close to Englman said if Russia’s representative to INFOSAI does attend as a regular member and tries to speak, various countries may stage a walkout.

How much longer will the Russia-Ukraine crisis impact efforts?

In terms of how long the Russia-Ukraine crisis will impact efforts to fight climate change, Kala responded, “My country cannot give you the answer. The situation with an energy crisis, refugees, a very high inflation rate and a slow economy represents a mix of the problems, and it means our country is a little bit lower on this topic of climate change.

“But generally, I am sure as soon as possible, we will be back on our programs with climate change. We have problems with droughts, low water levels underground, many topics where people feel this climate change impact on their own lives,” he added.

Moving on to the cyber arena and what contribution comptroller oversight can make to getting countries to improve their cyberdefense, Kala said that every European country is working on the issue.

Regarding the Czech Republic, he said, “There were two big attacks where we were not successful and we should solve it later. The government started a new organization for cyber protection against this cyberterrorism.”

He said that he was working for EUROSAI to do more serious auditing of cyber preparedness, but that many EU countries are behind on this, noting, “Your country is at a better point than the other countries in EUROSAI.”

EUROSAI already has a strong database of 30 countries’ solutions and data relating to combating the coronavirus. Its member states can draw on that information, and he hopes that similar cooperation will be possible in the future for cybersecurity.

During Kala’s visit to Israel, he was brought to the Ben-Gurion Airport cybersecurity division to witness Israel’s cyberdefense of its transportation sector.

Sources indicated that Englman was close to publishing a report on cyber and Israel’s transportation sector.

Another visit on which Englman accompanied Kala was to Israeli company Mobileye where there was also a discussion relating to cybersecurity for autonomous vehicles.

Honing in on cooperation with Israel, Kala said, “I like your country and your people. We would like to cooperate with you generally.” He added, “Cybersecurity is very inspiring for us and can help us,” and said there were areas in which the Czech Republic could also help Israel.