One of the central features of UNCTAD’s work on corporate transparency and accounting is the servicing of the Intergovernmental Working Group of Experts on International Standards of Accounting and Reporting (ISAR)
. Established by the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC
) in 1982, ISAR is the only intergovernmental working group devoted to corporate transparency and accounting issues at the corporate level. ISAR addresses a variety of issues in corporate accounting and reporting with a view to improving the global comparability and reliability of corporate reports.
Its mandate is to:
- make a positive contribution to standard setting at the national and regional levels
- take appropriate action to ensure the comparability of disclosures by transnational corporations
- review developments in the field of international accounting and reporting, including the work of standard-setting bodies
- establish work priorities, taking into account the needs of home and host countries, particularly developing countries
- consult international bodies that it deems appropriate on matters pertaining to the development of international standards of accounting and reporting, and elicit the views of interested parties
- promote increased transparency and financial disclosure by encouraging the use of internationally recognized accounting and auditing standards and improved corporate governance (UNCTAD X, Bangkok, 2000, Plan of Action, paragraph 122)
- report to the Commission on Transnational Corporations now the Commission on Investment, Technology and Related Financial Issues) on steps to take in pursuit of the long-term objective of international harmonization of accounting and reporting
- serve as an international body for the consideration of issues of accounting and reporting falling within the scope of the Commission´s work in order to improve the availability and comparability of information disclosed by transnational corporations
ISAR accomplishes its mandate through an integrated programme of research, intergovernmental dialogue, consensus building and technical cooperation.