The Constitution of Colombia, in Article 267, states that the Fiscal Control (CF) is a public function to be exercised by the Comptroller General’s Office (CGR), an organization that monitors the administration of the goods or public resources managed entities or individuals. In addition, it is noted that the surveillance of fiscal management include financial control and results management, based on the principles of efficiency, effectiveness, fairness, and the principle of valuing environmental costs.
Similarly, by virtue of Article 274 of the constitution, surveillance of fiscal management exercised by the CGR, departmental comptrollers, district and municipal authorities are in charge of the Auditor General of the Republic (AGR), ensuring that the activities of these comptrollers are effective and translated into social benefit, and the preservation of natural resources, among others.
Environmental fiscal management is within the framework of the Environmental Fiscal Control (CFA) and can be understood as a tool to evaluate the management of the entities that manage state resources and its impacts on the environment. This not only includes financial analysis but includes the principles of fiscal control (efficiency, effectiveness, equity and economy) which are intended to establish a comprehensive policy for the protection of the environment, always based on the green constitution or ecological constitution, as it is called the 1991 Colombian Constitution, which in Article 79 states that “everyone has the right to enjoy a healthy environment.”
Both natural resources and environmental make part of the Natural Capital (CN), which according to the Forum of Natural Capital (Natural Capital Forum), can be defined as global stocks of natural assets including geology, soil, air, water, and as all living beings. With this in mind, the management of public resources can also be evaluated according to investments associated with the protection of natural capital, since it is part of the heritage of the nation.
Proper assessment of the allocation of public resources must also consider among others the principle of assessment of environmental costs, seeking to quantify such management, in terms of natural resources and the environment affected by such investments. Ultimately, what is sought with this management is to promote balance between the country’s development and the preservation of natural capital, which translates into benefits for society.
Authors: Henry Alterio and Fabian Parra