1) Strengthening of global norms, emphasizing public participation
• Dissemination of Public Participation Principles and Mechanisms: Seminars/webinars engaging practitioners; translation of materials into French, Spanish and Russian; second edition of international contest seeking central government level cases • Disclosure of useful information for citizens (procurement, and public service delivery data with greater granularity) •Work around the 2017 Open Budget Survey • Revenue transparency and the relationship with taxpayer compliance, building of state capacity for development, and citizen trust in government, which should tie into OGP efforts on “Rebuilding Trust in Government”
2) Technical cooperation and peer-learning for country level fiscal transparency implementation;
• Memorandum of Understanding with OGP to replace the Fiscal Openness Working Group framework, with more specific activities and more result-oriented (including providing advice on draft Action Plans, and country level support via peer learning, field tours and workshops, including side events during the 2018 OGP Summit in Georgia) • Special attention to 2 region: Africa (in collaboration with IBP and CABRI) and Europe (in collaboration with the PEMPAL network and the OECD Senior Budget Officials) • Scaling-up learning methods, following the recommendations of the assessment; bringing more technical content to members on an adaptive basis, reviving and restructuring its online Community of Practice • In coordination with the World Bank, in a selected number of countries where revenue transparency will be part of the WB operations, GIFT will seek to facilitate collaboration with CSOs to develop government-led public consultation processes around tax reform
3) Developing practical tools for public participation and transparency (ICT and open data) and working with network members to fully use them
• Continue developing the open data tool for publishing fiscal information, to help non-experts use financial data; further Open Contracting Partnership to implement the Open Contracting Standard, linking federal budget data with detailed (transaction-level) procurement information • Methodology for building or redesigning fiscal transparency portals, based on the accumulated experience of network members’ processes, while additionally continuing the technical assistance, via peer learning methods
4) Engagement, network consolidation and outreach
• Stronger engagement from GIFT lead stewards, including assuming a leadership role in one or more GIFT activities • On outreach, membership should expand to achieve more global coverage, with additional Stewards sought in Africa, Europe and Asia; while the geographic representation within GIFT needs to be broader, any move to expand membership should be manageable under the current working model
IBP LAUNCHES THE 2017 OPEN BUDGET SURVEY
Join the conversation on How Can We Bridge the Gap between Citizens and State? by discussing the Findings from the Open Budget Survey 2017! IBP will be co-hosting two global OBS 2017 release events. One on January 31 in DC at the World Bank, and the second with DFID in London on February 6. These launching events will convene government officials, policymakers, civil society representatives, and others for a discussion on the latest findings from the Open Budget Survey 2017 on the state of government budget transparency and accountability in 115 countries around the world. Which countries have made progress and which have regressed? What drives improvements and regressions in budget transparency, participation, and accountability? What can reformers both in and outside government do to encourage and sustain more open and accountable budgets? What are the new findings on public participation in the fiscal cycle? In the current context of growing distrust in democratic institutions, shrinking civic space, and retreating democratic engagement, participants will examine how improving countries’ public finance systems and practices can be an important step in bridging the gap between citizens and their governments.
Check out details and reserve here for the DC event and here for the London event.
Additionally, IBP will join efforts with the GIFT coordination team and GIFT's Steward, the Collaborative Africa Budget Reform Initiative (CABRI) to carry out a workshop in Guinea Conakry on February 22-23 to discuss the results of the countries in the region. More regional dissemination events and workshop will be taking place in the coming months! Follow @Fiscaltrans and @OpenBudgets to be on top of this 2018 agenda.
GIFT publishes the Expanded Version of the GIFT High-Level Principles
The Principles, published in 2012 and endorsed by UNGA, have played a central role in the activities of the network, helping to promote convergence between and identify gaps in standards, and they remain central to framing the activities of the network. For instance, High-Level Principle 10, asserting a citizen right to direct participation in fiscal policy, was the origin of GIFT’s significant on-going work promoting more direct public engagement in the design and implementation of fiscal policies. GIFT’s work in 2018-2020 on putting the citizen at the center of fiscal transparency by publishing detailed data on public services and procurement is similarly being framed under the High-Level Principles.
The Expanded Version explains each of the ten Principles in more detail. It explains why each Principle is important and how it is reflected in existing international norms, and provides a wide range of country examples of good practice as well as additional information and sources of guidance. The document is intended to help any policy maker, practitioner or advocate apply the Principles in practice in the cause of increasing the impact of fiscal policies on economic, social and environmental outcomes.
THREE NEW PUBLIC PARTICIPATION IN FISCAL POLICY CASES IN NEPAL, COLOMBIA AND GERMANY IN GIFT'S GUIDE
In Nepal, since the (re)introduction of parliamentary democracy in 1990, several decentralization reforms were implemented. These reforms have focused on enhancing traditional forms of participatory forums, creating new participatory institutions, and combining both traditional and modern types of mechanisms to institutionalize participatory decision-making at the local level. Participatory planning integrates new and old forms of participatory practices with the aim to directly engage citizens in various aspects of local governance, including formulating annual budgets and programs, implementation of such programs and in some cases involving citizens in monitoring and evaluation committees in municipalities. This case reports the assessment of a municipal planning process that was organized in 2014-15 in Butwal sub-metropolitan city in Nepal.
On another local level practice, the Participatory Budget Wuppertal is a pilot project within the EU-funded Horizon 2020 project EMPATIA (“Enabling Multichannel Participation through ICT Adaptations”). The key goal of the pilot is to provide new means of participating in and learning about municipal budget decisions, with a focus on the integration of formats both on-site and online.
Finally, in Colombia the Anti-Corruption Presidential Commission launched in 2008 the Citizen Visible Audits (CVA) program to promote transparency of royalty funds and citizen participation in the management of public investments. Through this practice, mining royalties that are transferred to sub-national governments and allocated to public works in areas such as education, health, nutrition, and water, government seeks to prevent corrupt practices in the use of royalties.
Visit the Guide and learn about these cases and more!
Insights at GIFT Innovations in fiscal transparency portals:
Janet López from the Office of Planning and Budget, GIFT Steward, shares their experiences putting together their recently launched fiscal transparency portal (in Spanish). Check it out!
In a collaboration by GIFT and IBP, Paolo de Renzio has produced a note that summarizes the main issues and findings from two inter-related projects: a set of think-pieces written by senior academics and practitioners, based on their own past research and policy experience; and a set of interviews with politicians and senior officials considered “reform champions” in their respective countries, to gather first-hand personal testimonies from people at the forefront of successful fiscal openness reforms about the incentives that they faced during the various stages of the reform process, from formulation to implementation.
Data on the streets: Data Rally 2018 Sign in from February 1st to February 28th
To celebrate International Open Data Day, Mexico’s Ministry of Finance and Public Credit through it’s Fiscal Transparency Portal, alongside Social TIC, A.C., leader non-for-profit organization in digital empowerment and open data, will carry out their 3rd edition of the #DatosEnLaCalle (DataOnTheStreets) Rally. The main objective is that participants become social supervisors of public projects and agents of change in the use and promotion of fiscal transparency geolocated data.
For the first time, the Data Rally will be international. The Mexican Ministry of Finance is inviting all agencies and organizations that publish or use fiscal transparency geolocated data to join this activity. For more information, stay tuned following @fiscaltrans and join a hangouts session on Friday January 26 at 12:00 EST to learn how you can organize the rally in your country to interest and engage citizens in the use of budget data for accountability.
The Rally starts on Thursday February 19th with a webinar about the use of platforms and ends with an event on March 3rd, where the final results will be announced, and prizes will be given.