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GIFT Newsletter #33
If data is not used, it is useless
That is our motto!

 And it is time to get data to good use during Open Data Day 2019 

To celebrate the International Open Data Day, this year we have invited our Stewards and Partners to host our two insignia events, the #DataOnTheStreets (Eng - SpaRally and the Better Budget DataQuest (Eng - Spa). We are excited to commend the institutions that will join and are working hard to organize successful events that encourage the use of fiscal data.

We are also grad to announce that CAF has joined this initiative with GIFT.
If you are up to the challenge, you are still in time. Visit the international Open Data Day platform and contact us soon.

Were you on vacation on December and missed our last newsletter?

Don’t worry!
Here are our highlights of 2018 and our plans for the community for this 2019!

New projects, new partners and renewed commitment with fiscal transparency in Europe
 14-30 January 

The GIFT Coordination Team undertook a series of technical visits, including workshops and meetings with high-level Ministries of Finance representatives of several governments in Europe, aimed at exploring ways for expanding their engagement and collaboration within the network. The program included meetings with the budget authorities from the following governments:

Slovenia (January 14-15)  • Ukraine (January 23-25)
Kosovo (January 16-18)     • Scotland (January 28-29)
Croatia (January 21)   • Ireland (January 30)

A central goal of these meetings was to discuss opportunities and challenges in the use of digital tools for fiscal transparency and citizens’ engagement with public officials implementing fiscal transparency policies, auditing, open government and information technologies. In Kosovo, Croatia, Ukraine and Scotland, the GIFT team also meet with budget civil society organizations. 

The meetings gave the opportunity to refer to some of the great experiences of the GIFT stewards in advancing fiscal transparency and public participation through the use of technologies for the development of different interactive functionalities and techniques for effective citizen-government communication. We were very proud to illustrate our points by mentioning the inspiring work of the stewards.

The Ministry of Finance has worked in integrating information for the public on their website and publishing a Citizens Budget. They are looking forward to increasing the use of the information and publish a new tax expenditures report.
With the help of GIZ Kosovo, we were able to hold a workshop where public officials and civil society worked together to create a user-centered approach on fiscal transparency.
Our very active Stewards of the Ministry of Finance and the Institute for Public Finance participated in the meeting where we shared ideas of how to move forward in open data, user-centered fiscal transparency and public participation. Know more.
The country has progressed in opening data on budget and spending. Now the challenge is to link such data in order to provide more relevant content and make it more powerful for the users.
In a very good meeting with Scottish Exchequer representatives and OGP Scotland, GIFT has a first dialogue with the different areas that produce information on budget, spending, performance, fiscal risks, taxes, procurement and development, as well as civil society representatives.
The country has advanced in tagging allocations for green budgeting, as well as establishing performance indicators. Both fundamental issues of fiscal transparency in these times.

The road show also included a very productive meeting with colleagues of the OECD Division of the Budgeting and Public Expenditure, a GIFT founding steward, in which new plans for further collaboration were defined on transparency and accountability, as well as environment finance transparency.

In all cases, we were pleased to confirm the excitement and engagement of the people around the table about transparency and participation. The results are promising and include immediate use of the Open Fiscal Data Package, for instance, as well more elaborated plans of collaboration on fiscal transparency portals and participation mechanisms. As they develop in the coming weeks and they translate into workplans with schedules and deliverables, we will keep you posted. To keep in mind is that your network will continue adding fiscal transparency champions and amazing experiences on to continue spreading around the world.
Budget Literacy
A missing link for useful fiscal transparency
One of the missing links to make fiscal transparency useful, is the lack of users’ knowledge of how to use and interpret the data. With the Office of Planning and Budget of Uruguay we have launched a quest to compile the experiences of organizations working on budget literacy to share it with the Network. This is a community driven effort to facilitate the process of those exploring how to start or improve courses, workshops, seminars or any other type of initiative that seeks to help users find, use and analyze fiscal data.

If you have a budget literacy effort, share it
here. Remember that the community is stronger when you share.
 New PEFA publication on PFM indicators and governance outcomes 
book examines the interplay between public financial management (PFM) and other key aspects of governance in low- and middle-income countries, using the Public Expenditure and Financial Accountability (PEFA) framework and related data sets to measure the quality of PFM systems.
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A multi-stakeholder action network to advance fiscal transparency, participation and accountability worldwide.

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