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NEWSLETTER #17

GIFT Public Participation in Fiscal Policy and Budget Making Award
How public institutions and CSOc are changing the game

     GIFT is honored to announce the results of the Public Participation in Fiscal Policy and Budget Making Award. The network ‘s Coordination Team received 16 submissions documenting quite varied and amazing experiences coming from all range of actors in the fiscal transparency and accountability ecosystem, from 13 countries (Brazil, Chile, Georgia, Germany, Guatemala, Kenya, Mexico, Nepal, Nigeria, Paraguay, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, and Portugal). We were very pleased to have received proposals coming from both government and civil society organizations, and that winners came from both types. This reflects the interest in public participation from all actors. Of these 16 cases:
  • 11 were implemented by state institutions (MoF, local governments and Supreme Audit Institutions), and 5 by civil society organizations;
  • 6 are subnational level only (4 of which are participatory budgeting);
  • 3 are participation with respect to public services
  • 3 involve Supreme Audit Institutions
We are very happy to announce that the top considered mechanisms were proposed by a local government in Portugal, the Court of Audit of Georgia, and a CSO in Mexico. Congratulations!
     Taking home the top prizes were the Cascais Participatory Budgeting, implemented by the Municipality of Cascais, Portugal; the Farm Subsidies: Public participation to improve the situation of small farmers in Mexico, executed by the CSO Fundar, Center for Analysis and Research; and Georgia’s Budget Monitor, implemented by the State Audit Office. These cases are invited to attend the Open Government Partnership Regional Meeting in Argentina (Buenos Aires, November 20-22) to present their experience. We will see you there!
     The
GIFT Selection Committee had a very hard task selecting the best 3 cases. A Special Mention Award from the Jury went to the Citizen Participatory Audit case of the Commission on Audit of the Republic of the Philippines, another case presented by a Supreme Audit Institution, that has already been documented in GIFT’s Guide on Public Participation Principles and Mechanisms (see http://guide.fiscaltransparency.net/case-study/citizen-participatory-audit/ ) and published as part of a case study produced as the GIFT effort to share with practitioners, success experience on public participation in fiscal policies.
     GIFT was so pleased with other cases that we will try to document, in the coming months, many more. We will be in touch with other fantastic proposals, aiming at publishing soon at least 3 additional cases, besides the 3 finalists.
     The Municipality of Cascais, with a population of 206.000, has ran the Participatory Budget for 6 years, involving more than 150.000 citizens, implementing 88 projects (works) worth 15.820.000€ and has strengthened people's confidence in their governors.  Moreover, their methodology has been replicated in more than 10 cities and observed by different continents. Farm Subsidies (Subsidios al Campo) is a public participation case led by a public interest group, a peasant organization, and a group of academics and technical experts that uses Mexico‘s Freedom of information laws to obtain official data on the recipients of agricultural subsidies, which is analyzed and disseminated widely through a user-friendly website (www.subsidiosalcampo.org.mx). Through this online public database, Subsidios al Campo improved the transparency of government farm subsidies, and identified a disproportionate, and inequitable, concentration of subsidy recipients in the wealthiest 10 percent of farmers. The analyses helped explain how this happened, and the advocacy supported by this evidence contributed to reforms in the subsidy programs. Georgia´s Budget Monitor is a recent initiative that offers a unique analytical web-platform with comprehensive information about public finances, designed from an auditor’s perspective via different data visualization tools, such as interactive and user-friendly diagrams, info-graphics and tables. Further, to engage the public constructively throughout the audit cycle, through the Budget Monitor platform, citizens can send audit requests, suggestions, and proposals, inform the SAOG about the deficiencies in the PFM system, and suggest the priority spheres for future audit(s). Additionally, the Jury awarded a special mention to the Citizen Participatory Audit of the Commission on Audit of the Republic of the Philippines, a practice that involves citizens as member of the Commission audit teams in conducting audits.
Strengthening the role of congress in fiscal policy. GIFT at the ParlAmericas Workshop in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago

     The Workshop: "Strengthening Accountability through Fiscal Transparency Practices" took place on September 6, gathering MPs from 14 countries of the Anglophone Caribbean (See Agenda).  Participants discussed how they can promote fiscal transparency practices to strengthen the role of the Legislative in the fiscal policy and budget making. GIFT’s Network director, Juan Pablo Guerrero, contributed with two presentations: one on “Fiscal Openness and Opportunities” that comprised an exposition on how fiscal transparency norms have evolved during the last 20 years, including the development of GIFT High Level Principles on Fiscal Transparency, and the Principles of Public Participation in Fiscal Policy. GIFT’s second presentation was on “Public Participation in Fiscal Policies”, providing an overview of the concept and principles that GIFT upholds, as well as examples of public participation in the budget process, which are included in the Guide on Principles and Mechanisms of Public Participation in Fiscal Policy. Additionally, Juan Pablo Guerrero commented on the usefulness of the working document ParlAmericas Toolkit: Citizen Participation in the Legislative Process, which “provides a sampling of existing practices for parliamentary engagement with citizens across the Americas and the Caribbean to insight reflection on the integration of such opportunities throughout legislative processes. It aims to engage legislators and civil society in a constructive dialogue to support the evolution of such practices while also acknowledging and mitigating challenges and risks in their implementation.”

COMMUNITY WALL

Launch of a full English version of the Economic Transparency Portal of Colombia

     The Ministry of Finance has launched a full English version of the Economic Transparency Portal of Colombia. Here the public can consult the information of budget and payments of the general system of national income share, from a single map, where the citizen can find the information presented by department even at the detail by municipality. Check it out: http://www.pte.gov.co/WebsitePTE/Index

Data Containerization hits v1.0!
GIFT partner, Open Knowledge International, announces a major milestone in the frictionless data initiative

     Frictionless Data is a collection of lightweight specifications and tooling for effortless collection, sharing, and validation of data. After close to 10 years of iterative work on the specifications themselves, and the last 6 months of fine-tuning v1.0 release candidates, OKI announces the availability of the following of v1.0 specifications including Table SchemaCSV DialectData Package, and Data Resource, and Code libraries that implement the v1.0 specifications in PythonJavascriptRuby, and PHP, with RGo, and Java in active development.

     But, what is frictionless data? Check this blog out: https://blog.okfn.org/2017/09/05/frictionless-data-v1-0/ and don’t miss the video on the bottom with Rufus Pollock, OKI President and Co-founder, brilliantly explaining the promising impact of containerization of data packages!

The Mexican Tax Administration Service publishes information in open data

     The Mexican Tax Administration Service (Servicio de Administración Tributaria- SAT) has an open data section in its website. Here (http://www.sat.gob.mx/cifras_sat/Paginas/inicio.html), the public can access relevant statistical information such as the taxpayer registry presented by type, status or state of the country, tax returns presented per year, statistics on tax audits, and statistics on tax refunds, among others. This publication is available since 2015.

NEW RESOURCES

Citizen participation in the audit process in Argentina. New case in the Guide on Public Participation Principles and Mechanisms

     Argentina´s General Audit Office (AGN in Spanish) organizes participatory planning workshops every year on different themes (such as environment, transport, health, among others). These thematic meetings are a mechanism for citizen consultation through which the AGN incorporates proposals from civil society for its annual audit planning. In addition, through these thematic workshops SAI representatives from technical units’ highlight audit findings, and expect citizen input on the issues and topic under audit. The institutional relevance and general impact of Supreme Audit Institutions (SAIs)’s work is significantly increased if the preferences and interests of the ultimate beneficiaries are actively considered in the design and performance of their work. Read here how this Supreme Audit Institution has put in place a mechanism to seek feedback from citizens on their auditing plans to better reflect citizen priorities.

Beneficios de la Guía de participación pública
María José Eva, Encargada de Programas para América Latina IBP - International Budget Partnership
UPCOMING EVENTS

• On September 19, GIFT will be part of “Rebuilding Trust in Government”, an Open Government Partnership side event to the 72nd United Nations General Assembly. Hosted by the current and incoming OGP Co-Chairs, this event will bring together an international coalition of Heads of State and Government, civil society organizations, and civic tech entrepreneurs to promote transparency in public action, citizen participation, and democratic innovation for rebuilding trust in government.

• On September 21,
GIFT network members such as IBP, the World Bank and the IMF, with JPGA, will participate in the Credit rating agencies event in New York City, which is organized by our partner, the Emerging Marker Alliance.

• On September 28,
GIFT will join our Steward, the Office of Planning and Budget of Uruguay, in the launching of its Transparency Portal, for whose development GIFT has provided technical assistance.

• On October 10-11, stay tuned for
GIFT General Stewards Meeting, to take place at The Mitre Corporation’s (GIFT Steward) headquarters in the Washington DC area.

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Copyright © 2016 Global Initiative for Fiscal Transparency - GIFT, All rights reserved.

A multi-stakeholder action network to advance fiscal transparency, participation and accountability worldwide.

Contact us: info@fiscaltransparency.net

 

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