Newsletter 26 – Jun 2018

Welcome Colombia to the GIFT network!
We are thrilled to warmly welcome the General Directorate of the National Public Budget of the Ministry of Finance of Colombia as the network’s 46th Steward. The Directorate has shown increased commitment to fiscal transparency and engagement with GIFT in the last two years. A Directorate’s representative has participated in the GIFT General Stewards meeting (October 2017), in the Open Contracting Meeting in Amsterdam (November 2017) and finally in the OGP Americas Regional Meeting (Buenos Aires, November 2017). More recently, the Directorate was also represented at the IBP regional launch of the Open Budget Survey in Santo Domingo (May 2018). With this new addition, the group of government budget institutions now expanded to 19. Additionally, our now new Steward enthusiastically participated in #DatosEnLaCalle along with Mexico and Chile to celebrate the International Open Data Day in March!

The GIFT Lead Stewards met on June 5, and defined the dates for the General Stewards Meeting. So, prepare your own updates and news, and pack your bags to attend our following meeting in Cascais, Portugal on October 15-17!

Lead Stewards also accepted a proposal by the International Budget Partnership to develop a joint strategy to engage government stewards in the agenda of public participation in fiscal policies. See details in the communication to the
GIFT stewards here.

Latin American Launch of the OBS in the Dominican Republic convenes 8 countries from the region
Santo Domingo, May 16-17
The Ministry of the Treasury of the Dominican Republic and the International Budget Partnership (IBP), GIFT Stewards, along with the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) hosted the Strengthening Open Budget Practices in Latin America and the Caribbean technical workshop. IBP presented the global and regional results of the 2017 OBS and facilitated a peer discussion of the country specific results. Maria José Eva from IBP highlighted the global trend of decreasing fiscal transparency and called on governments and civil society to work together to revert such trend. GIFT network director led a session on public participation, aimed to analyze the new public participation indicators in the OBS, which are based on GIFT’s Public Participation Principles; share and discuss tools and practices that countries can implement to advance fiscal transparency and participation; and to identify peer support for technical collaboration. He observed that development objectives, such as the Sustainable Development Goals, will not be achieved without public participation. The event brought together GIFT partners and stewards from Argentina, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, and Paraguay who shared their progress and plans to advance fiscal transparency and public participation.

Workshop on Digital Tools, Information Technology and Citizen Engagement in Zagreb, Croatia
May 23
GIFT gathered representatives from Croatia and Ukraine (GIFT stewards), Slovenia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Serbia, Macedonia, Armenia, Georgia, the Neverlands, Russia Federation, Bulgaria, Belarus and the Kyrgyz Republic to discuss the use of digital tools to promote public participation. Participants learned about experiences in the implementation of fiscal transparency portals, the use of open data, a policy to target audience and the use of social media to provide channels for citizen engagement. Participants shared their plans to make public finance data more open to the public and identified areas of common interest to learn from each other. The workshop was co-facilitated by GIFT Lead Steward, Secretariat of the Treasury and Public Credit of Mexico, and was the preamble to the 14thAnnual Meeting of the OECD Regional Network of Central, Eastern & South-Eastern European Senior Budget Officials (CESEE-SBO).

Check out materials

GIFT at the 14thAnnual Meeting of the OECD Regional Network of Central, Eastern & South-Eastern European Senior Budget Officials
Zagreb, Croatia- May 24-25
In the framework of this OECD Senior Budget Officials meeting, with Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, FYR Macedonia, Moldova, Netherlands, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Montenegro, Slovenia, Turkey and Ukraine, GIFT and IBP led group sessions intended to facilitate the development of strategies to enhance budget transparency and public participation. The discussions drew on new data from the OECD Budget Practices and Procedures Survey and the IBP’s Open Budget Survey, and the results will inform a regional ministerial meeting planned alongside the Open Government Partnership Global Summit in Tbilisi in July 2018.

GIFT at the Regional Workshop on Transparency and Open Contracting in Mexico City
Mexico City, May 30-31
The Workshop was organized by the Mexican Executive Secretariat of the National Anticorruption System, in coordination with the Interamerican Network of Government Procurement, the Organization of American States, the InterAmerican Development Bank, the Latin American Open Data Initiative, the Open Contracting Partnership and Hivos International. Government representatives from Mexico, Chile, Colombia, Paraguay, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Costa Rica, along with civil society representatives from the region exchanged experiences on advancing open contracting and collectively built an integral and transversal regional vision on the matter. Juan Pablo Guerrero reflected on the absolute centrality of citizen engagement to achieve and sustain progress in the open contracting systems. In thinking about the sustainability of transparency reforms in this sector, he stressed that focusing on the user is key.
Cuentas Claras conference Transparent Government – Leveraging Private Sector Partnerships, Panama City, June 13-14
The conference is organized jointly by the World Bank Group and the Government of Panama. It convenes high-level government officials and policy makers, representatives of multilateral financial institutions, experts in governance, civil society leaders, and journalists from Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) and the rest of the world.

The objective is to foster dialogue on how enhanced transparency, accountability, and financial reporting systems in the private and public sectors can help build trust and confidence, as well as crowd-in the private sector to create markets, leverage government spending, and maximize finance for development. This event aims to promote the exchange of ideas on the policies, strategies and institutional arrangements necessary to address the challenges of enhancing transparency and accountability in the public sector to mobilize private financing for development and promote economic growth in the region. It also aims to identify tangible next steps to strengthen LAC’s enabling environment for enhanced private sector involvement in development finance.

GIFT’s Network Director will participate in a panel to discuss technological innovations in enhancing transparency, combating corruption, and stopping illicit financial flows.

GIFT at the Official National Launch of the New Brazilian Fiscal Transparency Portal, Brasilia, June 28-29
The event, organized by the Brazil´s Secretary for Transparency and Prevention of Corruption of the Ministry of Transparency and Comptroller General of the Union and GIFT, will bring together CSOs and MoF representatives from Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Egypt, Guatemala, Liberia, Mexico, Nigeria, Paraguay, South Africa, and Uruguay. The agenda also includes a Workshop on Information Technologies, Transparency and Public Participation.
Uruguay Report

Check out the
Uruguay Report 2017 (in Spanish) published by GIFT’s Steward Office of Planning and Budget, Presidency, Uruguay. The report informs about the country’s social, environmental, and productive situation.
A webinar tomorrow (Tuesday June 12 at 11:00 CDT) and a complete new tutorial on disclosing and using budget open data, by Mexico’s SHCP and GIFT now available!
Don’t miss it! (For the moment, all in Spanish)
At the request of GIFT Stewards to have practical resources that explain how to implement a fiscal transparency policy with open data as a fundamental pillar, based on the successful experience of GIFT Stewards, the Mexican Secretariat of Finance and Public Credit (SHCP) –GIFT Lead Steward—and GIFT have produced a new tutorial that will be launched next month. The tutorial will be composed of a series of ten 1-2 minutes that address the what, how and for what of an open data policy to disclose and communicate budget information.

Join the webinar here: