Newsletter 28 – Aug 2018

Introducing the Open Fiscal Data Package standard version 1.0
Join us in our Webinar!
For the last three years, GIFT and Open Knowledge International (OKI) have partnered to develop a tool that makes it easy for governments to publish budget data for anyone to view, visualize and integrate. Building on OKI’s OpenSpending platform and involving also the BOOST World Bank initiative and a dedicated open data community (most prominently the Mexican Ministry of Finance, who adopted Fiscal Data Package to be used for publishing their official budget data in 2016), GIFT and OKI have worked together to have governments benefiting from the tool, piloting it and publishing fiscal information in open formats. Through this partnership, OKI has developed the Open Fiscal Data Package standard. Its version 1.0 is now available!

Join us in our webinar on Wednesday September 12 at 10:00 EST to learn how you can benefit from OpenSpending.

OKI’s Fiscal Transparency lead Sander van der Waal will present the Fiscal Data Package specification version 1 and the OpenSpending toolset. This is a great opportunity for government representatives to learn how they can work with us to get their data into OpenSpending.

Sharing experiences on IT for Citizen Engagement in Public Service Delivery at the OGP Global Summit in Tbilisi, Georgia
July 17-19

The impact of digitalization on citizen engagement in the provision of public goods and services, and country initiatives to increase public participation through the intensified use and optimization of IT was at the center of discussions among GIFT members and partners, on a side event on July 17, as well as in the very well attended OGP Global Summit agenda session, The Impact of Digitalization on Citizen Engagement in the Provision of Public Services, on July 19.

Among other experiences, participants learned about the new and improved Brazilian Fiscal Transparency portal developed by the Union’s General Comptroller (CGU), the efforts of the Supreme Audit Institution of Georgia to engage citizens in monitoring public expenditures with technology to make complex issues like debt, exchange rates and audit reports more accessible; recent efforts in linking budget open data formats (Fiscal Data Package) and the Open Contracting Data Standard (Procurement process in open data formats) for significant improvement in fiscal transparency.

Representatives from civil society and ministries of finance of other countries like Colombia, Chile, Mexico, Paraguay and Ukraine, and Paraguay finance shared how the use of information technologies has allowed a better provision of public services, with an enhanced engagement from the beneficiaries. The winners of the #DatosEnLaCalle Rally from Chile, Colombia or Mexico also shared their experiences.

A High-Level Regional Dialogue on Budget Transparency and Participation in Tbilisi
July 18

Gathered by IBP and the Ministry of Finance of Georgia, with USAid and World Bank support, high level officials from the governments of Georgia, Macedonia, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Armenia and Bosnia Herzegovina put their minds together with civil society organizations from the region to dialogue about budget transparency and participation. The meeting was a continuation of a series of efforts in the Central, Eastern and South-Eastern European region, to foster fiscal transparency and participation, of which GIFT stewards has been actively involved (World Bank-IMF Spring meetings, PEMPAL meeting in Austria, OECD-SBO meeting in Zagreb, and upcoming GIFT General Stewards meeting in Portugal in October).

Key issues, such as the role of accountability institutions in transforming the way public services are designed and delivered, making it easier for governments to respond to needs of the people and strengthen the legitimacy of institutions, or the importance of sustained political will to achieve better results were extensively discussed. Echoing many of the voices in the room,
GIFT Network Director concluded with his optimism with a region that very well understands the absolute need to include taxpayers and citizens, in general, in the decisions around public budgets.

Assisting OLACEFS in enhancing their networking strategy, Asuncion, Paraguay

To support the Latin American and Caribbean Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (OLACEFS, in Spanish) in developing a strategy to communicate with external stakeholders, GIFT participated in a planning meeting in Asuncion to share the network’s experience in engaging and communicating with members, partners and the fiscal transparency community of practice. Participants discussed how OLACEF can better articulate its interest groups in international agenda discussion arenas.


1. Building fiscal transparency portals
Wednesday, September 26, at 10am EST

2. Communicating the budget. How to promote the use of budget information
Wednesday, October 24, at 10am EST

3. Building a strong budget open data policy
Wednesday, November 21 at 10am EST

4. Getting real with the use of budget open data. Examples from the field
Wednesday, December 5 at 10am EST

5. Exploring effective ways to engage citizens. The role of digital tools, what works?
Wednesday, January 23, 2019, at 10am EST

6. Educating about the budget- Online courses experiences
Wednesday, February 27, 2019 at 10am EST

International Open Data Conference.
Buenos Aires, 24-28 September.
Join GIFT Steward, the Open Contracting Partnership, at the International Open Data Conference (IODC in Buenos Aires) in the sessions they have planned:

• “Open contracting in practice: Use, challenges, impact” (Official IODC pre-event on Tuesday, 25 September) organized together with OCP’s partners ILDA, a GIFT Steward) and Hivos will be a forum to hear experiences and learn from peers.
Register here. This event will be in English

• “Open Contracting Abrelab” (Wednesday, 26 September). At
Abrelatam, OCP will host an open contracting lab, focused in Latin America, together with ILDA and HIVOS. This event will be in Spanish.

• “Open Cities Summit”(Monday, 24 September). Join the OCP at a hands-on open contracting session during the
Open Cities Summit. This event will be in English.

See the full conference
program and join the OCP for their Spotlight session on Friday. This event will run in English and Spanish.

GIFT General Stewards Meeting, October 15-17 in Cascais, Portugal
With the generosity of the Municipality of Cascais, this year’s General Stewards Meeting will be held in this beautiful Portuguese city on October 15-17. GIFT will partner with the World Bank´s Public Expenditure Management Peer-Assisted Learning of the Europe and Central Asia regions for an in-depth dialogue on citizen engagement and participatory budgeting. More to come…
Open Data Tutorial Good Results!
(tutorial and webinar now available online)
The GIFT team in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit of Mexico, Lead Steward, co-launched the “Open data Tutorial: Opening and promoting the use of budget data“ in two languages. In both cases, the Tutorial consisted of 10 short videos + 10 review documents with additional information + 1 webinar. The Spanish version was released from May 9 to June 13, and the English one from July 17 to August 23.

What were the results…?
In the latest version, published during this month, the total views of all the videos in our social media channels is 3,637. While the Spanish version achieved a total of 6,441 views. Also, during July good impact was reflected in our website. We experienced an increment of sessions, while both tutorials were running, of more than 350% compared to our monthly average of visits.

What does this tell us?
Those are the good news! People want to learn how to understand and publish budget open data!!! From both sides, government and civil society.
We invite you to share this online Tutorial with your colleagues, team and other organizations!

Spanish version:
English version:

Let’s keep pushing for better and more budget open data around the world!

New IMF Working Paper: “Fiscal Transparency, Borrowing Costs, and Foreign Holdings of Sovereign Debt”
Authored by Laurent Kemoe and Zaijin Zhan, this paper explores the effects of fiscal transparency on the borrowing costs of 33 emerging and developing economies (EMs), and on foreign demand for their sovereign debt. Using multiple indicators, including a constructed one based on the published data in the IMF’s Government Finance Statistics Yearbook, the authors measure the separate effects of the three dimensions of fiscal transparency: openness of the budget process, fiscal data transparency, and accountability of fiscal actors. The results suggest that higher fiscal transparency reduces sovereign interest rate spreads and increases foreign holdings of sovereign debt, with each dimension of fiscal transparency playing a different role. Availability of detailed cross-country comparable fiscal data, especially for balance sheet items, has shown to increase foreign investors’ willingness in holding EM sovereign debt.

Participatory Budgeting course in Cascais, Portugal
(October 10-13)
Smart Citizenship Academy Cascais is setting up a true “School of Participation” to be launched in autumn 2018. With specialists from around the world, the first course will be held from October 10 to 13 in the brand new Carcavelos Campus of Nova School of Business & Economics University, a partner of Cascais municipality for this program.

Find program here
Apply now!

A new article on public participation by GIFT’s Petrie and Guerrero
The Brazilian Boletim de Análise Político-Institucional has recently published electronically (in Portuguese) the article “What is Public Participation in Fiscal Policy and Why it is Important?”
(“O Que é Participação Pública na Política Fiscal e Por Que é Importante?”).


The biggest opportunities and challenges around Data for Development (DFID’s short blog and survey)
DFID has recently published a short blog and a survey to try and gather external views on where the biggest opportunities and challenges are around Data for Development. The blog is presented by Neil Jackson (DFID’s Chief Statistician). The survey asks about the problems the community of practice thinks DFID should focus on, the opportunities that exist and how D4D can overcome the problems and realize the opportunities. The survey should not take longer than 15 minutes and will be open until Sunday 9th September 2018. The answers provided are for DFID’s internal purposes and will not be shared with external parties. DFID will however, be sharing a summary of findings from the survey.

Taxing Africa: Coercion, Reform and Development
Authored by Mick Moore, Wilson Prichard and Odd-Helge Fjeldstad, Taxing Africa is an accessible and comprehensive introduction to the crucial debates around taxation and development in Africa, including transparency and accountability. Particularly, chapters 8 & 9 cover the issues of transparency, civil society engagement, and good governance.

Hope for Democracy – 30 Years of Participatory Budgeting Worldwide
Coordinated by Nelson Dias, this book compiles a set of new articles that take us to a “fascinating journey through the paths of participatory democracy, from North America to Asia, Oceania to Europe, and Latin America to Africa”.

With no single directions, it is up to the readers to choose the route they want to travel, being however invited to reinforce this democratizing wave”, encouraging the emergence of new and renewed spaces of participation in the territories where they live and work.