Newsletter 48 – Apr 2020

1) Fiscal openness in COVID-19 emergency response and stimulus plans
2) Open Budget Survey 2019 results are in!
3) Better Budget Dataquest for Sustainable Development – Mexico
4) Use of PEFA Reports to Assess the Readiness of PFM Systems to Respond to COVID-19 Challenge
5) Artificial Intelligence for Development – empatía
6) COVID-19 Africa Public Finance Response Monitor
7) Open Response + Open Recovery
8) IMF and World Bank Spring Meetings

Fiscal openness in COVID-19 emergency response and stimulus plans
This month our priority continued to be enabling and facilitating fiscal openness (transparency + participation + accountability) in the emergency response and stimulus plans.

In this
note, we share evidence on the crucial role that civil society organizations have been playing in supporting and complementing some of the emergency policy responses. Public participation and civic engagement have driven some very positive achievements so far to check and improve the COVID-19 fiscal packages around the world, correcting and remedying in many cases the unavoidable flaws and mistakes in emergency responses to coronavirus.

We launched a Network effort to identify the datasets required to properly track the 1) emergency spending to prevent, detect, control, treat, and contain the virus, 2) stimulus packages for countercyclical actions to reactivate the economy and support affected people and sectors, and 3) revenue sources to ensure the financial requirements of the government during the emergency and for the stimulus measures. For those champion governments willing to inform in timely, accessible, and clear ways on the costs of overcoming COVID-19 and economic recession, the GIFT network will be providing a guide with concrete examples. Consult
here the co-creation dashboards developed during the sessions.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF), GIFT’s Lead Steward, published a Special Series notes to help members address the economic effects of COVID-19. Two, in particular, reflect on the work of the GIFT Network, Keeping the Receipts: Transparency, Accountability, and Legitimacy in Emergency Responses (report) and Digital Solutions for Direct Cash Transfers in Emergencies (report / blog).

Open Budget Survey 2019 results are in!
April 30, 2020
International Budget Partnership
The International Budget Partnership has launched the results of the Open Budget Survey of 2019. The survey finds modest improvement in budget transparency scores globally, reversing the decline seen in the last round (OBS 2017), and restoring the upward trend shown since the survey began in 2006. In case you missed the launch, you can watch the video and consult the results here. In the middle of the COVID-19 crisis, the message is clear: do not leave this serious crisis go to waste… Take this opportunity to do things in fiscal transparency and public participation in ways we thought we could not do before.

Don’t forget to join the call to action to promote the open budget agenda: (1) sufficient levels of budget transparency, (2) increased opportunities for public participation, (3) stronger monitoring and oversight of budget execution, and (4) sustained improvements over time.
Sum your voice now!

We want to particularly congratulate all GIFT members and partners that improved their stance in budget transparency from 2017 to 2019! And we are ready to work hard for reversing adverse trends, and for pushing for higher achievements!

In case you missed the OBS 2019 launching!

Better Budget Dataquest for Sustainable Development – Mexico
April 30, 2020

This week we presented the results for the Better Budget Dataquest 2020 in Mexico and the three winning projects:
1st place SemaforoDeDatos Team
2nd place ThinkTeamMX Team
3rd place EconoUNAM Team

We want to thank and congratulate all the organizations involved in the development of the Dataquest, led by Centro de Investigación Económica y Presupuestaria (CIEP), UNDP Mexico, SocialTIC and Transparencia Presupuestaria of the Ministry of Finance.


Use of PEFA Reports to Assess the Readiness of PFM Systems to Respond to COVID-19 Challenge
March 31
Public Expenditure and Financial Accountability (PEFA)
PEFA assessment reports are one out of several sources of information available to support stakeholders’ efforts to get government systems prepared for an effective response. The PEFA Assessment Framework is the only assessment tools that offer a comprehensive diagnostic of the PFM system in a country, from budget formulation over procurement, cash management and internal controls to external audit and scrutiny. These reports contain invaluable information on the PFM systems, mainly on their robustness but also to some extent on their flexibility, which may help governments and their partners use existing PEFA reports to assess the readiness of PFM systems to respond to COVID-19 challenges. Read the whole description here.

Artificial Intelligence for Development – empatía
April 23
Latin American Initiative for Open Data (ILDA)

ILDA and the Latam Digital Center, with the support of the Center for International Development (IDRC), and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) in coordination with the FAIR-LAC initiative have started a cooperation to understand and develop new knowledge on the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to solve public problems within the framework of the global initiative “Artificial Intelligence for Development” (AI4D). This cooperation has three objectives: 1) Promote a better understanding of how the public sector should develop AI policies for development, considering ethical, political, social and economic aspects 2) Promote decision-making capabilities in AI design and implementation, and 3) Promote projects that explore the resolution of public problems through the use of AI, focusing on applications in the public sector.

AI4D LAC invites government institutions, civil society, academia or the private sector to compete for financing and technical support for the development and practical application of AI techniques in the region. The call is open until May 16.

COVID-19 Africa Public Finance Response Monitor
April 26
Collaborative Africa Budget Reform Initiative (CABRI
The COVID-19 Africa Public Finance Response Monitor provides an overview of expected financing gaps posed by COVID-19 and how African governments are responding to these through expenditure reprioritisation, efficiency gains, resource mobilisation, social assistance, business support, and monetary and macrofinancial policy measures. It also provides information on health financing in Africa (as a proxy of pandemic preparedness) and up-to-date statistics of confirmed COVID-19 cases, tests and deaths.

Open Response + Open Recovery
April 28
Open Government Partnership (OGP)
The OGP has launched the campaign –Open Response + Open Recovery– to highlight the ways in which transparency, accountability, inclusivity, and public participation can make a difference. The campaign is inspired by over 200 COVID-19 related examples that were crowdsourced from around the world in recent weeks and has been informed by discussions with many in the open government community.

The Open Gov Week events have been postponed to later in the year, replacing the activities planned for May 3-10 with a
series of online community events.


IMF and World Bank Spring Meetings
April 15-19
The World Bank and the IMF, GIFT lead stewards, held the 2020 Spring Meetings, moved to a virtual format, with remote access to many meetings. Watch the conferences and interviews of the IMF here and the World Bank here.

Among the outcomes, the IMF put together a handy list below: