Newsletter 52 – Aug 2020

1) GIFT General Stewards Meeting
2) Fiscal Data for Emergency Response: Guide for COVID-19
3) Better Budget Dataquest Costa Rica
Community wall
1) Harnessing Digitalization to Finance a Sustainable Future
2) E-learning course for users of open data by the World Bank

Physically far but never apart:
Everything you need to know about what went on during GIFT- General Stewards Meetings

August 24-28

5 days

14 sessions

160 participants

Read a thank you letter from Juan Pablo Guerrero, GIFT Network Director (English, Español, Français)

The online platform allowed us to successfully meet and discuss different topics related to fiscal transparency, including updates of stewards activities and challenges, innovative digital tools, assessments and evaluations, public participation, tax justice, modernization of financial management systems, gender-responsive financial management, fiscal openness in COVID-19, and having an Open Response + Open Recovery through OGP National Action Plans. For those of you that could not join us in the sessions, you can find the presentations here.

We are grateful to those of you who took the initiative of leading sessions—Open Government Partnership, ACIJ-Argentina, and Collaborative Africa Budget Reform Initiative (CABRI)—which greatly improved our focus on what interests the Network. We are also thankful to all the presenters that made the time and effort to share their work, experiences and learnings with all the community. Finally, our appreciation to all the participants that enriched the conversation, keeping the network alive, resourceful and valuable.

Some of the stewards put forward the idea of them leading group discussions on specific areas of interest, and we look forward to enabling this type of connections. So far, considering the interests and proposals, we foresee two groups: digital tools for fiscal transparency and public participation and cross-cutting budget practices, initiating with gender matters. The Fiscal Openness Accelerator project was shown as being a key project holding many expectations, we will continue to bring other GIFT stewards into this conversation, assisting with the further development of norms and public participation mechanisms.

The GIFT Encounter Dashboard has been updated. Thank you to the vast number of you that have informed your new and up-to-date actions. For those of you who have not done so, we ask you to update your plans (and contact us in case you have lost your access). In this vein, we will be reaching out to some of you to publish blog posts and organize meetings related to your experiences and achievements.

Significant discussions took place on this year’s overwhelming topic, COVID-19. GIFT launched the Network’s own Fiscal Data for Emergency Response: Guide for COVID-19, sanctioned by the General Stewards. GIFT will continue to support those willing to learn from each other, providing a platform for sharing knowledge and use of the Guide to address with transparency the impacts and consequences of the pandemic.

We also concluded that we could enhance our collaboration on communications. We want GIFT’s social media (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram) to be able to, where appropriate, support your efforts in reaching our international community. We will be soon organizing meetings on this matter, and in the coming days, we will invite you to a new WhatsApp group that will provide for timely updates and greater collaboration in the use of social networks.

Fiscal Data for Emergency Response: Guide for COVID-19
August 26

The GIFT network has created a practical guide to help practitioners identify the datasets and data fields that are required for informed internal decision-making and transparent disclosure of information related to emergency responses. Preparation of the Guide is the result of a multi-stakeholder effort with representatives from nine ministries of finance, 16 civil society expert organizations and 12 international organizations. The Guide is designed to help governments gather and organize fiscal information and to facilitate its internal and external use.
The Guide includes 15 datasets and 13 time series grouped into four dimensions as follows:
  • Emergency and countercyclical spending (including budget adjustments, extra-budgetary funds, performance indicators, investments, payroll and procurement);
  • Tax relief measures and deferrals;
  • Revenue adjustments and additional funding sources (covering revenue adjustments, contingent tax collections, loans and other debt instruments, and external development and humanitarian resource flows); and
  • The macroeconomic impact of the emergency fiscal measures.
Each dataset is further disaggregated into more than 370 relevant data fields. The Guide also includes examples of how the data can be used by governments and other stakeholders for various purposes of management, monitoring and evaluation.

Bearing in mind that data quality and availability is an important limitation in many countries—particularly for such an extensive list of data fields—the Guide includes a section on customizing the tool for application in different national contexts, and key prerequisites for publication, including data availability and quality.

Who is this Guide for:
  • Ministries of finance (or equivalent)- to support the development of a stronger data architecture, as well as to assist the process of identifying what data to publish to enable transparency and oversight.
  • Civil society/advocacy groups- to simplify the process of prioritizing data needs for monitoring, analysis, and participation.
  • Oversight institutions– to contribute to the task of identifying the data sources required to develop diverse analysis, oversight and auditing.

Better Budget Dataquest for Sustainable Development- Costa Rica

August 4

This month we presented the results for the Better Budget Dataquest 2020 in Costa Rica. The projects presented were the culmination of the Open Budget School developed in collaboration by Innovaap and the Ministry of Finance. We were delighted to witness the quality of the projects, as well as the practicality of the proposals for implementation in improving processes and policies inside the government.

The winning projects considering their use of data, quality of results and contributions and communications strategy, are: National Budget, public purchases and reuse of data, a prototype of tool to forecast the demand of goods and services to acquire in a year linked to budget allocations and procurement plans; Mission School Desk (Misión Pupitre), a platform that helps identify the current state of school infrastructure and goods by enabling public participation with open data; and an Approach to Formal Labor through the National Employment Program, an analysis of the dispersion of objectives, services and beneficiaries that the program provides.

We want to thank and congratulate all the organizations involved in the development of the Dataquest, led by Innovaap, the Ministry of Finance and UNDP Costa Rica. We look forward to continuing exploring the implementation of the projects!


Harnessing Digitalization to Finance a Sustainable Future
United Nations Task Force on Digital Financing of the SDGs
August 26

The UN Secretary General’s Task Force on Digital Financing of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) report “People’s Money: Harnessing Digitalization to Finance a Sustainable Future” highlights the historic opportunity to accelerate and expand the transformative impact of digitalization in financing the SDGs. The report includes references to some of our Stewards work on using fiscal data for social impact.

Visit their website to download the report and other useful resources for policy makers.

E-learning course for users of open data
World Bank

Open Data for Data Users provides a broad overview of Open Data from a user standpoint, and empowers anyone to take full advantage of Open Data. It is intended for anyone who wants to make better use of Open Data, including ordinary citizens, and assumes no prior knowledge of Open Data or technical skills. Upon completion, users may take an online assessment test to obtain a completion certificate from the online platform.

The course is self-paced and available all year-round!