Newsletter 53 – Sep 2020

2020 Virtual #UNDataForum. Register now!
October 12 – 21
The UN World Data Forum brings together data and statistical experts and users from governments, civil society, the private sector, donor and philanthropic bodies, international and regional agencies, the geospatial community, the media, academia and professional bodies. Data experts and users gather to spur data innovation, mobilize high-level political and financial support for data, and build a pathway to better data for sustainable development.

The forum will start with the transmission of sessions on October 12 and will go on until October 21 with scheduled live sessions. Register for the event here, and join us in GIFT session on Fiscal Data for Emergency Response, featuring an amazing group of presenters sharing very interesting experiences!.

Data for Policy Conference
Data for Policy CIC
September 15-17

The Data for Policy conference series is the premier global forum for multiple disciplinary and cross-sector discussions around the theories, applications and implications of data science innovation in governance and the public sector. During this conference, Lorena Rivero, from GIFT coordination team, chaired the Special Track: Harnessing Data and Science to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Six research papers were selected to be presented during this special track, we highly recommend watching the presentation of these different approaches to identify interlinkages among the Sustainable Development Goals, as well as using data for combating modern ways of slavery:

Uniting Business for a Better World

United Nations Global Compact & Thunderbird School of Global Management

September 21-23

In the context of the 75th anniversary of the United Nations, the UN Global Compact hosted the 2020 United Business Live, supported among others by the Thunderbird School of Global Management. Through this forum Juan Pablo Guerrero, GIFT Network Director participated in the session SDG 16 Progress to Date – Challenges and Opportunities in the Decade of Action, with the participation of Karen Tse, Founder and CEO of the International Bridges to Justice and Miki Kittilson, from the Global Institute of Sustainability and Innovation of the University of Arizona. The panel was facilitated by Sanjeev Khagram, Dean of the Thunderbird School of Global Management, and as matter of fact, one of the founders of the GIFT network and a longtime friend and fighter of the transparency and participation agendas. Watch it on YouTube.

Thunderbird presents: SDG 16 Progress to Date – Challenges and Opportunities in the Decade of Action

Taxing Personal Income and Wealth in Developing Countries, and the role of transparency and civil society
World Bank
September 24-25

Individual income taxes are a major source of government revenue in high-income countries, and the primary tool for redistribution via the tax system. In lower-income countries, however, taxing individual income and wealth can be challenging. Many individuals in the lower part of the income distribution operate outside of the formal sector, while those in the upper part of the distribution often have diverse sources of non-wage income that can be de jure or de facto untaxed. These personal tax collection challenges can lead to a critical shortfall in government revenue, hampering the state’s ability to fund essential development programs and reduce inequalities. This was the backdrop context for the 2nd World Bank Tax Conference: Taxing Personal Income and Wealth in Developing Countries.

As part of the conference, the International Budget Partnership and GIFT presented a recent broad scan about the field of civil society work on tax. Historically, civil society groups have had a limited role in tax policy-making, but this is gradually changing due to, among other things, growing calls to reform unfair international taxation rules and to ensure that developing country governments raise additional domestic resources to finance the Sustainable Development Goals. IBP/GIFT’s shed light on the characteristics, motivations, activities and impact of CSOs working on tax reforms in various countries. Among the topics covered, one of the issues that received particular attention was access to tax information, as existing international norms and standards on tax transparency do not adequately recognize the kinds of tax information that citizens and CSOs may need in order to adequately engage with tax policy and tax reform processes at the country level. The sessions also featured presentations from two civil society organizations engaged in shaping tax policy at the domestic level in Guatemala (ICEFI) and Uganda (SEATINI) respectively. Stay in the loop for upcoming publications of this ongoing research and drop us an email in case you are particularly interested in the topic, we will be glad to follow up with you.

Improving transparency of public trust funds in Mexico
ETHOS- Public Policies Lab
September 22
During a space for reflection convened by ETHOS, a civil society organization from Mexico, GIFT participated in generating reflections on the challenges surrounding the transparency of public trust funds in the current context and the challenges for the future of public finances in the face of juncture of the extinction of such trust funds through the Executive decision and legislative channels. The panel also counted with the views of the National Institute for Access to Information, and the Social Intelligence Unit. While this session focuses on the case of Mexico, it can provide a useful context of the intricacies of transparency of public finances beyond the budget and the importance of accounting extra-budgetary funds.

The session is in Spanish and is available through Facebook.


International Monetary Fund- World Bank Annual Meetings
World Bank
October 12-18
The Annual Meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Board of Governors of the World Bank Group (WBG) bring together central bankers, ministers of finance and development, private sector executives, representatives from civil society organizations and academics to discuss issues of global concern, including the world economic outlook, poverty eradication, economic development, and aid effectiveness. Also featured are seminars, regional briefings, press conferences and other events focused on the impact of COVID-19 on the global outlook, the pathway to recovery, and developments in the international financial system. This year’s Meetings will be held primarily in a virtual format on October 12-18. Checkout the schedule and register here.

The Civil Society Policy Forums have already started and you can join a plethora of sessions that will discuss the different caveats of implications of COVID in public finance, as well as basis for a sustainable recovery.


Citizen Engagement: Emerging Digital Technologies Create New Risks and Value
Peixoto, Tiago; Steinberg, Tom
The recent rapid evolution of digital technologies has been changing behaviors and expectations in countries around the world. Despite the lower technology penetration levels in developing countries, their more malleable governance contexts may be more influenced by the effects of emerging technologies than older states with greater rigidity. Digitally influenced citizen engagement is, in short, one of those “leapfrog” areas in which developing nations may exploit technologies before the wealthier parts of the world. But countries can leapfrog to worse futures, not just better ones. This paper explores what technology might mean for engagement, makes predictions, and offers measures for governments to consider.