Newsletter 55 – Nov 2020

The GIFT’s Coordination Team changes and evolves

As you know, the coordination team is an important component of the GIFT network. Along with the contributions from the stewards, the coordination team makes possible for the network to stay in action, to be responsive, and to keep moving forward. It is a group of highly qualified, resourceful and competitive professionals who are in charge of the substantive work streams and activities of the action network related to norms harmonization, principles, technical assistance, dissemination, open data stream and use of technologies.

Such team is always learning and evolving. We are very pleased to inform that Lorena Rivero, GIFT Manager for Knowledge, Technical Assistance and Collaboration, is moving forward to become part of the Fiscal Affairs Department of the International Monetary Fund. We congratulate the IMF, a GIFT lead steward, for such a magnificent addition to their ranks. Lorena was part of the GIFT coordination team for 2 years, and her legacy is profound and long-lasting in practically all of the workstreams of the network. We express to her our eternal gratitude and wish her a beautiful journey in this next step of her brilliant career.

We are also thrilled to announce that Aura Martínez is joining the GIFT team to undertake the functions that Lorena was covering. Aura has extensive experience on public financial management, open budgets and public participation in fiscal policies, as she worked for many years at the Ministry of Finance in Mexico, and also at local government level (in great Mexico City). Aura has been a GIFT transparency champion since 2014, when she was part of the magnificent team pushing strongly this agenda at Hacienda, Mexico. We had counted on Aura’s support and leadership from her government positions and now we are very happy to have her as part of the team.

We are also pleased to inform that Marianne (Yanne) Fabian is joining the coordination team. Until recently a champion of the fiscal openness team at the Department of Budget and Management of the Philippines, a lead steward, Yanne has extensive experience on budget reforms, open government and public participation in governance. More recently engaged in the local governance program in the Philippines, she has facilitated a series of nationwide public dialogues between government and citizens centered on the country’s COVID-19 response programs and strategies. Yanne will support GIFT public participation and collaboration activities and will be in charge of the outreach and the dissemination efforts of the network, as Communications Coordinator.

We are finally announcing that Elena Delfino will be also saying goodbye to the GIFT team. We are very grateful for her work and her kind disposition to support strongly the team with always fresh and good energy.

Launch of Jamaica’s InvestmentMap
November 4

Jamaica’s InvestmentMap is a platform developed by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) in coordination with the Government of Jamaica that seeks to improve the transparency and efficiency of public investment. It allows users to provide inputs to public institutions about how projects are being executed by providing: a way to collect the level of satisfaction of each user regarding the execution of the project, and the ability to leave comments and upload photos, for enhanced grassroots monitoring.

During the online launch event, hosted by the Ministry of Finance and Public Service, authorities from the IDB and GIFT highlighted the relevance of technology and user-oriented tools to enable citizen participation, and the key role of using the people’s inputs to improve decision making in the public infrastructure sector.

Inter-American Open Data Program to prevent and combat corruption (PIDA): training launch session
November 23
Under the framework of the Organization of American States’ (OAS) PIDA program, public servants from Argentina, Ecuador, Guatemala, Panama and the Dominican Republic started a capacity-building program that will harness their abilities to use open data to prevent and combat corruption. The objective of these training sessions, organized by the OAS’ Department for Effective Public Management, is to create open data champions within the governments and bring about positive impact in transparency, citizen participation and improving public service delivery.

During the launch session, high level authorities from all the countries called attention to: the importance of user-centered approaches, the need to incentivize the data demand through bottom-up initiatives, and the essential strengthening of the capacities of public institutions. Key speakers from CAF, Open Data Charter, GIFT and Colombia’s government highlighted the work they’re currently endeavoring to improve open procurement, provide guidance on fiscal transparency amidst the COVID-10 pandemic, and engage civil society in data driven anticorruption efforts, amongst others.

Find here GIFT’s presentation (in Spanish).

Guanajuato, Mexico, launches fiscal transparency website using our Open Fiscal Data schema
November 25

Sub-national governments are making their way in the path for fiscal transparency and open data. As they delivered 2021 Executive’s Budget Proposal to their local Congress, Guanajuato’s Ministry of Finance, Investment and Administration, in Mexico, launched its first Fiscal Transparency Portal. The key features include a user-centered design, targeted to their specific audiences, an interactive citizen’s version of the Executive’s budget proposal, information on investment projects, and data bases in our Open Fiscal Data Schema for the enacted budgets and their execution from 2018-2020. It is also important to highlight they published their open data publication plan for the site, so people know what to expect in the future and engage soon and frequently.

Work in progress: we are improving the Open Fiscal Data Packager!
Stay Tuned
You spoke, we listened. We are moving forward with the next iteration of the Open Fiscal Data Packager! We are currently working with the Datopian team to bring about new ways to power up your endeavors with a renewed packager. While our current version has helped transparency of expenditure and revenue information move forward all around the globe, we know there is room to do more. Stay tuned.

GIFT’S Coordination Team appointments

As we see our colleagues embark in new adventures, we are sure we’ll keep them in the community that they themselves so diligently helped built, and we welcome new faces and expertise to our team.

Aura Martínez Oriol
Coordinator for Knowledge, Technical Assistance and Collaboration

She has vast experience in government openness aimed at improving public management, specifically through innovation, transparency and public participation. From the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit of Mexico, she promoted the improvement of the Open Budget Index, implemented the contracting and open fiscal standards, as well as the platforms for extractive industries, infrastructure, and delivery of state aid and subsidies, among others.

She has supported Ministries of Finance at different levels of government and collaborated with international organizations such as the UN, Transparency International, and the OAS, as well as worked with different civil society organizations.

Aura holds a B.A. in political science and international relations, as well as a Master’s in Public Administration from Columbia University. She has received academic distinctions for the use of quantitative and qualitative methods in the social and economic sciences, and is the recipient of the Integrity Icon México distinction, for a career with integrity in the public service.

Marianne Fabian
Communications and Outreach Coordinator

As a good governance advocate, Marianne has seven years of extensive experience in the promotion of open government and public financial management reforms.

As previous Country Point of Contact of the Open Government Partnership (OGP) in the Philippines, she led the co-creation and assessment of three OGP National Action Plans from 2015 to 2019. Alongside this, she also facilitated the development of the Philippine government’s six-year roadmap on participatory governance.

During her tenure as the Technical Secretariat of the Fiscal Openness Working Group in the Philippine Department of Budget and Management, she led strategic communications, outreach and policy research activities which contributed directly and significantly in the increase of the Philippine Open Budget Index, propelling the Philippines 13 notches higher and to the 10th position in global fiscal transparency rankings in 2019 from 23rd in 2015.

New report by IBP and the INTOSAI Development Initiative: All hands on deck! Harnessing accountability through external public audits
November 17
We recommend you check-out the new paper: All hands on deck! Harnessing accountability through external public audits, a new report co-produced by IBP with the INTOSAI Development Initiative, that presents an assessment of national oversight systems in 117 countries (made possible by the Open Budget Survey) and provides recommendations for strengthening all components of the accountability ecosystem. The full report is available in Spanish, French and Arabic and there is a digital Executive summary.

The International Budget Partnership, a GIFT lead steward, has been advancing very strongly its work on tax from a civil society perspective as part of its Tax Equity Initiative. We are so pleased to know they are coming to add so much to the knowledge, discussions and advocacy for equitable taxation around the world. Take a look: