Newsletter 56 – Dec 2020

Message from the GIFT Network Director

GIFT Community News

Tool to Watch

Interesting Reads

2020 is finally over… It changed us forever.
A Year-End Reflection from the GIFT Network Director

In this blogpost, Juan Pablo Guerrero writes to the GIFT community about the difficult year that was, the value of fiscal transparency during times of crisis, and his hopes for the year ahead. Read more here.

Universidade de Sao Paulo’s fiscal transparency project recognized
December 4, 2020
The Caring for My Neighborhood program, a fiscal transparency and social participation initiative of the Universidade de Sao Paulo (USP) in Brazil, won an honorable mention from the 5th Luis Fernando Computing Award last December 4. The said award is promoted by Brazil’s Web Media ’20 and given to innovation projects that have a social impact and promote society improvements. Find out more about the project’s citation here.

Congratulations, USP!

Atelier sur la transparence budgétaire en Afrique Francophone | 30 Novembre, 1er, 7 et 8 Décembre 2020
IMF holds regional seminar on transparency for Francophone Africa
December 8, 2020
The International Monetary Fund held an online regional workshop attended by representatives from 16 countries in Francophone Africa last December 8. Featuring conversations around issues related to government response mechanisms to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and their financial implications, the workshop served as an effective venue for dialogue between and among actors from ministries of finance, auditing authorities, parliaments and civil society from participating countries. GIFT Network Director Juan Pablo Guerrero participated in a roundtable discussion that was part of the workshop, highlighting the relevance of the fiscal transparency agenda for regional development. During the event, Guerrero also shared that the French language version of GIFT’s publication on Fiscal Data for Emergency Response: Guide for COVID-19 will soon be available. Stay tuned francophones!

Access GIFT’s presentation (in French) here.

In Focus: Public financial management in the post-pandemic in Argentina
December 10, 2020
More civil society organizations (CSOs) around the world have been tapping into discussions related to public financial management after the pandemic. This past December 10, GIFT Network Director Juan Pablo Guerrero participated in an online forum that featured the intersection of this agenda with transparency and integrity. The event was hosted by the Center for the Implementation of Public Policies for Equity and Growth (CIPPEC) in Argentina. As one of the event panelists, Guerrero highlighted the need for fiscal transparency in emergency situations and promoted the use of the COVID guide both as an analytical and a practical tool for ministries of finance and auditing institutions, as well as for CSOs and academics.

Find GIFTs presentation (in Spanish) here.

Fostering Cooperation and Promoting Global Integrity: Mexico commemorates International Anti-Corruption Day
December 10, 2020
The observance of the International Anti-Corruption Day is aimed at raising awareness about this public problem and fostering international cooperation and co-responsible actions towards promoting integrity at the global level. Various government agencies and international development organizations in Mexico jointly carried out a week-long series of events to commemorate the International Day Against Corruption 2020. The GIFT team took part in this proactive effort, with their Coordinator for Knowledge, Technical Assistance, and Collaboration, Aura Martinez, participating in an online panel, where she highlighted the role of civil society and governmental alliances, as well as that of fiscal transparency in building public trust during the pandemic on December 10.

How can governments stop COVID-19 from supercharging inequality?
December 14, 2020

The coronavirus pandemic has swept across a world that is evidently unprepared to fight it. Countries have fallen short in efforts to craft effective policies to fight inequality, and many are even going backwards in most of its dimensions. To raise awareness about this reality and explore how governments can better tackle the expanding gap between the rich and the poor, Oxfam International and the Development Finance International organized a panel last December 14 with global experts who shared insights about current trends and ways to move forward.

Fiscal Openness Accelerator in the time of COVID-19: Benin, Nigeria, Senegal and South Africa share country updates
December 15, 2020
Reflecting on the impact of the pandemic on the progress of the Fiscal Openness Accelerator (FOA) project, government and civil society leaders from Benin, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa shared country updates during the Fiscal Openness Accelerator (FOA) Meeting convened by the GlFT and the International Budget Partnership (IBP) on December 15. The event served as an avenue to assess and reaffirm commitments to transparency and accountability of the FOA pilot countries, as well as to recognize
that the challenges ahead require an all-hands-on-deck approach and putting more emphasis on the value of citizen engagement in fiscal policies.
But despite the challenges brought about by COVID-19, participating countries shared inspiring and significant progress and future plans in terms of deepening the openness of their national budget process, and incorporating public participation in their budget cycle. To close the meeting, the GIFT and IBP teams provided a message of support and guidance for the next steps in the efforts of the FOA pilot countries towards delivering quality and impactful public participation mechanisms. 2020 has definitely been a challenging year but 2021 seems to be more promising for fiscal openness reforms!

GIFT Lead Stewards convene high-level panel on equity and accountability in COVID-19 spending
December 16, 2020

The International Budget Partnership, the Indonesian Ministry of Finance and the International Monetary Fund–which are all GIFT Lead Stewards–joined in a high-level virtual panel on promoting equity and accountability in COVID-19 spending held last December 16. The Comptroller General of the United States of America also participated in the event, which was moderated by the National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights.

With unprecedented amounts of money being spent on COVID-19 response programs throughout the world, the session highlighted the critical role of civil society and citizens at large in keeping government on its toes while it delivers essential public services. All panelists emphasized the importance of transparency, accountability, and public participation, especially during times of global crisis. Watch a replay of the session here.

Tool to Watch
Check it out: The IMF’s Fiscal Affairs Department launched a new portal dedicated to infrastructure governance last December 3. This online platform features assessment tools, publications, seminars and other resources developed by the IMF to support its member countries to strengthen infrastructure governance. The portal also features useful information, reports and comparative and interactive data visualizations on the strength of infrastructure governance in the regions and countries where IMF works.

Interesting Reads
Open Data Barometer 2020 for Latin America and the Caribbean is now out!

The report covers 24 countries and classifies governments according to their readiness for open data initiatives, implementation of open data programs and the impact that open data is having on businesses, politics and civil society movements. Access the full copy of the report here.
Russia publishes report on best practices in participatory budgeting

The Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation has recently published a report which highlights the Participatory budgeting best practices, which is called initiative budgeting in Russia. Download the full report here.