Lewis Hawke, Head of the PEFA Secretariat, attended the 12th Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) annual meeting of the Senior Budget Officials from Central, Eastern and South-Eastern European Countries (CESEE-SBO) in Ljubljana, Slovenia from June 28 to 29, 2016.
The meeting discussed the current issues and priorities facing Central, Eastern and South-Eastern European countries, and the global community, in advancing fiscal transparency and public participation in public sector resource allocation.
Lewis participated in discussion of how the understanding of fiscal transparency has evolved and highlighted the tools and instruments that can help in shaping an open, inclusive budget process. He highlighted the regional differences in budget transparency and changes over time, based on the PEFA data base of more than 500 reports. He noted that changes in transparency were not always in one direction and varied over time. This was consistent with findings by the International Budget Partnership (IBP), International Monetary Fund (IMF), and Public Expenditure Management Peer Assisted Learning (PEMPAL) countries.
Lewis also participated in a small high-level working group established by OECD to work collaboratively in development of a toolkit on fiscal transparency that was requested by the G20 subcommittee on fraud and anti-corruption. The toolkit aims to draw together key elements of the various principles, standard and practices on budget transparency to provide a user friendly self-assessment guide for countries seeking to identify weaknesses in fiscal transparency and potential fraud and corruption risks. The working group includes OECD, Global Initiative for Fiscal Transparency (GIFT), IBP, IMF, and the World Bank in addition to the PEFA Secretariat.
The OECD CESEE-SBO meeting was co-hosted by the Center of Excellence in Finance (CEF) and the Slovenian Ministry of Finance, with the cooperation of PEMPAL and GIFT.