The Covid-19 pandemic and the economic crisis place a significant strain on public finances globally.
Robust and accountable PFM systems are critical to help manage public finances effectively to deliver needed results, including reducing waste and misuse. The PEFA assessment framework plays an important role to assess and reinforce public expenditure efficiency to guide resources where they are most needed.
The PEFA Steering Committee met virtually on Thursday 3 December, hosted by the Slovak Republic, the current the Chair of the Steering Committee. Mr. Martin Polonyi, Director General from the Ministry of Finance in Slovakia, recalled the relevance of their PFM slogan to PEFA: ‘Better public finance for better life”.
In this meeting, the PEFA partners decided on the PEFA program approach for 2021.
The PEFA partners agreed to launch the Global PFM Report Online in 2021. Virtual events in three different languages will promote the report to reach out to PEFA audience around the world. With over a hundred data visualizations accompanied by short analyses and country examples, the first annual Global Report on Public Financial Management highlights key developments in PFM over time and across countries, based on data from PEFA assessments to-date.
The meeting also took stock and agreed on improved approach to respond to new PFM demands including those relating to Piloting new PEFA Climate, tailored PEFA Guidance for Subnational Governments, Agile PEFA Guidance, as well as the new PEFA Assessment Report format and continued use and promotion of Gender Responsive PFM Framework.
It was considered that finalizing the PEFA e-learning course to introduce PEFA to new users despite the constrains of the pandemic is of great importance. The planning of a new round of annual PEFA Research competition will build robust evidence base on the role of PFM in delivering sustainable development outcomes, while exploring different possible options to help identify PFM bottlenecks on service delivery is a new initiative.
Ministry of Finance from West Bank and Gaza shared their experience of piloting PEFA Handbook Volume 4 – ‘PEFA for PFM improvement’ Guidance. This engagement brought high value in helping to turn the PEFA assessment into an updated PFM reform action plan; a joint and coordinated government and development partner discussion on contextual factors behind the PEFA assessment scores helped to define the scope and required capacity needs for the reform actions.
UNDP discussed their excellent collaboration with PEFA in the design of the PEFA Climate Module. It was now critical to integrate climate change into concrete implementation activities – UNDP is thrilled that PEFA Climate module is filling that critical gap in the toolbox. Going forward, UNDP emphasized the continued importance of bringing the PFM and SDG agendas better together – as well as finding innovative ways to bridge the relevant communities.
The PEFA Partners will continue to discuss the role of the PEFA Program in the coming years to meet the emerging PFM challenges.
The PEFA Steering Committee meets twice a year. It is composed of representatives of nine PEFA partners: the European Commission, International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Development Agency (AFD), Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs, the Foreign Commonwealth Development Office (FCDO) from the UK, The Ministry of Finance of The Slovak Republic and The Ministry of Finance of the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg.
The PEFA Steering Committee is responsible for: (a) providing overall strategic guidance and direction on the implementation of the PEFA program; (b) deciding on operational strategies and procedures; (c) approving annual work plans and budgets proposed by the PEFA Secretariat; (d) reviewing the progress in the implementation of approved activities; and (e) establishing working groups or subcommittees to assist in the technical and specific non-technical aspects of developing and maintaining the PEFA program.
The PEFA Secretariat is responsible for implementing the Steering Committee’s policies and approved work plans; delivering agreed services to the PEFA partner organizations and to other stakeholders as agreed by program policies; and reporting to the Steering Committee on progress of activities and progress against results targets.