The PEFA Program has reached 150 countries and the PEFA assessment framework has been used in over 600 assessments at the national and sub-national levels. Building on this body of knowledge and the experience that has been developed among stakeholders the PEFA Partners have decided to undertake a Forward-Looking Study.

The purpose is to propose options to define the future PEFA program in terms of focus and scope, development of the framework, organization of the Secretariat function, and funding modalities.

The PEFA stakeholders will be consulted through a web-survey in and around February. In addition, inputs and ideas for this study are invited and can be sent to the PEFA Secretariat at Please send any inputs by February 28, 2019.

The review is being undertaken by a team of consultants from ECORYS under the guidance of the PEFA Steering Committee. The review is accompanied by an Advisory group of independent PFM experts.

The study will examine ten main themes:

Existing PEFA Framework

1.  Use, perception and expectations: How is PEFA actually used? How is it perceived by different client groups: developing countries (in different regions, low and middle income), upper middle income and high- income countries; sub national authorities (states, provinces, municipalities etc.); civil society organizations (international and local); different categories of donors (bilateral, multilateral, non-traditional, private etc.); private investors; private financial sector institutions/banks; rating agencies; academia. Could the branding of the initiative be further strengthened?

2. Existing and potential demand: What are the PFM related information needs/demand per existing and potential future client groups (including MICs and developed countries); analyze usefulness, applicability, potential response of PEFA to these needs. What is the demand and scope for streamlined PEFA processes and lighter PEFA assessments for subnational governments?

3. Ownership: Are PEFA assessment processes and report findings sufficiently "owned"; how is the role of donors in the PEFA assessment processes perceived by beneficiaries? Can the assessment processes be adapted with a view to strengthen ownership of processes and findings?

PEFA and PFM Reforms

4. Future trends in PFM reforms: What are the probable future trends in governance and PFM reforms that might impact on the relevance of the design of the PEFA Assessment processes and reports? Are developments in technology, reform emphasis and approaches and expectations changing and how might the PEFA Framework shape or adapt to that? Examples could include increased focus on private financing of public infrastructure, disruptive technology (e.g. big data, artificial intelligence, blockchain, etc.), focus on the link between service delivery and PFM, regional integration. In this context, examine also the reflections in the academic world and the global PFM community on PFM support that might impact on the relevance of the PEFA Framework and partnership - what are the options and relevant considerations? What type of support might governments need and how could the PEFA program contribute? Considering the evolutions in the development context (and our understanding of it – for example, political economy and increased emphasis on economic development), what does this mean for PEFA?  In this context, does the current PEFA program adequately reflect all three key principles of the Strengthened Approach outlined above (page 1)? If not, how could this be better integrated in the short term (within phase V) and the medium term (beyond phase V)?

5. International standard: Should/could PEFA develop into a formal global standard for quality of PFM systems? Consider experience with EITI, Kimberley process, international/regional procurement standards and other international standards such as INTOSAI accounting and auditing. Could PEFA evolve to a tool similar to “Doing Business Report” with all countries regularly undertaking PEFA assessments and could this also facilitate reporting on SDGs, e.g. SDG 16?

6. Diagnostic tools: What is the place of PEFA among many PFM diagnostic tools? What should be the role of the PEFA secretariat in streamlining the PFM diagnostic toolkit? Should the 2016 PEFA Framework be updated in the medium term and what would be the pointers for an update? Can an update be structured and organized to better integrate other international diagnostics tools on PFM?

7. PFM reforms: What is the relevance and effect of PEFA assessments on PFM reform processes including both country led and funded, and development partner supported and financed (TA, budget support, loans, grants)? Could the usefulness of PEFA for realistic PFM reform programming be further strengthened (including at subnational government level)? Should the PEFA secretariat have a role in improving PFM performance beyond maintaining the PEFA framework and assuring the quality of PEFA assessments? If so, what should their expanded role in the PFM reform process be?

8. Independence: Is the independence of PEFA Assessments and quality assurance adequate?

Funding and Organization

9. Financial sustainability of PEFA: How can financial sustainability of the initiative be ensured in the long-term? Should new client groups/financiers be attracted? Is the current approach the most cost-effective way to manage the PEFA framework? Are there other funding models that could be considered? Should PEFA remain entirely a public good or should the Secretariat charge for some PEFA services? If so, what services and how should the fees be set?

10. The PEFA secretariat: Is the independence of the PEFA Secretariat adequate and how could it best be ensured? Should there be changes to the functions of the Secretariat? Should the mandate of the secretariat be revised, or extended beyond the management of the PEFA and the quality assurance mechanism? If so, what might this expanded role be? For example, can the PEFA Secretariat be given responsibility for quality assurance, maintenance etc. of other diagnostic tools? Should the governance structure be revised? Should the role of beneficiaries extend beyond being users and owners of the PEFA Assessments to becoming co-owners of the PEFA Framework? Are the location, organizational affiliation and other aspects of the PEFA secretariat appropriate? How should the functions of the Secretariat be undertaken: Should the functions of the Secretariat continue to be undertaken by a global unit (for example associated with the World Bank) or should the functions be fully or partially decentralized to regional units (for example regional development Banks or Think Tanks etc.).  Could some functions be outsourced, and if so would this be more cost-effective and could quality still be assured?

A report is expected by the end of 2019.