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National control mechanisms, transparency, non-discrimination and procurement

The Addis Ababa Action Agenda commits countries to “establish transparent public procurement frameworks as a strategic tool to reinforce sustainable development.” This is based on previous high-level commitments of the development community, such as the commitments made in Accra, Paris, and Busan.

Related commitments in this chapter on promoting and enforcing non-discriminatory laws, gender-responsive budgeting, and enabling women’s full and equal participation in the economy are followed up in pages on promoting peaceful and inclusive societies and gender equality.

Supreme audit institutions

Supreme audit institutions (SAIs) carry out the external audit of public sector bodies and are one of the key links in the formal system of financial accountability in most countries. The SAI’s formal role in the system of accountability, means that it should have a commonality of interest in strengthening the national system.  SAIs do not exist in isolation but are part of wider national public financial management and accountability systems. The SAI will be influenced by the way in which the public sector as a whole operates

The Supreme Audit Institutions Performance Measurement Framework (SAI PMF) was developed by the INTOSAI Working Group on the Value and Benefits of SAIs (WGVBS) following a decision at the INTOSAI Congress in South Africa in 2010. The 2016 version, which was subject to extensive consultation and testing through more than 20 pilot assessments, and several official rounds of consultation endorsed at the INTOSAI Congress in Abu Dhabi in 2016. The SAI PMF provides Supreme Audit Institutions (SAIs) with a framework for voluntary assessments of their performance against the International Standards for Supreme Audit Institutions (ISSAIs) and other established international good practices for external public auditing. SAI PMF is a multi-purpose, universal framework, and can be applied in all types of SAIs, regardless of governance structure, mandate, national context and development level. The framework can be used to contribute to improved SAI capacity development and strategic planning through promoting the use of performance measurement and management, as well as identifying opportunities to strengthen and monitor SAI performance, and to strengthen accountability. It is relevant for those SAIs that have adopted, aspire to adopt, or wish to benchmark themselves against the ISSAIs and other international good practices.

The PEFA Program includes two indicators on external audit and legislative scrutiny of external audit. Of the seven countries that undertook PEFA assessments in 2016, the highest score achieved on these metrics was a B+. In addition, the IMF’s Fiscal Transparency Code, the international standard on fiscal transparency, has a principle on external audit (principle 1.4.2).

Public procurement

Public procurement is a crucial component of public services delivery, good governance, and a sustainable economy. Governments around the world spend approximately 12 per cent – 20 per cent of a country’s GDP on public procurement.

Under the auspices of the joint World Bank Group and OECD Development Assistance Committee Procurement Round Table initiative, bilateral and multilateral donors worked together with some developing countries to develop procurement standards for ODA recipients known as the OECD Methodology for Assessing Procurement Systems (MAPS). A revision to the MAPS was called for in April 2015 and throughout 2016 a public consultation process was organised. The draft revision of the MAPS includes 14 core indicators which are divided into 4 topical pillars and consist of 54 sub-indicators with specific assessment criteria. As next steps, the feedback received during the public consultations will be incorporated into the MAPS, and testing of the MAPS will begin in selected countries across different regions and income levels in the last quarter of 2016 and first quarter of 2017. The supplementary modules will be elaborated in the first months of 2017; the final tool is expected for mid-2017.

Budget transparency and accountability

The IMF’s Fiscal Transparency Code (the Code) is the international standard for disclosure of information about public finances. The Code comprises a set of principles built around four pillars: (i) fiscal reporting; (ii) fiscal forecasting and budgeting; (iii) fiscal risk analysis and management; and (iv) resource revenue management. For each transparency principle, the Code differentiates between basic, good, and advanced practices to provide countries with clear milestones toward full compliance with the Code and ensure its applicability to the broad range of IMF member countries. The Code underpins IMF fiscal transparency evaluations, which identify strengths and weaknesses in fiscal disclosure, and make targeted recommendations for improvements. By end April 2017, 22 countries have undertaken fiscal transparency evaluations, of which 16 have been published.

The Open Government Partnership Global Summit 2016 took place in Paris, France in December 2016. The conference, which was opened by French President Francois Hollande, included remarks by thirteen Heads of State and Ministers. Seven new countries joined the partnership in 2016 bringing its total membership to 75 countries. A special focus of the summit was on open government commitments at the subnational level, with 15 pioneer subnational authorities submitting action plans to the partnership. The year also saw 42 new national action plans being submitted. At the summit, the Steering Committee of the Open Government Partnership endorsed the Paris Declaration on Open Government.

In September 2016, researchers at the International Budget Partnership began research for Open Budget Survey 2017, collecting data on budget-related events, activities, and developments that occurred before 31 December 2016 and capturing them in individual questionnaires. In March 2017, they began sending these questionnaires to anonymous peer reviewers with substantial working knowledge of budget systems in in each survey country. 115 countries will be surveyed. Of the 102 countries included in the previous survey, 32 countries fell short across all three pillars of budget transparency, public participation, and formal oversight. In Financing Development for Children in Africa, UNICEF and the International Budget Partnership (IBP) carry out an in-depth examination of how budget practices are working for children across the continent. Between 2012 and 2015, the average OBI score for the 30 African countries for which comparable data are available increased from 29 to 39.