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Achieving good budgetary governance: What have we learned from PEFA in the past decade?

Lewis Hawke's picture

The national budget is the primary document through which governments present their plans and the resources, including taxes, they intend to collect to fund them.

Many countries present both national and sectoral strategies that identify policy priorities to be funded through the budget. For example, the health sector could include details of policies to provide vaccination on a range of diseases and details of citizens' access to specific healthcare services.

A government's inability to implement the national budget as planned could be a sign of lack of capacity to forecast revenues and expenditures adequately or an inability to properly cost financial impact of government policies, or quite commonly a mixture of all of these issues.

However, in many cases the reason why governments are unable to execute budgets as planned could be, at least partially due to exogenous factors, such as natural disasters, armed conflicts, or increased level of migration flows.

The Sustainable Development Goals—target 16.6—recognize that providing a sound basis for development requires that government budgets are comprehensive, transparent, and realistic.

This is measured through the Public Expenditure and Financial Accountability (PEFA)[1] indicator that assesses the difference between planned and actual budget expenditure in countries across the world.

Since 2005, 147 countries and 178 subnational governments have carried out a PEFA assessment, with national spending more likely to be on target than subnational spending.

Forging partnerships for peaceful and inclusive societies

Ozong Agborsangaya-Fiteu's picture

Maybe it’s the urgency of this real-world challenge that brings us closer together. The World Bank Group is hosting the Global Fragility Forum 2016 Take Action for Peaceful and Inclusive Societies for three days until tomorrow, featuring more than 70 sessions organized by over 100 partners.
This year’s program builds on the momentum of the Sustainable Development Agenda 2030 and takes a hard look at implementation in fragile environments to achieve our own twin goals. It also highlights emerging challenges including forced displacement and violent extremism, where development actors have an important role to play. With three months to go before the World Humanitarian Summit, many of the discussions are focusing on improving humanitarian - development collaboration.
Communities from humanitarian, development, peacebuilding, security and more are represented, as well as my own colleagues at the World Bank Group. Among policy makers and practitioners, Central African Republic President Catherine Samba-Panza, UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Tunisian Quartet’s Ouided Bouchamaoui, Princess Sarah Zeid of Jordan, former President Danilo Turk of Slovenia and Afghan Rapper Sonita Alizadeh are also taking the stage.

Lining up to support the Open Government Partnership

Daniel Nogueira-Budny's picture
Daily life in Monrovia, Liberia on December 2, 2014.
Photo © Dominic Chavez/World Bank

The Open Government Partnership (OGP) just concluded its third Global Summit. Government, civil society, and development partner representatives from over one hundred countries met in Mexico City to strengthen international cooperation around the open government agenda.
This year the summit emphasized connections between the OGP mission and the slate of newly adopted Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) aimed at ending extreme poverty by 2030.
Delegates to the summit vowed to contribute to achievement of SDG Goal 16, and committed to mainstreaming open government principles such as including transparency, citizen participation, accountability and integrity, and technology and innovation into implementation of the entire 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Recognizing that collaborative, multi-sectoral approaches lead to better results, the World Bank intends to anchor its support for open government reforms and initiatives in OGP member countries’ national action plans. The result of extensive consultations with government and civil society stakeholders, OGP national action plans are country-developed strategy papers designed around the specific open government needs, demands, and goals of a given country.  
As an example, the Bank’s Open Aid Partnership (OAP) has been working for four years to make information on aid-financed activities more transparent and accessible. This mission clearly fits within the umbrella of increasing government openness. Now, OAP is working to align its engagements with the OGP in joint pursuit of the Global Goals. It does this by offering specific expertise in open aid data as countries develop their national action plans and implement related transparency commitments within the OGP framework.  

Is adoption of governance as a SDG an empty gesture?

Vinay Bhargava's picture

The adoption of governance focused SDG #16 and its targets is being claimed a great victory for proponents of good governance.
All UN member states approved the goal to “build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels” and committed to develop action plans to achieve targets that “substantially reduce corruption”, practice “responsive, inclusive and participatory decision making”, and “ensure public access to information.”
On the surface this appears to be a major paradigm shift from the MDGs.

A closer examination suggests that these intentions have a caveat that may weaken the supposed shift in the political economy of governance for development. All of these commitments are subject to national legislations that vary broadly in scope in terms of access to information, public participation and strength of anti-corruption policies and institutions. Moreover, governments involved have different opinions on what key concepts such as rule of law, fundamental freedoms, and accountable institutions mean.