PEMPAL Newsletter,
July - September 2016

PEMPAL Executive took important decisions that will shape the longer term future of PEMPAL.

While PEMPAL COPs made a usual break in thematic meetings during the last two months of summer, the leadership of PEMPAL has been working hard on development of the new PEMPAL Strategy 2017-22. The COP activities resumed in September with thematic videoconference of BCOP.

Leadership activities supported the network – PEMPAL Executive meeting in Bern, Switzerland

The progress of development of the PEMPAL Strategy 2017-22 was considered by the PEMPAL Executive on July 14-15 2016, in Bern, Switzerland. The meeting was hosted by one of the main donors of PEMPAL program, the Switzerland Government’s State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), and was attended by the members of Executive Committees of all three PEMPAL COPs (Treasury COP (TCOP), Internal Audit COP (IACOP) and Budget COP (BCOP)). The participants included 17 member country representatives from Ministries of Finance and Treasuries from 13 countries (Albania, Armenia, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Georgia, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Moldova, Russian Federation, and Tajikistan). Representatives of the key donors to the program: SECO, the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation, and the World Bank also participated.

The objectives of the meeting were for the PEMPAL Executive to consider the progress made on the development of the PEMPAL Strategy 2017-22 and to make decisions on:
  • Approaches to identifying COP thematic priorities for the next five years, including ideas to strengthen cross-COP collaboration;
  • Feasible costing options and funding scenarios for the next strategy; and
  • How to improve PEMPAL’s methodology and approach to collecting success stories.
Key decisions were made on these aspects, which shaped the draft of the strategy document finalized in September and shared with the COPs for consultations.  The ‘Event Report’ summarizing the key discussions and decisions can be found here.

The main meeting was preceded by parallel preparatory meetings of the three Executive Committees held on July 13. Minutes of the meetings are accessible here: TCOP, BCOP. Minutes of IACOP meeting are available on request.

At the start of the meetings, SECO organized thematic presentations on the public finance reforms of the Switzerland Government in relation to a) developing accrual accounting and the lessons learnt; and b) fiscal rules in the form of Swiss cantonal debt brakes and their institutional and legal framework at the subnational level, delivered by the Zurich University of Applied Sciences, School of Management and Law. The presentations can be found here.

Representatives from PEMPAL and the World Bank also attended the SECO offices to provide a presentation on the peer learning approach used by PEMPAL during a ‘brown bag lunch’ on July 13.  Around twenty SECO participants attended the presentation and a ‘questions and answers’ session on the processes and peer learning approaches used by the network.

The Bern events concluded with the Steering Committee meeting that endorsed the next steps to finalize the new PEMPAL Strategy.  Minutes of the Steering Committee meeting can be accessed through the link here.

The TCOP Executive Committee met (through videoconference) on September 8th, to discuss the issues related to preparation of the events planned for the FY 2017. Several thematic videoconferences were scheduled for the fall 2016, including the meeting devoted to cash management on October 19, 2016.  Minutes to the Executive Committee meeting can be found here.

PEMPAL Budget Community of Practice Thematic Group on Budget Literacy and Transparency met through videoconference to advance Citizens Budget knowledge product development


The videoconference (VC) brought together members of the Working Group comprised of 15 member countries.The objective of the WG is to learn from international experience on approaches to raise budget literacy among citizens and to enhance budget openness and accessibility.
 
The objective of the meeting was to review the progress in developing the BCOP knowledge product on Citizens’ Budgets.  During the first half of 2016 the WG has been developing recommendations on overcoming challenges in designing and implementing Citizens’ Budgets in PEMPAL countries.  Based on the discussions by the WG and a review of international practice and advice that followed, draft recommendations have been developed that were presented for discussion by WG participants at a VC on September 22, 2016.  This product, to be finalized in 2017 after input of additional PEMPAL country case studies, provides a menu of options for those countries who do not have Citizens' Budgets to break the identified challenges preventing them from advancing this important reform to strengthen budget transparency.
 
The results of the meeting included the WG's review of the draft knowledge product document, with subsequent discussions leading to key decisions made on steps required to finalize it.  Materials of the meeting can be found here.

PEMPAL Annual Report 2015 released

PEMPAL Annual Report 2015 documenting the achievements and results of PEMPAL became public late summer. In addition to the annual data for 2015, the report incorporates the results of the mid-term review (MTR) of the program which produced a very rich set of data on various dimensions of the program performance that was not available earlier. This data is included in the relevant sections of this report together with the key MTR  results and recommendations.

The PEMPAL Annual Report 2015 is accesssible at the network website through the following link.

PEMPAL shared 15 relevant documents to support discussions.

This included 15 PowerPoint presentations and text documents related to results of discussions and PEMPAL Strategy development process, translated and delivered to ensure all our members got access to, and shared, information in the official languages of PEMPAL – English, Russian and Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian. Key documents translated and distributed to members, including knowledge products developed by the COPs, can be found accessing the links below:

Positive feedback was gained from Members

Results from survey of members distributed after the Executive meeting showed satisfaction for this PEMPAL event as 4.9 out of a possible 5.0. Further details can be found under ‘Evaluation Report’ here.

Recent and upcoming events

TCOP:

  • Workshop of the Working Group on Public Sector Accounting and Reporting, Minsk, Belarus, October, 3-5th, 2016
  • Thematic videoconference on cash management - October 19th, 2016

IACOP:

  • RIFIX Working Group and Internal Control Working Group meetings – Moscow, Russia, October 17-19, 2016

BCOP:

  • BCOP Program and Performance Budgeting Working Group Workshop and the meeting of OECD Senior Budget Officials' Network on Performance and Results – Paris, France, November 23-25, 2016
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