In the past decade, the Portuguese-speaking countries of Angola, Cabo Verde, Guinea- Bissau, Mozambique, Sao Tome and Principe, and Timor-Leste have experienced significant progress in economic governance. Recent public finance management reforms are the main reason for this success. However, weaknesses, including inadequate institutional capacity, skills and human resources, continue to hamper their public administration systems. This situation has undermined effective public finance management, budgetary oversight and control of public resources, which has significant adverse impacts on other governance and development sectors.
Towards a Solution
Since 2014, the European Development Fund (EDF), National Authorizing Officers (NAO) of Timor-Leste and the African countries using Portuguese as an official language (PALOP), in coordination with the European Union, have had a partnership with UNDP to strengthen good economic governance. The initiative is funded through the 10th EDF Governance Initiative and cooperation between the NAO and the European Union with the aim of bolstering the effectiveness of external political, judicial and civilian controls of public finances in these countries. It does so by strengthening the technical and functional skills of supreme audit institutions, parliaments, parliamentarians, civil society and the media. These beneficiary institutions, in particular supreme audit institutions and parliaments, fulfil an important role in the prevention of corruption and mismanagement of public funds and facilitate a more efficient and effective use of public resources.
The project’s multi-country intervention logic, grounded in the principles of mutual benefit, sovereignty, national ownership and equality, creates conditions for participating institutions to develop synergies and dynamics through the exchange of experiences, joint learning and South-South cooperation that involve partners in different countries. The project supports partners’ access to good practices and knowledge in the area of external control, legislative oversight and public scrutiny of public funds. While addressing capacity needs in each of the programme countries, the initiative also develops activities tailored to identify and meet the common needs of PALOP.
The project is working to ensure sustainable access to existing databases and information in Portuguese. A platform was set up in collaboration with AGORA, the largest online platform for parliamentary strengthening in the world, and with the International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI) and the Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions of the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries (OISC/CPLP). In collaboration with the PALOP legal database (http:// www.legis-palop.org/bd/Home.aspx/Plataforma) and the work of the Community of Portuguese Language Countries Open Budget Initiative, the main benefit is to have a Lusophone branch within the LegisPALOP database and in the AGORA global knowledge management platform for parliamentarians (the PALOP- TL AGORA Portal available from http://www.agora-parl. org/palop). The project will contribute to establishing a multi-country civil society organization (CSO) platform for PALOP and Timor-Leste, showcasing lessons learned and progress made by CSOs within the Community of Portuguese Language Countries Open Budget Initiative.
The initiative’s innovation is three-fold:
- A shared history of processes, institutional practices, legal frameworks, cultural ties and fraternity that unite the African Portuguese-speaking countries and Timor-Leste;
- Engagement with key beneficiary institutions in the development of the project, which has resulted in the strong ownership of participating countries; and
- Establishment of online platforms anchored in other successful existing global and regional knowledge management and information-sharing platforms, such as AGORA, OISC/CPLP and LegisPALOP.
With two years of implementation still ahead, the project has already directly reached more than 1,300 individuals from the beneficiary institutions, developing their capacities through peer learning, expert advice, and access to know-how and cutting- edge information all of which is helping in delivering relevant outputs and products at the country level.
The initiative’s main partners include PALOP as well as Timor-Leste. Institutions in Brazil and Portugal, in particular the Court of Auditors and Parliament, are technical partners in the delivery of relevant actions. Financial and technical support comes from the European Union and UNDP, and the latter is also the implementing partner and the project’s implementing entity. The initiative also promotes collaboration and technical coordination with expert organizations such as the World Bank, AGORA, the Inter-Parliamentary Union, the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ), the Conseil régional de formation des institutions supérieures de contrôle des finances publiques d’Afrique francophone subsaharienne, the International Budget Partnership, OISC/CPLP, the INTOSAI Development Initiative and the African Organization of English-speaking Supreme Audit Institutions.
Sustainable Development Goal targets: 16.5 and 16.6
Countries / territories involved: Angola, Cabo Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, Sao Tome and Principe, Timor-Leste
Supported by: European Union
Implementing entity: UNDP Project status: Ongoing
Project period: February 2014 to December 2017
URL of the practice: http://www.propaloptl-sai.org/index.php/en/
- Mr. Ricardo Godinho Gomes, Pro PALOP-TL SAI Manager and Head of the PMU, UNDP Cabo Verde Country Office firstname.lastname@example.org
- Mr. Zeferino Teka, Pro PALOP-TL SAI Focal Point, UNDP Angola Country Office, email@example.com
- Mr. Jose Malam Jassi, Pro PALO-TL Focal Point, UNDP Guinea-Bissau Country Office, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Ms. Habiba Rodolfo, Pro PALOP-TL SAI Focal Point, UNDP Mozambique Country Office email@example.com
- Ms. Milu Aguiar, Pro PALOP-TL SAI Focal Point, UNDP Sao Tome and Principe Country Office firstname.lastname@example.org
- Mr. Julio Pinto, Pro PALOP-TL SAI Focal Point, UNDP Timor-Leste Country Office, email@example.com