Pacific civil society and illustrators become experts in public financial management

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The PFM project aims to strengthen public financial management oversight in the Pacific region, while improving budget oversight, public finance oversight and the accountability capacities of parliaments, SAIs and civil society.

More than 50 representatives and illustrators of civil society organizations (CSOs) from Fiji, Tuvalu, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea are on their way to becoming experts as they enter the second phase of the “Almost Expert” mentoring program which will virtually launch on October 13, 2021 at 11:00 am Fiji time.

The program is provided by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) through the Project to Strengthen Public Financial Management and Governance in the Pacific (GFP Project).

The second phase of the mentoring program will focus on developing budget submissions with the aim of influencing the prioritization of public funds. As part of the launch, a panel of experts from government, civil society and illustrators will share their experiences and expectations for budget submissions.

Over the past five weeks, under Phase I of the mentoring program, participants have been engaged online through the vakaPasifika Public Finance Management e-learning platform and live virtual sessions with experts from Pacific PFM. They were given an overview of public financial management, but more importantly of what is involved in the “watchdog role” that civil society is often expected to play in public financial management. In addition to Supreme Audit Institutions (SAIs) and parliaments, civil society plays an important oversight role to ensure transparency and accountability in the use of public funds.

“Every year we get a budget to support senior care, but we know it won’t be enough. And each year we, the Trustees, must supplement the funds with an ad hoc fundraiser. By completing the first part of the public finance mentoring program, I see that we are missing an opportunity to engage in budget submission and examine what public funds are used for and better allocation of public money for dignity. of our elders. I look forward to working on how to start this conversation, ”said Rajneesh Lata Charan, administrator and vice president of Golden Age Home, Natabua, Lautoka, Fiji.

To facilitate understanding of this oversight role and the PFM Project’s aspirations to contextualize PFM, Pacific Illustrators were also part of the artists stream of the PFM Mentorship Program. They have produced insightful illustrations that simplify key PFM concepts that ordinary citizens can easily understand.

The capacity of CSOs varies widely in Pacific Island Countries (PIPs), and in many countries capacity development support is needed to enable CSOs to develop skills in both collecting and focusing points. citizens’ point of view, and analysis of budgetary and financial management to make their contribution. in national budget processes. Through the second phase of the mentoring program, the PFM project will stimulate the discourse among all involved and how tax transparency and citizen engagement can be encouraged, how citizens can be more aware of how their resources are policies are used and how these measures can stimulate more open societies.

“I am grateful for this opportunity to learn the processes involved in learning about how government allocates public funds. As a young person, having this knowledge is even more essential in order to understand the role we play in ensuring accountability in the use of public funds. I now look forward to hearing more about influencing government priority setting through the formulation of appropriate budget proposals, ”said Deffnie Thompson of the Vanuatu Youth Council.

The PFM project aims to strengthen public financial management oversight in the Pacific region, while improving the budget oversight, public finance oversight and accountability capacities of parliaments, SAIs and civil society in the region. region, aligning with international standards of public financial control and accountability, and fostering citizen engagement and oversight. The project is funded by the European Union (EU) and implemented by UNDP.

Source: UNDP Pacific Office, Fiji

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