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Citizen Participation in Auditing: The Key to Open Response and Recovery

La participación ciudadana en la fiscalización: Pieza central para una respuesta y recuperación abiertas

MONITORES CIUDADANOS 6

Supreme Audit Institutions (SAIs) are essential to identify and mitigate the risks associated with the use of power and with the mobilization of the extraordinary funds allocated to the economic and social measures rolled out to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and its consequences.

Open Government Partnership’s (OGP) agenda has evolved toward an open state perspective, positioning SAIs in this space and facilitating the inclusion of open government commitments put forward by SAIs. These commitments can be the foundation of an integrated accountability system, allowing for an open, sustained recovery from the crisis brought about by the pandemic.  

In its third action plan (2017-2019), Argentina committed to conducting training and participation workshops about thematic areas jointly identified by SAIs and civil society. This led to a second commitment established in its fourth action plan (2019-2021) to strengthen citizen monitoring of the recommendations put forward by auditing authorities, which is fundamental for effective accountability.

With transformative potential, the commitment established by the Comptroller General of the republic (CGR in Spanish) as part of Peru’s fourth action plan (2019-2021) aims to promote social control through monitoring of the execution of public works via the platform INFOBRAS, which includes geotagged information about expenses and its execution. 

This commitment demands the interoperability of three public information systems for planning, control, and execution of resources and projects: the financial administration system (SIAF in Spanish), the public investment system (SNIP), and the electronic system for state contracting (SEACE). With this information available at INFOBRAS, citizens can undertake social control and flag any potential misuses. Patricia Guillen, deputy manager for citizen participation at Peru’s CGR, stated “Through the Citizen Monitoring Program, there is an ongoing analysis of the status of works and field verification by trained and certified citizens. These reports provide feedback and alert the CGR of any necessary control activities.

 What value does OGP add to civil society organizations and supreme audit institutions?

As Joaquin Caprarulo from Asociación Civil por la Igualdad y Justicia (ACIJ) stated at the international seminar on citizen participation and audits: OGP “stimulates receptivity to civil society demands due to the size and international visibility of this partnership, the credibility of its approach and members, thus increasing trust of proposals put forward by civil society.”

A recent study on citizen participation and SAI of Latin America shows that the co-creation process means that CSOs “are not guests but key players that co-lead this initiative, making power dynamics less unequal and participation spaces broader than those put forward by SAIs.”   

By working with other entities from the accountability ecosystem, OGP presents SAIs with the opportunity to benefit from innovative citizen participation practices beyond channels to report claims and consultation mechanisms, into a collaborative approach, interaction among a broad range of national and international stakeholders, and enhancement of the impact of control. 

How to move forward and create more SAI commitments in OGP?

At the national level, to promote an open state approach, countries require effective coordination among the national points of contact (usually at the Executive branch) and other agencies. At the regional and global levels, dialogue and cooperation are needed among OGP and global and regional SAIs, as well as multilateral partners of OGP and SAIs.  

To sum up, as Carolina Cornejo, Head of Open Government of Argentina and co-chair of OGP said, “In the context of a global pandemic where the response to COVID-19 demands inter-institutional coordination, as well as monitoring and control of public interventions implemented during these extraordinary circumstances, the integration of SAIs into the OGP process is more important than ever.”

 

*The opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily represent that of the United Nations

Comments (1)

Mi nombre es Épifanio Salinas Reply

La corrupcion funciona perfectamente con los negociados que hace.n cpn las obras públicas, para eso lo sobrebaloran a las obras

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