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Strengthening fiscal transparency and participation in post-revolution Tunisia

Fiscal transparency and participation is a cornerstone of good public financial governance and a necessary condition to make accountability work. Following the Jasmine Revolution of 2011, the Tunisian government prioritised the principles of fiscal transparency and citizen participation.

CABRI and the International Budget Partnership supported the Tunisian government in its budget transparency efforts by undertaking a joint peer-review in May 2014. The reviews aim to bring together practitioners and civil society representatives from a select number of peer countries to examine the status of fiscal transparency and participation in a given country. Together with the

host country, the team develops reform recommendations that will advance budget transparency and participation. Being an in-country exercise, the country that is reviewed is always an equal participant and retains ownership of the process and implementation of recommendations.

Prior to the revolution, Tunisia had a low level of transparency as measured by the OBI Index in 2012: 85th out of the 100 countries that were assessed. Since then, there has been a great momentum for change, which is also anchored by a new constitution that entrenches the principles of transparency and citizens’ participation in budgeting and public expenditure.

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The four key recommendations developed by the peer team are:

1. Formulate, consolidate and disseminate a public finance reform strategy which details the different reform programmes, roles and responsibilities for the various interventions and the selected sequence and timing chosen for each programme.
2. Strengthen the collaboration with Technical and Financial Partners for the implementation of transparency and participation.
3. Enshrine the principles of transparency and participation in public finance in the PFM Act, which is being drafted.
4. Strengthen the capacity of CSOs in financial and budgetary matters (comprehending financial legislation, budget analysis, investigating financial reports, monitoring execution, evaluation, etc.).

Following the in-country review process, CABRI, together with the Tunisian authorities, will work to track progress and share with the rest of the network the good practices that have emerged and will continue to emerge from Tunisia. One of the opportunities to actively engage on lessons learnt from the transparency reviews (DRC, Kenya, Tunisia and Liberia) will be a final workshop in early 2015, after the conclusion of the fourth and final joint review in Liberia in October this year.

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