Fiscal transparency is critical to holding government accountable and ensuring the efficient and equitable use of public resources. Yet across the world fiscal transparency has improved at a slow pace. Political factors, limited understanding of the importance of fiscal transparency and its benefits, and capacity constraints are key barriers that hinder countries’ progress in achieving greater transparency. 

The COVID-19 pandemic is again underscoring the importance of fiscal transparency for the success of policy responses; significant resources have been made available in response to the pandemic, however in a significant number of cases, this has been done in an opaque manner. Fiscal transparency is however key to enabling citizens, taxpayers and other actors to understand the purpose and details of policy packages and their proposed impacts, thereby helping build trust, supporting implementation and facilitating their assessment, assisting in preventing misuse. Naturally, international financial institutions and donors are also increasingly relying on fiscal transparency measures in countries to provide assurance that the significant funding they are providing can be tracked and is likely to be used appropriately. The COVID-19 emergency has also illustrated the challenges of coordination and linkages between various internal financial information systems. For instance, fiscal transparency, even when fiscal policies are responding to a health pandemic, requires a broad range of information, not just health sector data.

Course Objective

This course aims to provide participants with knowledge and resources for advancing fiscal transparency. It provides frameworks, research, tools and detailed explanations towards making fiscal information more open and accessible across stakeholders.

Target audience

The target audiences for this course are government officials, from ministries of finance, legislatures, and national supreme audit institutions; civil society representatives; international organizations and any other stakeholders seeking to enhance fiscal transparency in their respective countries and globally.

Course content

The course consists of five different modules. It is offered in English and French.

Each module, programmed to be completed in a week, requires approximately 6 to 8 hours of study. The course is interactive and includes video lectures, relevant readings, field examples, discussions, webinars,  and ongoing assessments.  

Course participants will not only gain theoretical knowledge on enhancing fiscal transparency, but will also see fiscal transparency in action, gaining practical knowledge from the vast experience of experts and practitioners.

In the first half of the course, participants learn about the basics of fiscal transparency, including what it is, who the key actors involved are and what is expected from each of them, as well as what it means to attain sufficient levels of fiscal transparency. In the second half of the course, participants will gain knowledge of the newest tools facilitating fiscal transparency, in the digital age. They will also learn about the non-technical factors that have great bearing on the potential success of fiscal transparency initiatives. The course culminates with participants learning about the actions that can be taken to overcome these commonly encountered obstacles and to take advantage of windows of opportunity for enhancing fiscal transparency.