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IGAP Joint Communique

28 July 2006 at 21:16 | 377 views

Joint Communiqué

IMPROVED GOVERNANCE AND ACCOUNTABILITY PACT (IGAP)
For Poverty Reduction and Sustainable Development in Sierra Leone

Introduction

Since the end of the war in 2002, the Government of Sierra Leone - with support from development partners - has embarked on a number of ambitious reforms, especially in the area of governance and economic management.

Some important achievements to date include the holding of free and fair elections and consolidation of peace and security since 2002, improved macro-economic stability, the restoration of local government, the passing of procurement and anti-money-laundering legislation, and the establishment of an Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC).

But the successful post-conflict recovery remains fragile and the need for sustained reform even more imperative. Some five years on, with national elections scheduled in 2007, it is a suitable time to celebrate the achievements to date, but more importantly, it is time to set out what more needs to be done to accelerate the delivery of development dividends by improving governance and accountability, as well as enhancing the nature of partnership between donors and Government.

Objectives and Scope

This ‘Improved Governance and Accountability Pact’(IGAP) is a statement of intent on the part of the Government of Sierra Leone and the four development partners providing direct budget support - the African Development Bank, the Department for International Development, the European Commission and the World Bank - to take forward ten critical governance and accountability reforms over the coming year until July 2007.

For each reform, a statement of commitment and specific agreed actions are provided. Donors are already providing technical support in many of the areas mentioned and will continue to support the implementation of the selected reforms. The four donors are already working together to harmonize budget support to Sierra Leone with the intention of moving towards Multi-Donor Budget Support (MDBS).

As such, many of the agreed actions are already included as indicators in the ‘PAF’ (Progress Assessment Framework) which is used to monitor progress in public financial management. It should be stressed that the focus on the ten selected areas will in no manner replace the existing Results Framework of the PRSP or existing multilateral or bilateral agreements. Rather, the aim is to focus attention on ten critical areas so that all partners can harness efforts together on taking them forward.

A Platform for Engagement with Other Partners

Whilst the pact is initially to be agreed by Government and the four development partners providing budget support, we expect that the IGAP will receive broad support from other multilateral and bilateral development partners including the UN system, civil society, the private sector and citizens. By putting these commitments ‘into the public domain’ it is also hoped that this will foster greater awareness among civil society and encourage more engagement on key governance and accountability issues.

Improving Donor Harmonization and Aid Effectiveness

In the spirit of mutual accountability, the Pact also includes commitments from development partners to improve aid effectiveness, and strengthen harmonization and coordination in support of these reforms. Donors are committed to implement the provisions of the Paris Declaration, especially those related to flexibility, ownership and harmonization.

The development partners supporting the IGAP commit to the following 10 principles:

· Partners to continue to scale up support for achievement of the PRSP and MDG targets consistent with pronouncements at the G8 summit and align project activities with national sector goals and priorities.

· Harmonize and consolidate benchmarks and monitoring frameworks to reduce the reporting burden on Government.

· Support greater flexibility in operating procedures to ensure more rapid disbursement of donor funds and implementation of activities, noting Governments preference for budget support.

· Enhance predictability of aid flows, by informing GOSL and other partners of multi-year funding goals by sector and geographic area, to the extent feasible given limitations imposed by planning and budget cycles.

· Coordinate the timing and content of incoming missions and endeavour to reduce the number of missions and reviews and organise joint missions where possible.

· Promote the optimal use of technical assistance, ensuring that such services are demand-driven and benefit the overall sector development, whilst avoiding duplication.

· Facilitate domestic capacity development through the use of local consultants/firms, except where local expertise is not available, and supporting programmes where local consultants work jointly with external experts.

· Focus on strengthening the capacity of Government, efforts should be made to build and retain skilled public servants within Government structures to ensure sustainability.

· Establish a local oversight mechanism with Government to address constraints and bottlenecks in development programme implementation and to ensure mutual accountability.

· Take practical measures to accelerate the pace of harmonization and increase aid effectiveness. The Committee on Harmonization to update on results achieved at DEPAC meetings.

Implementation and Monitoring

The mechanism for monitoring the implementation of the IGAP will be the DEPAC (Development Partners Committee).

The ten priority areas of joint collaboration through the IGAP and agreed actions are summarized in the following table.

Table 1:
Improved Governance and Accountability Pact (IGAP)
Priority Reforms and Agreed Actions

Priority Reforms

Agreed Actions
1.Anti-Corruption Commitment: To strengthen corruption prevention and accelerate prosecution of significant public interest anti-corruption cases. Agree on strategy to amend legislative framework to strengthen Anti-Corruption Act 2000.

· Prevention - All anti-corruption stakeholders (Anti-Corruption Commission, Government and civil society) to agree on Implementation Plan for National Anti-Corruption Strategy by end 2006.

· Prosecutions - Increase in number of ‘significant public interest ’ anti-corruption cases forwarded by Attorney-General for prosecution. ACC to update public on activities through monthly press briefings.

· Legislative Framework - Establish Law Reform Task Force to review Anti-Corruption Act (2000) by end July 2006, and agree changes to Act in conformity with UN and AU conventions on corruption by end 2006.

· Declaration of assets of public servants to be included in amended legislation. · Hold consultations with stakeholders for ACC fiat to be embedded in law by end of 2006.

2. Auditor General and PAC ReportsCommitment: To reduce the time lag for reports of the Auditor General and the Parliamentary Accounts Committee to be made public.

To accelerate recovery of losses identified in PAC reports.

· Auditor General’s Office strengthened to present audit reports to Parliament according to law (within 12 months of the end of each year). Reports for 2004 and 2005 by end December 2006. · Auditor General’s reports - Any obstacles that may prevent the reports of the Auditor General being made public when laid before Parliament removed by end December 2006.

Auditor General’s reports for 2001-2003 made public by end December 2006. Subsequent reports to be made public when laid before Parliament.

. 1996-1999 Parliamentary Accounts Committee (PAC) reports - Achieve progress in recovery of losses for PAC reports 1996-1999 including through withholding of payments. Make losses identified in PAC report public and state explicitly what actions have been taken to recover funds.

· In the spirit of transparency, make audit reports of all programmes and projects managed by donors available to Government and the public.

3. Procurement Commitment: To support full implementation of the Public Procurement Act · Strengthen NPPA - human resource capacity of NPPA to be strengthened (core staff in place by August 2006 with full staffing plan implemented thereafter). Ensure NPPA practices conform to international standards.

· Publication of procurement regulations by end Dec 2006. · Publication of 2006 procurement plans for key Ministries, as approved by MOF.

· Tender opportunities and information on contracts awarded made public on quarterly basis through NPPA website, notice boards and published bulletin. · 2007 procurement plans prepared prior to start of fiscal year (by end Dec 2006).

4. Civil Service ReformCommitment: To accelerate the pace of civil service reform to improve the capacity of Government to deliver goals of PRSP

· Build capacity of the civil service to ensure a sufficient skills-base and address issues of retention and sustainability. · Complete ‘roadmap’ for civil service reform by October 2006 including a framework for training, payroll verification, and pay and grading policy.

· Implement recommendations of Management and Functional Reviews approved by Cabinet (Education, Health, Agriculture, Local Government, and Defence) by July 2007.

· Human Resources Management Office - minimum requirements for HRMO to be in place and operational by end 2006.

5. Improving Service Delivery Commitment: To improve provision of basic services in health, education and agriculture using Public Expenditure Tracking Survey (PETS) indicators and Service Delivery Perception Survey (SDPS). Results to be made public.

· In July and December 2006, PETS and service delivery perception surveys carried out . In 2007, one PETS and SDPS conducted by June 2007.

Results to demonstrate significant improvements in delivery of basic services:- % of teaching and learning materials arriving at destination compared to 2003 figures; - % of essential drugs arriving at destination compared to 2004 figures;- % of seed rice arriving at destination compared to 2004 figures;

· PETS Action Plans integrated into broader Public Financial Management Action Plan and implementation monitored by committee to ensure line ministries improve service delivery and reduce leakages. · PETS and SDPS methodology and findings to be made public. Results to be widely publicized within one month of publication.

6. Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI)Commitment: To ensure full implementation of EITI · EITI Implementation Framework - In collaboration with development partners, develop EITI Implementation Framework by July 2007. · Provide update on progress and formally endorse EITI at the Annual Meeting in Oslo in October 2006.

7. DecentralisationCommitment: To ensure full support to implement decentralisation policy ·Functions and resources to be devolved to local councils as per the Local Government Act 2004 and devolution schedule, as long as financial management and accountability requirements are met. · High-level political coordination through quarterly meetings of Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) and follow-up to ensure implementation by line ministries and local councils.· Number of local councils meeting the financial management and accountability requirements under the LGA (2004) to be increased annually, in part by hiring qualified finance officers as local council treasurers.

8. Non-State Actors Commitment: To enhance dialogue and interaction with non-state actors including civil society and the private sector on key governance, accountability and poverty reduction issues · In collaboration with civil society, develop a national strategy to improve dialogue and interaction on key governance, accountability and poverty reduction issues. · Support capacity-development of civil society and the private sector to engage constructively with Government in support of poverty-reduction and growth outcomes.· Support a more conducive investment environment for local and international private sector actors by reducing barriers to investment.· Facilitate consultations to align NGO funding with national priorities

9. Anti-Money Laundering Commitment: Support implementation of anti-money laundering legislation

· Government to introduce regulations in support of the Anti-Money Laundering Act (2005) by end 2006

· Increase capacity of Bank of Sierra Leone (BoSL) to play its role as central agency to oversee and monitor implementation of the Anti-Money Laundering Act (2005)
10. ElectionsCommitment: To ensure free and fair elections in 2007

· Support NEC to carry out necessary preparations for elections including boundary delimitation process, voter registration and sensitization. · Political Parties Registration Commission (PPRC) to be strengthened to ensure level playing field between political parties.· Civil society to play effective monitoring role and to report on conformity of Sierra Leone elections with international standards and guidelines.

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