Please provide a brief summary of the initiative including the problems/challenges it addressed and the solutions that the initiative introduced (300 words maximum)
Since the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adoption, the Mexican government identified that the best way to achieve its goals was through the alignment and strengthening of public policies. In this regard, the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit coordinated the relationship identification between government actions (budgetary programs) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to redirect public efforts and achieve the 2030 Agenda in Mexico. Results can be consulted at: http://bit.ly/SDG_MX.
To do so, it was necessary to bolster our Performance Evaluation System with consolidated citizen participation, in order to guarantee the adequate use of public resources and achieve the desired results. Therefore, we implemented a strategy to strengthen the institutional framework regarding monitoring of results and accountability.
To achieve this, it was fundamental to involve Civil Society in the monitoring processes to enhance public spending. Hence, a citizen consultation was carried out in 2016 to incorporate improvement proposals to the performance indicators that assess public policy results. Furthermore, with Civil Society collaboration, we developed public works monitoring platforms to provide geo-referenced information on public resources expenditures and even allow the reporting of irregularities.
In the meantime, we elaborated a methodology to link the budgetary programs and National Planning Goals with the SDGs, including the feedback of the United Nations Development Program and the Presidency Office. Additionally, the methodology included innovative elements such as sub-target alignment or the identification of the degree of contribution by the budgetary programs, which had not been developed at the international level.
To guarantee the institutionalization of the process and allow its sustainability over time, the defined methodology was implemented as part of the programming and budgeting process for 2018, both in norms and systems. The results of the linking process currently offer a route to define strategies for the proper achievement of the SDGs.
a. What are the overall objectives of the initiative?
Please describe the overall objectives of the initiative (200 words maximum)
The main objective is enhancing policy results under the 2030 Agenda framework through the strengthening of the Performance Evaluation System. To do so, we defined the following specific objectives, some of which turned into institutionalized processes:
• Improve the quality of information and increase stability in performance information.
• Generate a greater impact in the fulfillment of SDGs, by focusing governmental actions towards those policies that foster sustainable development or by improving policies that are not achieving their expected results.
• Coordinate the efforts carried out by diverse areas at the federal level to increase the impact on sustainable development.
• Assess the compliance of public policies that are linked to a specific SDG, thanks to the progress that has been made in the consolidation of a Performance Evaluation System.
• Offer feedback to the budgeting process by strengthening the results-based budgeting schemes, not only to address national objectives but to favor the fulfillment of the SDGs.
• Generate long-term strategic planning by not only focusing on the annual budgeting processes but also generating the necessary information to promote a Results Management approach for the long term.
• Finally, to provide citizens with useful information through greater transparency in public spending, which fosters accountability in public expenditures.
b. How does the initiative fit within the selected category?
Please describe how the initiative is linked to the criteria of the category (200 words maximum)
The initiative is thorough towards making institutions inclusive and ensuring participation in decision making. First, with the coordination of all federal agencies to identify the links between their actions and the SDGs, we strengthen the commitment of public officials to promote inclusive institutions that work for sustainable development. Second, by encouraging citizens’ participation for the follow-up of federal expenditures, we promote not only that public policies linked to SDGs meet their goals but that the 2030 Agenda remains in public policies throughout Civil Society demands.
Our initiative also stands out by introducing an innovative practice to guarantee SDGs achievement: the direct link between policies, resources allocation and development goals. To our knowledge, such practice has not been implemented by any other country and it offers significant insights to foster development in any given context. It also promotes equality and responsiveness of government by strengthening performance monitoring for an effective public services delivery.
Also, the initiative promotes a robust legal framework to achieve SDGs by institutionalizing the linking exercise in the budgeting process and by introducing an initiative to amend the Planning Law to consider SDGs in long-term planning which has been approved by the Legislative and recently published (http://bit.ly/Planning_Law).
The initiative should improve people’s lives, notably by enhancing the contribution of public services to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the realization of the SDGs
a. Please explain how the initiative improves the delivery of public services (200 words maximum)
The initiative is ambitious in trying to improve the delivery of all the public services that are related with any of the SDGs by monitoring their results and proposing improvements to all the public policies that coordinate the delivery of such services. By identifying the links between public interventions and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development it is easier to evaluate, define the necessary improvement actions to address adequately and, eventually, achieve the SDGs.
During the linking process, carried out in August 2017 for the 2018 Budget, we identified that 80.7% of all budgetary programs were related with at least one SDG. Hence a broad range of interventions will be addressed to guarantee the achievement of the SDGs, including health, education, national security and environmental protection interventions, among others.
Also, we need to consider that with Civil Society participation, it is more likely for the public services delivered to fulfill the quality required to achieve development. Hence, by linking the SDGs through the Performance Evaluation System already established and, from there, linking them to the budget allocations, we significantly improve the feedback loop to achieve better public goods and services delivery.
The initiative must impact positively a group or groups of the population (i.e. children, women, elderly, people with disability, etc) and address a significant issue of public service delivery within the context of a given country or region.
a. Please explain how the initiative has addressed a significant issue related to the delivery of public services (200 words maximum)
The main issue that the initiative addressed was that we were not able to adequately assess whether the results of the policies implemented by the Federal Government were positive or negative. The evidence we gathered through the Performance Evaluation System in many cases was inconclusive due to the constant change in performance indicators or due to the lack of quality in assessment instruments.
Without a solid framework to evaluate policy results it would be tough to determine the best route to address the commitments established in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Hence, with the improvement of quality in performance assessment instruments, the participation of Civil Society in the improvement of performance indicators and in the monitoring of expenditures and the collaboration of all agencies to improve their performance information allowed us to consolidate a Performance Evaluation System. This resulted in stability in its indicators and a considerable improvement in the quality of information.
With this work, it is now possible to determine more accurately which policies are delivering the desired results and how to improve outcomes in the delivery of public services. This also will allow concentrating efforts in order to achieve sustainable development eventually.
b. Please explain how the initiative has impacted positively a group or groups of the population within the context of your country or region (200 words maximum)
With our initiative, we seek to improve the results of all public policies and eventually achieve sustainable development. Thereby, Instead of trying to enhance the quality of life of a specific group, the results of our work have an impact on the entire Mexican population.
For instance, in 2017 we developed an instrument to rank the budgetary programs in terms of the quality of their performance reports. With such ranking, we were able to identify public policies with strong performance information quality but that did not achieve their goals in a consistent manner. Therefore, with the staff in charge of implementing those programs, clear commitments and tracks of action were established, which allows improving the final impact of interventions on their target populations.
As a matter of illustration, with the Livestock Development Program, we identified that one of the main reasons for their low results was that they did not have any mechanism established to guarantee that the recipients of the subsidies used the materials delivered to increase productivity. As a result, they were able to establish stronger mechanisms for resource allocation, establish conditions for the delivery of the materials and implement mechanisms to track their results more accurately.
The initiative must present an innovative idea, a distinctively new approach, or a unique policy or approach implemented in order to realize the SDGs in the context of a given country or region.
a. Please explain in which way the initiative is innovative in the context of your country or region (200 words maximum)
Even though the Performance Evaluation System started in Mexico in 2007, its use was limited mainly to inform citizens about policy results rather than for programming or budgeting processes. The innovation of our initiative consisted in strengthening the quality of performance information to be able to use it to improve or even reorganize public policies to have a greater impact in the procurement of SDGs.
To do so, the Performance Evaluation System went through 4 stages. First, with the beginning of the implementation of such System, where the Ministry defined the regulations and systems to gather performance information. Second, with the increase in the number of programs that report periodically performance information, until 2015, when we achieve a coverage of 100% in programmable expenditures. Third, with the process of consolidation and stabilization of performance information by which we strengthen the review mechanisms and established locks to impede constant changes in indicators. Finally, through the systematic use of performance information to assess expenditures and improve policy results. For instance, we use performance information to determine a reduction of 22.4% in the number of programs for 2016 to improve spending efficiency and, more recently, to link budget and policies with SDGs.
b. Please describe if the innovation is original or if it is an adaptation from other contexts (If it is known)? (200 words maximum)
Our initiative stands out by introducing an innovative practice to guarantee the achievement of SDGs: the direct link between policies, Performance Evaluation System, national planning and development targets. To our knowledge, such exercise has not been implemented by any other country in the world and it offers valuable insights to foster development under any context. To advise on our initiative, we had the collaboration of international institutions such as the United Nations Development Program and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and they have acknowledged this proposal as a global innovation and a very effective and replicable scheme to address sustainable development in various contexts and circumstances.
Hence, our approach of institutional strengthening to guarantee the achievement of SDGs is an original innovation, rather than an adaptation from another country. However, its conceptualization allows it to be implemented elsewhere, even in countries with diverse contexts and backgrounds. This is possible due to the fact that the initiative takes into account such context by linking the current policies that any Government is implementing with sustainable development targets. Finally, the thoroughness of the methodology we developed, which considered a standard budgeting system, allows any organization or Government to replicate it easily.
c. What resources (i.e. financial, human , material or other resources, etc) were used to implement the initiative? (200 words maximum)
The initiative seeks to adapt to any context by focusing on their national problems and the interventions put in place by Governments to address them. Hence, it does not require extra financial or material resources to be carried out. The only condition that it requires to be successful is time and effort of the staff at the Ministry of Finance, and coordination and collaboration with all agencies and, above all, with society.
The coordination of the entire initiative was pushed by a rather small team of the Performance Evaluation Unit at the Ministry of Finance. The coordination of a public consultation to improve performance indicators, the meetings with representatives of the budgetary programs to enhance the quality of their performance information, the development of better monitoring instruments, the draft of the methodology and the coordination of all Agencies to link their actions with the SDGs was carried out by a team of less than 8 people, including high-level officers. Therefore, the milestone to implement our initiative was to involve in the process diverse actors with common interests in order to push for the adoption of concrete actions to achieve the commitments of Mexico with the 2030 Agenda.
The initiative should be adaptable to other contexts (e.g. other cities, countries or regions). There may already be evidence that it has inspired similar innovations in other public-sector institutions within a given country, region or at the global level.
a. Has the initiative been transferred to other contexts?
Diverse countries have shown interest in knowing in detail how we have strengthened our Performance Evaluation System through the link with SDGs and enhanced our collaboration with Civil Society. Since our fiscal transparency platforms have been recognized in the international arena, we have hosted workshops and received official delegations from diverse countries, including the Dominican Republic, Salvador, Paraguay, Uruguay, Chile, Guatemala, Colombia, Indonesia, South Africa, Tunisia and Kenya.
We have now also seen spin-offs of our Data on the Streets Rally, in Chile and Colombia, which uses open data and the transparency platforms available to enhance public participation through the monitoring of public works.
Additionally, in the OGP Americas Regional Meeting in Argentina, we shared our methodology and learnings in the linking process between budget, public policies and SDGs which has been well-received by the international community.
Finally, as a lead steward of the Global Initiative for Fiscal Transparency (GIFT), we have shared our experiences with several countries in order to foster transparency, public participation and sustainable development.
The initiative should be able to be sustained over a significant period of time.
a. Please describe whether and how the initiative is sustainable (covering the social, economic and environmental aspects) (300 words maximum)
The initiative aims to foster the adequate attention of the targets and goals established in the SDGs. Hence, instead of covering only specific aspects of development, we foster institutional strengthening to guarantee an adequate public policy implementation. To make it sustainable, since 2017 it is now part of the budgeting process norms and budgeting e-system. Furthermore, the reforms to the National Planning Law make it sustainable in the long run.
When analyzing the linking process between budgetary programs and the SDGs targets, we can note that 156 of the 169 targets that are part of the SDGs have at least one public policy linked. Hence, a broad range of goals and targets are currently being addressed by at least one program, and actions are being taken in order to help them achieve a real focus on SDGs in their actions.
Also, by including the expertise of Civil Society in the monitoring and accountability process regarding the budget allocations and the follow up of SDGs, we are sure we can strengthen the pillars of the Agenda considerably. Such collaboration grew substantially through the strengthening of our fiscal openness policies that, according to the International Budget Partnership, position Mexico as the 6th country with most fiscal transparency.
With the adoption of the SDGs, we tightened collaboration by including Civil Society in the definition and improvement of performance indicators. In such exercise, we received 220 proposals to improve indicators and monitoring information, which were part of the leading inputs to hold meetings with the staff in charge of each program. The result was that 4,056 improvement actions were reflected in the performance evaluation tools of 326 budgetary programs. Such relationship with Civil Society is still in place currently with actions such as an annual Rally to monitor public works.
b. Please describe whether and how the initiative is sustainable in terms of durability in time (300 words maximum)
One of the main concerns we faced while defining the actions to achieve sustainable development was to identify the best way to assure that the SDGs could be considered in the future. Therefore, we define three main strategies to guarantee sustainability in time:
a) Include Civil Society in the monitoring process of SDGs. In order to increase the cost of any further administration that intends to back away from sustainable development, we promoted the intense participation of Civil Society in the monitoring process of expenditures and policy results and in the definition of the National Strategy to achieve SDGs so that they could exert pressure to continue with the actions implemented so far.
b) Institutionalize the linking process between government actions and sustainable development. In order to guarantee the quality of the entailment between public policies and SDGs and its sustainability in time, we included in the Guidelines for the programming and budgeting process for 2018 the obligation for all Federal agencies to analyze the 17 SDGs and 169 targets in order to identify their relationship with their budgetary programs. Also, we draft an initiative to amend the Planning Law in order to consider the 2030 Agenda for the following administrations until 2030, which has been approved by both chambers of the Legislative and, therefore, recently enacted by the President.
c) Make part of the process those public officials in charge of the programs. Even if we have a robust legal framework and close collaboration with Civil Society, we need the commitment of public officials to assure that the implementation of our initiative can lead towards sustainable development. Hence, we work hand in hand with many public officials of different Federal agencies first, to consolidate their performance information and, second, to determine the links between their policies and SDGs.
The initiative should have gone through a formal evaluation, showing some evidence of impact on improving people’s lives.
a. Has the initiative been formally evaluated?
If yes, please describe how the initiative was evaluated? (200 words maximum)
Given the reduced time since the 2030 Agenda adoption, it turns out almost impossible to have implemented an initiative with the scope we presented and to hold a formal evaluation over its impact, especially considering that it seeks to achieve SDGs through institutional strengthening to enhance policy results. Though, we do have formal evaluations regarding the Performance Evaluation System consolidation. For instance, in 2016 the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) through its Community of Professionals and Experts in Latin America and the Caribbean in Management for Development Results evaluated the evolution of our Performance Evaluation System and Results Based Budgeting, and the framing of our National System for Democratic Planning and granted us with two awards.
Also, our progress in enhancing budget transparency to allow citizens participate in the monitoring of results and expenditures has been acknowledged by the Open Budget Index (OBI) of the International Budget Partnership (IBP). As stated on their webpage, the OBI is the world’s only independent, comparative measure of central government budget transparency. It evaluates public availability of budget information by analyzing eight key budget documents that assess the formulation, approval, execution and oversight stages of the budgeting process. Its results can be consulted at http://bit.ly/OBI_results.
b. Please describe the outcome of the evaluation of the impact of the initiative (200 words maximum)
Since 2013, due to the implementation of our Performance Evaluation System, Mexico has been assessed by the Public Management Evaluation Tool (PET) of the IADB as a high-level country (4 points out of 5) and regional leader in terms of institutional capacities to implement Management for Development Results. This assessment became even stronger in 2016, due to the changes we implemented to consolidate our Performance Evaluation System and the strengthening of our National Planning System to orient it towards results and SDG completion. Hence, in such year the IADB granted the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit with the II Annual GpRD Competition Award at the National Results Based Budgeting and the National Strategic Planning categories (http://bit.ly/IADB_Award).
Regarding the OBI, Mexico stands as one of the world leaders in enhancing budget transparency. In its 2017 edition, Mexico holds the sixth place with 79 out of 100 possible points. This places our country as leader in America and above of diverse countries including global powers such as the United States, the United Kingdom or France. According to the IBP, this result means that Mexico provides sufficient budget information to enable the public to engage in budget discussions in an informed manner.
c. Please describe the indicators that were used (200 words maximum)
The PET has 16 components, 37 indicators, and 142 minimum requirements that are summarized into a score that varies from 0 to 5. It considers five pillars i) results-based planning, (ii) results-based budgeting, (iii) public financial management, (iv) program and project management, and (v) monitoring and evaluation of public management, which makes it an ideal tool to evaluate our progress in performance information consolidation, in a comparative perspective.
Furthermore, to assess our applications regarding the II Annual GpRD Competition Award, the expert committee of the IABD took into account the context and objectives of the implementation of our Performance Evaluation System and of our National Planning System. It also assessed the methodology used for the implementation of such initiatives and the achieved results.
Finally, the OBI is based on the Open Budget Survey which uses 109 scored indicators assessed by Civil Society to determine whether governments produce and make publicly available online and in a timely manner eight key budget documents recommended by international good practices. It also includes public participation and budget oversight inquiries that are not included in the index. The 2017 OBI average score was 42, that is 32 points below of Mexico’s score.
The initiative must demonstrate that it has engaged various actors such as from other institutions, civil society, or the private sector, when possible.
a. The 2030 Development Agenda puts emphasis on collaboration, engagement, coordination, partnerships, and inclusion. Please describe what stakeholders were engaged in designing, implementing and evaluating the initiative. Please also highlight their roles and contributions (300 words maximum)
Our first and most important collaborators have been organized and non-organized citizens who have contributed significantly to the improvement of the monitoring process and the available tools, both necessary to consolidate the Performance Evaluation System and eventually evaluate the results in SDGs accomplishment.
We also have worked closely with international agencies such as the United Nations Development Program to define the best strategy to address sustainable development and to feedback the methodology to link the SDGs with the national policies and therefore align governmental actions towards achieving sustainable development. Such collaboration has allowed us to propose some significant contributions at a global level on how to address sustainable development challenges more efficiently.
We also would like to highlight the intense collaboration with the Presidency Office in charge of the 2030 Agenda implementation in Mexico. Such partnership has allowed us to strengthen our proposals, to align them with the National Strategy and to seek to provide with relevant insights to the definition on the next steps towards achieving sustainable development.
Furthermore, we have had an active collaboration with a considerable number of public officials of all Federal Agencies in charge of the monitoring process of policy results in order to improve their performance information and to put in practice the methodology defined to link their budgetary programs with SDGs. They will also be a key stakeholder for the implementation of the next steps such as the improvement of policies and policy coherence to achieve SDGs.
Finally, we are convinced that it is necessary to work every day to strengthen such alliances which will be increasingly significant to implement adequately the policies that seek to attain sustainable development in Mexico. Also, they will be crucial to push for the complete implementation of the Agenda and to assess its intended results over time.
a. Please describe the key lessons learned, and any view you have on how to further improve the initiative (200 words maximum)
One of the key findings of our work was that progress could not be made in attaining sustainable development without adequate mechanisms to evaluate policy results. We also identify that it is indispensable to enhance collaboration with diverse actors and improve their coordination in order to implement the initiative adequately. Despite the fact that this linking process offers essential insights towards how to better address sustainable development in Mexico, significant work still needs to be done to transform those inputs into concrete actions to achieve SDGs for 2030.
Considering the above, the next steps in our initiative include the identification of the targets that in case of being addressed could generate a more significant impact on sustainable development. This will be done in close collaboration with Civil Society, academics, Federal agencies and international institutions. We also are planning to develop a guide to implement changes in public policies in order to address more effectively SDGs that will be available to the staff that operates budgetary programs. Finally, we will analyze and, if necessary, adequate our monitoring and evaluation methodologies to incorporate the 2030 Agenda assessment and we will work tightly with Civil Society to track the results of interventions.