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Valentina Carraro on peer review in financial integrity matters

On 25 February 2021, the UN High Level Panel on International Financial Accountability, Transparency and Integrity for Achieving the 2030 Agenda (FACTI panel) has adopted its final report, to which Valentina Carraro (GTGC) and Hortense Jongen (VU Amsterdam) have contributed by writing a background paper on the use of peer reviews among states in financial integrity matters. Many of the insights and recommendations proposed in the background paper were included in the final report.

The background paper discusses the use of peer review in financial integrity matters, identifying gaps and vulnerabilities that may lead to non-implementation of financial integrity standards in states. The paper first identifies good practices in peer reviews across different organizations and policy fields. It subsequently determines what gaps and vulnerabilities are present in the current peer review system, differentiating between institutional and domestic factors. The paper then discusses the role that peer reviews can play towards the achievement of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda. It concludes with a set of recommendations to address weaknesses in the current peer review system.

Peer review is a system of mutual intergovernmental evaluations in which experts from member states (i.e., the peers) evaluate each other on their performance in a given policy area. While peer reviews may take a variety of forms, they share a set of common features. In peer reviews, states provide information on their experiences with implementing and conforming to international standards and policy practices. This information is subsequently assessed by other states and, in some cases, by the Secretariat of the international organization hosting the peer review. As an outcome of the review, reviewed states receive a number of recommendations on how they can improve their performance.

The paper proposes a number of recommendations for the improvement of the current peer review system on financial integrity matters. Among others, it stresses the importance to provide states with clear guidelines on how to formulate recommendations; it calls for the mandatory inclusion of civil society and other stakeholders in the peer review process; it recommends to ensure that peer reviews are provided with stable and impartial funding over time; and it advises to set up a system for regular follow-up monitoring of states’ implementation of review recommendations. With a view to longer-term objectives, the paper advances two suggestions: first, it calls for peer reviews to move beyond the exclusive monitoring of the legal implementation of international standards, to also include a review of states’ actual compliance with these standards; second, it suggests to explore the possibility of developing new governance models that build upon the strengths of peer reviews and of other monitoring systems, such as multi-stakeholder arrangements or hybrid reviewing system that combine peer- and expert- review.

Read more?

Please click here to go to the final report adopted by the FACTI panel. This is the background paper written by Valentina Carraro (Global Transformations and Governance Challenges, Leiden University) and Hortense Jongen (VU Amsterdam).

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