ICTs, Decisional and non-Decisional processes, and Financial Institutions

The most important impact that ICTs may have is in the increasing openness and possibility for mass collaboration and participation, which in turn is expected to gradually change governance models. [1] Thanks to ICTs, openness of governance systems and integration of policy making mechanisms can harness collective intelligence, building on the knowledge, experience, and competence of various actors. [2] In this post participation in decisional and non-decisional processes is understood in a broader sense, ranging from commenting on ongoing working papers and standards, to influencing the agenda of the next General Assembly or the organization’s next working plan via an open debate on an eForum.

The international financial institutions examined here comprise of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF); the Financial Stability Board (FSB); the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (BCBS); The International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO); the Joint Forum (JT); the Bank for International Settlements (BIS); the International Monetary Fund (IMF); The World Bank (WB), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD); the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB); International Federation of Accountants (IFAC); The World Economic Forum (WEF); Multi-stakeholder Consultations on Financing for Development (MSC);  and The G20.

Participation is increasingly requested by members and external stakeholders as a proof of transparency and efficiency. Although to include stakeholders in any decisional and non-decisional processes requires dedicated financial and human resources, it is remarkable to notice that all organizations (except JT) offer the possibility to participate in such process. These institutions use ICTs to include stakeholders in processes such as commenting on working papers, standards, or implementing programs; discussing online via electronic working groups on specific issues; and applying for a grant and check for its status. Most organizations also offer the possibility to join the organization online either via a form to fill in and email, or via a web portal. Furthermore, all organizations offer members, observers and the general public to engage with them via social media. The most common social media channels used are Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and YouTube. As follows, some specific examples to illustrate the use of ICTs by some international financial institutions to provide access to decisional and non-decisional processes.

Public consultation is an integral element of the Basel Committee’s standard setting process.  The Committee welcomes comments from the public on all aspects of proposals open for comments. Comments on the proposals should be uploaded on a specific online form accessible from each proposal document page. All comments are then published on the Bank for International Settlements website unless a respondent specifically requests confidential treatment.[3]

The World Bank Group Consultation Hub provides a one-stop shop for everybody interested in consultations hosted by the World Bank Group. On this Hub, users can find all ongoing and planned consultations as well as those that were closed within the past year. They can find information on the subject of consultation, the scope and process of consultation, and on how they can contribute to the World Bank Group’s decision-making process. The map also illustrates where consultative meetings are held.[4]

OECD Forum is a yearly event where Leaders and influencers from all sectors of civil society (former and current heads of state and government, top CEOs, leaders of key NGOs and trade unions, prominent members of academia and media) gather every year in Paris, France, to debate the most pressing social and economic challenges confronting society. On the OECD Forum website, visitors can browse this year’s programme, recapture the atmosphere of OECD Forum 2016 and visit previous Forums. [5]The OECD’s Committee Information Service (OLIS) is today used by over 18,000 government officials. National delegates use OLIS to interact with the Secretariat in preparation for Committee meetings. [6]

The IASB and the FASB encourage stakeholders to submit potential implementation issues as soon as possible. Questions submitted to the TRG should meet the following criteria: The question is a potential implementation issue related to IFRS 15/ASU Topic 606. Stakeholders need then to complete the submission form and email it to revenueTRG@ifrs.org. In addition to the form, attachments (such as memos) may be included with the submission. Submitted forms will remain private. However, the issues raised in the forms may be discussed in public without the identification of the submitter’s name. Although the submission forms will remain private, please do not include any confidential information in your submission.[7]IASB website also offers the possibility to comment on some documents including: [8]IFRS Foundation consultation documents, IASB projects consultation documents, IFRS IC and other consultation documents, Tentative agenda decisions open for comment in the IFRIC Update, and IFRS Taxonomy consultation documents.

WEF’s TopLink is the World Economic Forum’s online platform for sharing ideas and engaging in top-level conversations before, during and after yearly events. Members, strategic partners and partner institutes can login to this online collaboration platform. It offers the opportunity for discussions around topics of interest and interactions with experts, exchanges with communities, collaboration around projects, event information and access to exclusive curated content. A trusted space for peer-to-peer interaction, exclusive to Forum members and constituents, TopLink provides online access to a vast global network, enhances Forum event participation and connects new trends and insight areas in one digital space. It also a mobile and tablet application. [9]

MSC The Financing for Development Office (UN-DESA) and UNCDF invite comments on the draft publication of the joint project “Implementing the Addis Ababa Action Agenda and the SDGs: Innovative Approaches to Municipal Finance in LDCs”.[10]

In the run up to the G20 summit, the G20 organizes dialogues with various stakeholders. Each dialogue distinguishes itself with a specific website, resources, taskforce, events. The dialogues are S20 Dialogue Forum with the Science and Research Community, W20 Dialogue Forum with Women in Business, Science and Society, B20 Dialogue Forum with Business Associations, L20 Dialogue Forum with Trade Union Representatives, T20 Dialogue Forum with Think Tanks, Y20 Youth Summit, and C20 Dialogue Forum with Non-Governmental Organisations. [11]

As discussed in this post, ICTs allow some international financial institutions to enable stakeholders to participate in numerous decisional and non-decisional processes. All organizations (except JT) offer access to such processes. The examples cited above illustrate how marginalized actors gained additional capacity to participate in such  processes and therefore to shape global arrangements. However, these financial institutions did not digitalize all processes. For instance, the election of the next Director General or Secretary General is not possible online. Traditional participation of stakeholders in meetings at headquarters or regional offices continue to be the favored option for specific types of decisions, mainly for privacy issues. Members still need to go to a physical location to vote and express their opinion. In many cases, they receive financial support to do so.

[1] Misuraca, G., Broster, D., & Centeno, C. (2012). Digital Europe 2030: Designing scenarios for ICT in future governance and policy making. Government Information Quarterly, 29(SUPPL. 1), S121–S131. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.giq.2011.08.006, p.126

[2] Misuraca, G., Broster, D., & Centeno, C. (2012). Digital Europe 2030: Designing scenarios for ICT in future governance and policy making. Government Information Quarterly, 29(SUPPL. 1), S121–S131. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.giq.2011.08.006, p.126

[3] BCBS website : https://www.bis.org/bcbs/publications.htm?a=1&set=9&mp=any&pi=title

[4] WB website: http://consultations.worldbank.org

[5] OECD website: http://www.oecd.org/forum/about/

[6] OECD website: http://www.oecd.org/general/olis.htm

[7] IASB website: http://www.ifrs.org/About-us/IASB/Advisory-bodies/Joint-Revenue-Transition-Resource-Group/Pages/Submissions.aspx

[8] IASB website: http://www.ifrs.org/Open-to-Comment/Pages/International-Accounting-Standards-Board-Open-to-Comment.aspx

[9] WEF website : https://toplink.weforum.org/about

[10] MSC website : http://www.un.org/esa/ffd/topics/inclusive-local-finance/municipal-finance.html

[11] G20 website : https://www.g20.org/Webs/G20/EN/G20/Civil_society/civil_society_node.html