Feb 1, 2023

The CEF Promotes Central Harmonization Units as the Engine behind the Public Financial Management Reforms

Many countries are in the process of preparing, implementing, or amending reforms in their public administration, civil service, public financial management (PFM), and economic governance. Central Harmonization Units (CHUs) play an important role in PFM reforms. To open the discussion about the role and challenges CHUs experience in the implementation of PFM reforms, we organized a hybrid event and are happy to share some impressions and learning takeaways from the event. We talked to Ms. Mioara Diaconescu, Director of Central Harmonization Unit for Public Internal Audit (CHUPIA) from the Romanian Ministry of Finance.

“A couple of months ago I received an invitation from the CEF to participate in a hybrid event “The Role of Central Harmonization Units in PFM reforms.” So, at the beginning of November, we flew to Ljubljana. The event by far exceeded my expectations, and after two days I realized that new questions were raised after all the discussions that we had there.

The CEF surprised me this time too. The CEF is reinventing itself with new interactive ways of debating the topics proposed for this event. In addition, I had the opportunity to meet my dear colleagues and friends from other CHUs across Europe. The event was organized with the support of the Dutch Academy, which has been assisting CHUs for a long time. It did not feel like a seminar – rather a family reunion, with warm people trying to share their experiences and fears about the new challenges, as well as the progress made and the issues still unresolved. I really appreciated the CEF’s effort to promote CHUs, the engine of the PFM reforms.

The event gathered representatives from many countries, such as Albania, Armenia, North Macedonia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Romania, Kosovo, Montenegro, Serbia, and others. But there were no borders between us because we speak the same language – the CHU language. Also, the Sigma experts, Pilar and Alastair, contributed greatly to this event. Thanks to their experience in this field, it was easy to integrate their questions into our discussions.

Two days was not enough for all the subjects touched upon in our interactive groups. We discussed about limited resources, how to increase the role of CHUs in the PFM reforms in our countries, the best structure for CHUs, competencies of CHU staff, external cooperation and developing relationships with crucial stakeholders.
At the same time, a lot of new subjects were raised: models for internal audit (centralized, decentralized or shared), one or two CHUs, which parts are more important – financial management and control (FMC) or internal audit, and so on.

I would like to thank the CEF for the excellent organization of the event, and for the positive attitude and approach of Kaja, Arjonela and Živa, young and enthusiastic members of the CEF team. Even lunch was a good occasion to socialize and continue the discussions. I know the CEF since 2005, and with every event, the CEF feels more and more like a partner and a friend – a part of our lives. Thank you!”