This project is important for various reasons but especially for being, on the one hand, a development project between the PALOP countries and Timor-Leste – meaning the Portuguese-speaking ACP (African, Pacific & Caribbean) countries – and therefore enabling South-South cooperation between partners who have a shared history, culture and experience. The partnership between the PALOP partners and Timor-Leste and the European Union has now been in existence for more than 20 years and numerous areas of interest have been enriched by this project. The design allows us to extend cooperation between the PALOP and Timor-Leste to a new domain within traditional development cooperation with the European Union, in particular in the area of capacity-building for monitoring the use of public funds via institutions such as the courts of auditors, parliaments and even civil society.
On the other hand, the fact that this project seeks to empower public finance audit institutions, parliaments and civil society is also an important step towards the consolidation of democracy in these countries and also an important step for the development of a culture of accountability and monitoring of the use of public funds for the benefit of the people. These audit and external control institutions play a very important role in the consolidation of democratic systems. Due to their engagement, legitimate elected leaders of national governments manage public funds in accordance with an agenda reflected in the respective states' budgets and government programmes. It is therefore necessary that independent government institutions have the ability to monitor the usage of these funds in accordance with the applicable laws, notably in terms of procurement, identifying priorities, compliance with government programmes, as well as to respond to the aspirations of the people. Along these lines, by participating in capacity development offered through this project, the three strands – courts of auditors, parliaments and civil society – will be able to better perform these roles.