Open the Books: Why We Need to Open Budgets and Doors to Budgetary Engagement to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals

by Claire Schouten, International Budget Partnership and John Hendra, Senior UN Coordinator— Sep 08, 2017

Public access to budget information is essential to ensuring that people and their organizations know how public money is being raised and spent to deliver critical public services and implement development priorities — and to be able to hold governments accountable. There are a few practical things that can be done.

Taking the Budget to Court

Taking the Budget to Court

Ann Blyberg, Manager of Training, Technical Assistance, and Networking, International Budget Partnership— Sep 06, 2017

In recent years , a small number of civil society organizations have looked to the courts to challenge the government’s budget policies and practices around such issues as under-spending on social programs or discrimination in spending. Courts have agreed to hear a good number of the cases and, in many, have ruled in favor of the civil society claims.

The Volatility of Budget Transparency

Now You See It, Now You Don’t: Budget Transparency and the Volatility Problem

By Paolo de Renzio, International Budget Partnership— Aug 24, 2017

“Volatility” in the publication of budget documents — when the public availability of documents containing key budget information changes repeatedly over time — is a common occurrence across countries included in the International Budget Partnership’s Open Budget Survey. In order to better understand the extent – and some of the possible causes – of the volatility problem, we recently looked at how it evolved over time, and at characteristics of the countries most affected.

How Social Movements Can Reenergize Budget Activism

How Social Movements Can Reenergize Budget Activism

Brendan Halloran, Senior Fellow, Strategy and Learning, International Budget Partnership— Aug 17, 2017

In civil society budget activism, there is rarely a shortcut to realizing rights and achieving tangible improvements for the poorest and most marginalized people. Meaningful steps toward more inclusive and effective governance means going beyond openness to navigating and reshaping politics. For IBP and our partners, this presents a great opportunity, particularly in the increasingly challenging contexts in which we work.

Participatory Budgeting in Action

Participatory Budgeting: Democracy in Action

By Rebecca Warner, International Budget Partnership— Aug 03, 2017

Participatory budgeting is the process by which citizens deliberate and negotiate the distribution of public resources. At a recent event hosted by the Global Partnership for Social Accountability, panelists shared information about the growth of participatory budgeting in North America and beyond, highlighting the benefits and challenges of the practice and opportunities that exist to improve participatory budgeting in the future.

The Rise of the Activist Auditor

Vivek Ramkumar, Senior Director of Policy, International Budget Partnership— Aug 01, 2017

Nearly every country in the world has a functional supreme audit institution that is mandated with checking whether public funds are being managed properly and in line with sound financial management practices. However, audit reports seldom receive the level of popular scrutiny that they deserve. Fortunately, supreme audit institutions are increasingly recognizing the need to engage with citizens, which has the potential to transform the way in which the public views their work.

The Social Justice Coalition Cape Town Sanitation Campaign

Budgeting for Decent Sanitation in South African Townships

by Dustin Kramer, former Deputy Secretary General, Social Justice Coalition, Cape Town— Jul 20, 2017

For the past two years, the Social Justice Coalition (SJC), a social movement based in Cape Town, South Africa, has used budget analysis and advocacy as a tool to campaign for decent sanitation in informal settlements. IBP worked with SJC to undertake research and analysis of Cape Town’s municipal budget in support of the broader advocacy campaign. Initial research uncovered extremely low spending — less than 2 percent of the water and sanitation capital budget was going to informal settlements, even though informal households make up over 20 percent of the city’s population. Faced with this injustice, SJC began to view the budget process as a set of political moments and institutional processes through which the campaign could move.

How does Mexico Invest in the Sustainable Development Goals?

Mexico’s Budgeting for Sustainable Development

by Transparencia Presupuesteria, Mexican Ministry of Finance— Jul 18, 2017

To gain a clear picture of how current investments and development plans aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Mexico’s SDG Specialized Technical Committee, led by the Office of the Presidency and the National Institute of Statistics and Geography, developed a framework aimed at integrating planning, public finance management, policymaking, and oversight so as to achieve the SDGs. Within this framework, the Mexican Ministry of Finance and Public Credit partnered with the United Nations Development Programme to identify the specific budget items that would contribute to progress.

Uasin Gishu PWDS Forum

Making Kenya’s Newly Opened Budgets Work

Brendan Halloran, Senior Fellow, Strategy and Learning, International Budget Partnership— Jul 11, 2017

In Kenya, IBP and its partners seek to support inclusive engagement in the budget process. Yet outcomes have been mixed. This has forced civil society advocacy groups to learn and adapt their approaches, sometimes after investing significant time and effort in a seemingly promising avenue of engagement. Such is the case with the work of Kerio Center and the Uasin Gishu Disability Forum to ensure resources in the Uasin Gishu county budget for persons living with disabilities.