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.

Participatory Budgeting in Action

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.

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.

How does Mexico Invest in the Sustainable Development Goals?

Taxes Matter in Transforming Lives

by Jean Ross, Independent Consultant— Jun 29, 2017

Throughout most of the developing world, tax collections remain below that which is needed to support basic services and foster development. As civil society budget work has strengthened, activists increasingly find progress stymied by a lack of public resources and are forced to defend hard-fought gains during times of fiscal stress. By linking the two sides of the budget — expenditures and revenues — tax work can potentially transform debates over public services from what is possible within existing resources to what is needed to address poverty and inequality.

taxes matter in transforming lives civil society tax work

Opening Budgets to Fight Climate Change

Delaine McCullough, Communications Manager, International Budget Partnership— Jun 13, 2017

Estimates of the funds that must be mobilized globally for an adequate response to climate change amount to hundreds of billions of dollars per year. Although funds will be coming from both international and domestic private and public sources, much of the climate change efforts will be managed by national and subnational governments through their domestic budgeting systems. To ensure that the scarce resources invested in climate-related activities are spent most effectively and reach the intended beneficiaries — the people and communities most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change — with minimum leakages, transparency and accountability will be essential.

Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) Damage and Rehabilitation in the Philippines

Making Change in Closing Political Environments

Warren Krafchik, Executive Director, International Budget Partnership— Jun 06, 2017

How do we advance fiscal accountability in an era of closing government? Over the past 20 years, IBP has worked with hundreds of independent organizations the world over to pioneer models of open budgeting, where citizens and civic organizations play an informed and meaningful role in monitoring and influencing the public budget. Our ultimate goal is to ensure that governments make and keep commitments to maximize the contribution of public resources to transforming the lives of poor and marginalized communities. Too often, though, we have secured dramatic increases in public data and built strong organizations but have failed to transform these resources into greater accountability. Our 2016 reflection essays have identified three areas of work where we see hopeful possibilities toward greater fiscal accountability.

making change in closing political environments

PesaCheck: Reflections on Budget Fact-Checking in the Kenyan Context

by Leo Mutuku, PesaCheck— Jun 01, 2017

When budget stories make the news, fact checking is crucial. Now more than ever, individuals and intermediary organizations need to cultivate a culture of fact-checking given that misinformation is rife with changing global socio-political dynamics. What have we learned from Kenya’s PesaCheck initiative? And how can these lessons guide civil society organizations interested in running similar fact-checking initiatives?

pesacheck fact checking made simple

Building Budget Democracy: Fiscal Openness Reforms in South Africa

by Paolo de Renzio, International Budget Partnership— May 25, 2017

Trevor Manuel was South Africa’s Minister of Finance from 1996 to 2009, serving under three different presidents. During his long tenure, he built South Africa’s Treasury into a strong and well-respected organization and introduced wide-ranging budget reforms. In this interview, Mr. Manuel looks back at some of the reforms he introduced that turned South Africa into a world leader in budget transparency.

Supply, Demand, and Sustainability: Tracking Budget Transparency Reforms in Afghanistan

by Paolo de Renzio, International Budget Partnership— May 23, 2017

Dr. Mustafa Mastoor has been Deputy Minister at the Ministry of Finance of Afghanistan since 2008. Previously, Dr. Mastoor served as Director General for Budget in the same ministry. In these functions, he has promoted a series of budget transparency reforms that resulted in impressive improvements in Afghanistan’s Open Budget Index score. In this interview, Dr. Mastoor reflects on Afghanistan’s budget transparency reforms trajectory, and the challenges encountered along the way.

tracking fiscal transparency reforms in afghanistan

Budget Transparency as a Means to Reduce Poverty: Uganda’s Fiscal Openness Reforms

by Paolo de Renzio, International Budget Partnership— May 18, 2017

Florence Kuteesa served 21 years in the Ugandan Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, rising from the level of economist to the post of Budget Director, which she held until December 2004. She then worked for two years in a private consulting firm, and thereafter six and half years with the International Monetary Fund’s Fiscal Affairs Department, until 2016. In the Ugandan government, she introduced a number of budget reforms that turned Uganda into a regional example in PFM systems and budget transparency practices. In this interview, Ms. Kuteesa remembers the early stages of Uganda’s budget transparency reforms, and the bridges that they built between government and civil society.

uganda fiscal transparency reforms