To meet the world’s most pressing challenges – including ending poverty and addressing climate change – will require the wise investment of public resources. National budgets that are accountable, efficient, and effective are crucial.
Findings from the Open Budget Survey 2015 reveal that the vast majority of people live in countries that have inadequate systems for ensuring accountable budgets. Most countries surveyed provide insufficient information for civil society and the public to understand or monitor budgets, and only a small fraction of countries have appropriate mechanisms for the public to participation in budget processes. Formal oversight institutions also frequently face limitations in performing their function of holding governments to account.
The International Budget Partnership’s Open Budget Survey (OBS) is the world’s only independent, comparable measure of budget transparency, participation, and oversight. The Open Budget Survey 2015 examines 102 countries from around the world, measuring three aspects of how governments are managing public finances.
Budget transparency: the amount, level of detail, and timeliness of budget information governments are making publically available. Each country is given a score between 0 and 100 that determines its ranking on the Open Budget Index.
Budget participation: the opportunities governments are providing to civil society and the general public to engage in decisions about how public resources are raised and spent.
Budget oversight: the capacity and authority of formal institutions (such as legislatures and supreme audit institutions) to understand and influence how public resources are being raised and spent.
The Open Budget Survey 2015: Findings
“With the amount of funds likely to be mobilized through the new international development goals alone, and potentially through climate change agreements, the world has an unprecedented opportunity to address poverty, inequality, and other global challenges—but this will only happen if these resources are managed transparently and accountably.” Warren Krafchik, IBP Executive Director
Ninety-eight of 102 countries surveyed lack adequate systems for ensuring that public funds are used efficiently and effectively. Each of these 98 fall short on at least one of the key pillars of budget accountability: budget transparency, public participation, and formal oversight. Thirty-two countries fall short across all three pillars
“The public needs access to budget information and opportunities to participate throughout the budget process. Coupled with oversight by legislatures and audit institutions this contributes to a more accountable use of public money,” said Warren Krafchik. “A growing body of evidence indicates such budgetary checks and balances yield better outcomes for people, especially those who are poor or vulnerable.” Read more »