The International Budget Partnership (IBP) is the leading international organization dedicated to ensuring governments are responsible stewards of public funds. We work with civil society partners in over 120 countries, and leverage our multi-stakeholder network of international institutions, donors, the private sector, and state actors, to ensure all citizens, especially in underserved communities, understand and have the right to influence how public money is raised and spent.
As the most important economic policy tool available to governments, public budgets can exclude citizens and skew public resources to the powerful, or they can play a leading role in promoting inclusion, redressing inequality and fostering policies that reduce poverty.
How We Do It
We work with a broad civil society network, multiplying our effectiveness: We collaborate with independent groups and researchers in over 100 countries on our Open Budget Survey; our learning network knits 40 civil society groups more closely together; and we have a direct presence in several key countries.
Vision & Mission
IBP believes in a world where:
- Citizens claim the right to understand and influence how public money is raised and spent.
- Public budget processes include space for meaningful engagement of poor and marginalized communities.
- The public budget is an expression of societal values aimed at reducing poverty and inequality.
IBP will work to promote inclusive sustainable development that promote equity and justice:
- Active and empowered citizens influence public budget processes and policymaking that affects their lives.
- Governments and other actors provide transparent budget information and opportunities for citizens to engage meaningfully in the budget process.
- Government budget policies are based on fair taxation and targeted at effective service delivery and equitable distribution of public resources.
SPARK represents a bold new approach to budget advocacy, working directly with poor and marginalized communities to bolster their capacity to navigate public fiscal systems—and as a result, hold government accountable for more effective public services to those communities. In seven countries in Africa, South Asia and Southeast Asia, we work hand-in-hand with community groups and movements and link them with budget groups and actors to address the issues that affect them. Learn more.
At the core of IBP’s vision is the growth of civic organizations that specialize in budget analysis and advocacy. We will deepen the quality of budget work among network partners through the consolidation of “cornerstone organizations” – those key partners we already work with extensively. Additionally, we will strengthen our learning network and associated partners as a whole.
Many developing countries face pressure to raise additional domestic revenues to fund development, but civil society rarely has a place at the table when tax policy is discussed. We support civil society capacity for tax policy analysis and advocacy for in-country tax work to meet critical development goals and counter the influence of those more concerned with tax subsidies and lower tax rates. Learn more.
While continuing to produce the Open Budget Survey (OBS) – the world’s only independent, comparative and fact-based research instrument to measure governance and accountability – we will explore ways to adapt the survey to more actively encourage and track public participation mechanisms. Additionally, we will learn how to increase the potency of the survey as a tool for civil society to promote transparent and accountable governance. Learn more.
Governments are the stewards, not the owners, of public funds — including those that are derived from natural resources and foreign assistance. Thus, we believe that they are obliged to strive for the highest standards of transparency and must be held accountable for their actions by the people who pay their salaries. Likewise, we hold ourselves accountable to our partners, donors and other stakeholders, and deliver on our commitments in a transparent manner.
For us, this means that all people have the right to participate in public decision-making processes that affect their lives and to access the information that empowers them to participate meaningfully. Critical to democracy is active citizenship, which envisions citizens who are empowered both individually and collectively to advocate for change. Since rights are universal, we embrace diversity by working across a wide range of countries with different cultures and contexts. Our commitment to diversity is also reflected in the composition of our staff. The diverse backgrounds and points of view of our staff enrich our organization and our work. These values drive us to focus on strategies that we believe will improve the lives of all people, particularly the poor and marginalized.
Competition and rivalry, either internal or external, undermine creative solutions to the problems that we are working to address. To fulfill our mission, we need to engage with a broad range of external actors, while fostering collaboration among IBP staff, all of which requires flexibility. We approach all of our engagements with partners and other stakeholders — as well as with each other — respectfully, working with them as peers to achieve our goals. We value the voices of our partners, provide spaces for them to be heard, and strive to promote their voices and messages at every available opportunity. We see ourselves as consensus builders who are strong but reasonable, and passionate yet humble.
While we always seek ways to build bridges and establish connections, these bridges and connections are not made at the expense of our independence. Our strategies and our advocacy are evidence-based, and the strength of our work derives from independent, uncompromised research as well as thoughtful analysis.
Consistent with our demand that governments be open, honest and accountable to their citizens, we embrace openness and honesty in all aspects of our work. We strive to ensure that the ways in which we work and the kinds of work that we engage in are consistent with our mission, goals, and values. Since our ultimate goals are to improve governance and reduce poverty, value for money and environmental sustainability are critical to our integrity. Thus, we are committed to using our financial resources wisely and prudently for activities that generate value and impact, as well as being mindful of the environmental impact of our operations.
We strive to cultivate an environment of learning within IBP to ensure that it is an effective organization. To this end, we document our work and its impact, provide spaces to critically evaluate our efforts, and regularly integrate those lessons into our strategies and operations. We endeavor to understand and document our successes and failures and use both as opportunities to learn about ourselves and our work.
We are committed to professionalism and hard work, and we have a passion for getting the work done and achieving our goals. We hold our work to the highest standards, by drawing on the expertise of our staff, partners, and others, as well as the latest research and good practice in the field. We encourage continuous learning among both our partners and our staff so that they can develop their knowledge and skills, grow professionally, and excel in their work.
We take the problems that we are tackling seriously, but this seriousness does not equal a lack of hope. We believe that we can make a difference in the way that governments operate, and ultimately, in people’s lives, by working for budget transparency, participation, and accountability. We believe that there is room to enjoy the relationships that we develop through our work and to approach challenges with a positive attitude. Optimism, joy, and a sense of humor are important creative forces that allow us to continue pushing for change.