Mission & Vision
The International Budget Partnership (IBP) works in collaboration with multiple actors – including civil society, state actors, international institutions and the private sector – to bring about a world in which empowered citizens participate in open, inclusive budgeting processes to shape policies and practices that promote equity and justice on a sustainable basis.
We believe in a world where:
- Citizens claim the right to understand and influence how public money – their money – is raised and spent.
- Public budget decision-making processes include spaces for meaningful public deliberation and engagement, including by poor and marginalized communities most affected by budget decisions.
- The public budget is an expression of societal values aimed at reducing poverty and inequality.
IBP’s ultimate aim is to ensure that public resources are used more effectively to fight poverty and promote equitable and sustainable development in countries around the world. Our work, and that of our civil society partners, is based on the idea that skilled CSOs and citizens, combined with access to information and opportunities to engage in the budget process, contribute to increases in the quantity of public resources that are available for service delivery and improvements in how those resources are spent. To achieve and sustain these outcomes and improve the impact of the budget on poor and marginalized communities, IBP partners combine high-quality, accessible, and timely analysis with effective dissemination and advocacy, and intensive work in coalitions and with other formal and informal actors (government, legislatures and auditors, civil society, and the media) in the public finance accountability ecosystem.
IBP’s work is fueled by these core assumptions:
- Public understanding and engagement are necessary if public budgeting processes are to be reformed and budgets are to be more responsive.
- Successful CSO engagement requires that citizens have access to information and opportunities to participate in the formulation, implementation, and oversight of public policies and budgets.
- Government has the primary duty to provide the public with timely, comprehensive information on the budget and opportunities for participation in budget processes.
- Government has the primary duty to ensure that the maximum available public funds are devoted to reductions in poverty.
- Public funds should be spent on public priorities, especially those of the poor and marginalized
IBP was formed in 1997 to promote transparent and inclusive government budget processes as a means to improve governance and service delivery in the developing world. IBP’s focus on citizens and civil society organizations (CSOs) was driven by the pioneering civil society budget monitoring efforts in a small number of middle-income countries in the early 1990s.
Since then, the growth in CSO budget work, as it has been termed, has been dramatic in both middle- and low-income countries. In 1997, IBP worked with think tanks in approximately eight countries. Today, IBP works with a much wider and more diverse community of independent organizations dedicated to budget monitoring in over 100 countries. In large part because of the efforts of IBP and its civil society partners, it is increasingly recognized that when the public is involved in managing the public’s money, you get stronger decisions, less corruption and mismanagement, and better outcomes for a country’s people, especially the poor. In other words: Open Budgets. Transform Lives.
As members of IBP we believe in:
- Transparency and Accountability. 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.
- Democracy and Human Rights. 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.
- Collaboration. 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.
- Independence. 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.
- Integrity and Ethical Behavior. 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.
- Learning. 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.
- Excellence. 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.
- Optimism. 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.