Budget Openness of Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan: Preliminary Comparative Observations

By Dr. Brian C. H. Fong, Academy of Hong Kong Studies at the Education University of Hong Kong— Dec 05, 2017

Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan are important economies in East Asia. Though all three are part of the People’s Republic of China, they are independent entities in terms of public finance management. In addition, each region is currently at different stages of democratization. This makes them perfect cases for examining the relationship between democratization and government budget transparency and accountability using the Open Budget Survey methodology.

The Road to Budget Transparency

The Road to Budget Transparency: Four Things Governments Can Do

By Paolo de Renzio, International Budget Partnership— Nov 28, 2017

Since the Open Budget Index (a global comparative measure of government budget transparency that is drawn from the Open Budget Survey) was introduced in 2006, many countries have improved their scores, but then seem to get stuck in the middle. Why is that? And what have governments that managed to break through the middle barrier done to guarantee that their citizens have access to adequate amounts of budget information? This post highlights four specific initiatives that successful governments took to reach higher levels of budget transparency.

The Struggle for Democratic and Accountable Budgets – What Have We Learned?

By Brendan Halloran, International Budget Partnership— Nov 13, 2017

Three new case studies, drawn from substantially different contexts, have something in common: citizens trying to engage the state in the management of public resources. This may happen through formal budget processes and procedures, in village meetings, or in the streets, but in all three cases citizens are defending a central ideal: that public money is the people’s money, and they have a right to understand and influence decisions on how it is spent.

Citizens Climate Budget - Nepal

Nepal Releases Its First Citizens Climate Budget

By Delaine McCullough, International Budget Partnership— Oct 31, 2017

In August 2017 Freedom Forum, IBP’s civil society research partner for the Open Budget Survey in Nepal, and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) released Nepal’s Citizens Climate Budget: Where is Nepal’s Money Being Allocated?, which provides the public with accessible information, in Nepali and English, on how the government is using public money to address climate change and its effects through the national budget.

Gender Budgeting in 2017: Where Are We?

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

In the wake of renewed interest in the intersection of gender and public finance, and given the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) ambitious aim to achieve full gender equality by 2030, it is important to review what we know about gender budgeting as a means to achieve full parity, and determine what may be required to fill in the current knowledge gaps.

What's Missing in the Fight Against Corruption?

What’s Missing in the Fight Against Corruption?

By Rebecca Warner, International Budget Partnership— Sep 26, 2017

The past 20 years of international efforts to curb corruption through reducing the openings for the misuse of public funds have led to the establishment of best practices in transparency and accountability, and the widespread creation of anti-corruption agencies within governments. Still, the economic cost of corruption remains enormous. “Transparency, Anti-Corruption, and Sustainable Development: Is Progress Possible?,” a recent event hosted by the Brookings Institution, brought together experts from international finance institutions, civil society, and the private sector to discuss past and current challenges in transparency and anti-corruption work.

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.