Participatory Budgeting in Action

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.

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.

The Social Justice Coalition Cape Town Sanitation Campaign

Budgeting for Decent Sanitation in South African Townships

by Dustin Kramer, former Deputy Secretary General, Social Justice Coalition, Cape Town— Jul 20, 2017

For the past two years, the Social Justice Coalition (SJC), a social movement based in Cape Town, South Africa, has used budget analysis and advocacy as a tool to campaign for decent sanitation in informal settlements. IBP worked with SJC to undertake research and analysis of Cape Town’s municipal budget in support of the broader advocacy campaign. Initial research uncovered extremely low spending — less than 2 percent of the water and sanitation capital budget was going to informal settlements, even though informal households make up over 20 percent of the city’s population. Faced with this injustice, SJC began to view the budget process as a set of political moments and institutional processes through which the campaign could move.

How does Mexico Invest in the Sustainable Development Goals?

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.

Uasin Gishu PWDS Forum

Making Kenya’s Newly Opened Budgets Work

Brendan Halloran, Senior Fellow, Strategy and Learning, International Budget Partnership— Jul 11, 2017

In Kenya, IBP and its partners seek to support inclusive engagement in the budget process. Yet outcomes have been mixed. This has forced civil society advocacy groups to learn and adapt their approaches, sometimes after investing significant time and effort in a seemingly promising avenue of engagement. Such is the case with the work of Kerio Center and the Uasin Gishu Disability Forum to ensure resources in the Uasin Gishu county budget for persons living with disabilities.

protecting fiscal space in India

Protecting Fiscal Space in Modi’s India

by Nikhil Dey, Social Activist, Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS)— Jul 06, 2017

When fighting for equity and social justice — or good governance and accountability — politics matters. When the political environment shifts, one step forward can quickly turn into two steps back without vigilance and an eye open for opportunities. In India, the government’s attacks on social programs brought many CSOs and social movements together to fight to preserve the progressive policies that they had helped establish. This essay from IBP’s 2016 Annual Report details how sophisticated mass-based protests, bolstered by sharp analysis by independent budget experts, helped protect the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme.

taxes matter in transforming lives civil society tax work

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.

Lawmakers meet during a parliament session in Ghana

Making the Most of the Budget Cycle: The Budget Approval Phase

By Jay Colburn, International Budget Partnership— Jun 20, 2017

The budget approval, or enactment, phase of the budget cycle is when the Executive’s Budget Proposal is submitted to the legislature, where the members may then debate, alter, and approve the final budget. Frequently, it is at this point that the key issues in the debate over the budget are established. Because this process culminates in the enactment of the final budget law, this is often the point when media attention is greatest, offering CSOs valuable opportunities to advocate for their issues.

Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) Damage and Rehabilitation in the Philippines

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.