Time to open up: A global campaign to open budgets

In 2020, the world changed in ways few of us could have imagined. Everyone has been impacted by a global emergency that has caused extraordinary suffering and economic hardships. Yet before the crisis began, people were already mobilizing in many parts of the world, exposing the larger, underlying issues that came to the fore during the pandemic – including economic hardship, blatant inequality and corruption. There is a widespread perception that economic systems are rigged, lack equity, widen divisions and benefit only a chosen few.

The decisions that dictate how public funds are collected, allocated and spent determine whether our societies are inclusive and equitable. But for too long, people have not had a voice in the choices that impact their lives, from the quality of their schools to the cleanliness of their water. These opaque and unaccountable systems of budgeting can, and must, change. They must change not only because more and more people demand it, but because open budgets benefit everyone.

We must act collectively for change

We have seen many gains in open budgeting over the years. But progress is simply too slow. This is why collective action is crucial. More than 120 national and international civil society organizations and movements around the world have joined our Call to Open Budgets, uniting around a common agenda to make sure government budget and spending deliberations are transparent, inclusive and accountable.

Together, we are calling on governments to:

  • Publish timely information on how public resources are generated/raised, allocated and spent.
  • Create opportunities for all people, particularly those from marginalized communities, to provide input into the budgeting process.
  • Strengthen independent institutions that monitor and oversee spending of public money.
  • Institutionalize improvements to protect them from political and other shifts.

Around the world – from emerging movements and civil society organizations, to donors and government networks – we are taking action to bring about change, share lessons learned and collaborate to strengthen all of our efforts.

Here’s how you can join us to open budgets:

  • Contact us to be part of the movement to open budgets. Email Claire Schouten to join the call to open budgets
  • Engage with our open budget data
  • Join the conversation: share on social media why this matters to you and what leaders can do using #TimeToOpenUp and follow us on Twitter and Facebook

Oct. 20 – Nov. 24:
IBP weekly webinar series: Monitoring government budget execution in the COVID era

Sector Budget Transparency in the COVID-19 Response
September 29, 2020

UNICEF and IBP jointly organized this event with representatives from government, civil society organizations, development partners, UN offices and other stakeholders. Read UNICEF’s and IBP’s presentations.

From crisis to opportunity: How can open and accountable COVID-19 fiscal measures support the implementation of the 2030 Agenda?
September 24, 2020

The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA) and IBP jointly organized this event. More than 120 participants, including representatives from government, civil society organizations, development partners, UN offices and other stakeholders, joined the discussion.

  • A recording of the virtual event is available here
  • More information on the findings of the Open Budget Survey 2019 can be found here.

Open budgets as the driving force of effective COVID-19 response and recovery: What can countries in Eastern and Southern Africa do better?September 23, 2020

The UNICEF Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Office and IBP jointly organized this event for more than 100 participants from across the region, including finance ministries, line ministries, civil society organizations, development partners, UNICEF country offices and other stakeholders.

This webinar featured presentations from Bob Muchabaiwa (UNICEF), Alex Kreko (IBP), Maleshoane Lekomola-Danzinger (Ministry of Finance, Lesotho), Jeanette Rwigamba (Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, Rwanda) and Jay Kruuse (PSAM).

Public Expenditure Management Network in Asia – IBP Webinar Series: Open Budgeting Practices in the Asia-Pacific Region
September 2020

In September 2020, PEMNA and IBP co-hosted two webinars. The first webinar, which was held on September 9, shared the results of the 2019 Open Budget Survey (OBS) in the Asia-Pacific region and shared experiences about how countries can use the OBS to improve open budgeting practices. The second webinar, held on September 23, aimed to build on the discussions from the first webinar with deeper discussions on how countries can make progress on budget transparency and public participation. Over the course of the two webinars, around 80 participants from 12 PEMNA member countries and international experts attended.

  • Read the presentations

Public Expenditure Management Peer Assisted Learning (PEMPAL): Europe and Central Asia Region
May 13, 2020

The Budget Literacy and Transparency Working Group (BLTWG) provided an overview of their knowledge product before its finalization and to discuss next steps; IBP shared the latest results in public participation and transparency from the Open Budget Survey 2019; and GIFT shareed the latest country case studies and trends from around the world on public participation including the latest GIFT work and research in this area. Twenty-two people from 16 countries attended the BLTWG meeting including Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Moldova, Russia, Serbia, Turkey, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. The final version of the knowledge product and a comprehensive event report capturing the discussions and decisions are available here.