Tax to finance the SDGs, but not to undermine them

By Wilson Prichard, ICTD; Nora Lustig, CEQ; Sanjeev Gupta, CGD; Warren Krafchik, IBP; Ian Gary, Oxfam; and Brahima Coulibaly, Brookings— Jul 01, 2019

Stakeholders are gathering this week in Berlin to chart the future of the Addis Tax Initiative, whose overarching goal is to increase tax revenues to help finance the Sustainable Development Goals. This blog written by experts from civil society highlights the need to focus on equity and outlines priority areas for reform so as not to undermine the SDGs.

Why Reasons are Fundamental in Government Budgets

Jason Lakin, Ph.D., International Budget Partnership— Nov 29, 2018

Modern government budgeting is increasingly expected to be an extended conversation between executives, legislatures, auditors, the public, and other independent institutions. In this conversation, governments cannot simply announce their plans. They have to explain the reasons for the choices they are making. So how can we judge the quality of reasons that governments provide? Our new paper, “Assessing the Quality of Reasons in Government Budget Documents,” proposes five criteria.

What does ‘going to scale’ mean in poor communities in South Africa?

by Albert van Zyl, International Budget Partnership South Africa— Aug 01, 2018

How can we scale up small pockets of development progress? The International Budget Partnership South Africa and its partners Planact and the Social Audit Network have seen their social audit work in informal settlements go to scale – sometimes by intent, but often by accident. Learn more about why both channels matter.

Making and Keeping Promises: Why Budget Credibility Matters

by Guillermo Herrera, International Budget Partnership— Jul 31, 2018

Budget credibility describes the ability of governments to accurately and consistently meet their expenditure and revenue targets. Two key issues pertaining to budget credibility warrant greater attention: the impact of budget deviations on citizens and services, and how governments justify budget deviations and are held accountable for them. The International Budget Partnership’s Assessing Budget Credibility project aims to investigate these issues further. In July 2018, IBP and the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit of Mexico, in collaboration with the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, co-hosted a side-event during the 2018 United Nations High Level Political Forum to discuss budget credibility, and its relevance to the Sustainable Development Goals.

Shedding Light on Spending Through the Tax Code: Previewing the Open Budget Survey 2017

Jean Ross, Independent Consultant— Jan 11, 2018

The need for timely, accessible information on tax expenditures is critical as countries around the world seek to strengthen domestic tax systems to meet the challenges of the Sustainable Development Goals and the need for domestic resources. The Open Budget Survey 2017 will provide an important indication of how governments are responding to this challenge and whether budget experts within governments and civil society will have the information they need to be informed participants in critical policy debates.

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.

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.

Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) Damage and Rehabilitation in the Philippines

Overseeing Budget Sustainability: A New Tool for Watchdogs

by Daniel Baksa, David Mihalyi, and Balazs Romhanyi— Mar 28, 2017

When optimism fuels public spending and earnings fail to materialize, a country can quickly find itself in fiscal crisis. Civil society has a crucial role to play in ensuring government policies are sustainable, yet interrogating the assumptions underlying budget decisions can be dauntingly complex. For this reason the Natural Resource Government Institute and the Fiscal Responsibility Institute Budapest have developed a tool to help potential watchdogs grapple with these complexities.

Putting the Government’s Budget Proposal in Context

By by Albert van Zyl, International Budget Partnership South Africa— Feb 23, 2017

Civil society can play an important accountability role throughout the budget process, from formulation to enactment then implementation and audit. Early in the process, civil society organizations can inform the public about the government’s proposals for raising and spending public money and can offer a critical voice that places the proposals in the social and economic context of the country and challenges questionable assumptions. On 22 February 2017 the South African Minister of Finance Pravin Gordhan delivered the annual budget speech upon tabling the Executive’s Budget Proposal in parliament. As an example of how CSOs can engage in this stage of the process, IBP South Africa responded with the following assessment of the proposal.

India: Civil Society Keeping a Close Watch on Social Spending in Madhya Pradesh

by Dr. Yogesh Kumar, Samarthan— Apr 25, 2016

Samarthan, a civil society organization and IBP partner, works in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh to address social development issues by strengthening grassroots civil society groups. One of the ways the group does so is through the People’s Budget Initiative (PBI), a large national network of CSOs that work together to influence budget policy. Those who are marginalized and poor need a louder voice and more representation in policy discourse, particularly how public resources are used. In March, 2016, the Madhya Pradesh government presented the budget for financial year 2016-17, which Samarthan and PBI have been working hard to influence, but translating what’s on paper into positive outcomes for the poor and marginalized requires constant vigilance and reassessment.

international budget partnership partner samarthan