Revisiting the Foundational Assumptions of Fiscal Transparency and Accountability Work

by Thomas Carothers and Saskia Brechenmacher, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace— Nov 15, 2018

When work on improving fiscal transparency and accountability gained steam in the 2000s, it proceeded from a core set of assumptions about the global political context and the drivers of domestic governance reform. But in the past ten years, these assumptions have been thrown into question. The Fiscal Futures project recently sought to identify the foundational assumptions of fiscal transparency and accountability work, update them to fit today’s world, and assess the implications of these changes.

Results for Whom? Making Program Budgets Work

Jason Lakin, Ph.D., International Budget Partnership— Nov 07, 2018

Program budgeting is about making budgets more transparent, ensuring that public money is spent on the right priorities, and linking budgets more closely to the purposes of spending. IBP’s work on program budgets, in partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO), examines global practices related to budget program structure in health to shed light on how governments define program objectives as part of their broader quest to shift budgeting towards results that matter to citizens.

Rethinking Fiscal Futures: Questions for the Fiscal Transparency and Accountability Field

by Anja Rudiger, Consultant— Oct 30, 2018

After two decades of promoting open and accountable budgets around the world, the fiscal transparency and accountability field has reached a critical juncture. Although fiscal transparency norms and standards have gained ground and, under some conditions, contributed to increasing budget allocations and spending on essential public services, there is a sense that quantifying the deeper impact of budget work remains elusive. To critically reflect on this challenge and generate new ideas, the International Budget Partnership, the Transparency and Accountability Initiative, and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace initiated a set of workshops under the theme of Fiscal Futures earlier this year.

Alternative Budgets: An Advocacy Tool for Civil Society

International Budget Partnership— Oct 10, 2018

At a recent meeting of European civil society organizations engaged in budget work, Social Justice Ireland CEO Dr. Seán Healy discussed how his organization uses research and policy advocacy to inform budget debates, including the use of Alternative Budgets – policy briefs that incorporate alternatives to the government’s budget proposals meant to encourage the government to make budget choices that are both economically sound and socially fair. We recently spoke with Dr. Healy about Social Justice Ireland’s use of alternative budgets in its social justice advocacy.

Poor Countries Face a Climate Change Double Whammy

By Delaine McCullough, Manager, Climate Finance Accountability, International Budget Partnership— Sep 11, 2018

Climate change is hitting developing countries hardest because of both their geographical location and their limited capacity to respond. Now, a recent study from the UN Environmental Program warns that the poor countries that are most vulnerable to climate change will pay more to borrow because of that vulnerability.

Poor Countries and Climate Finance

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.

Advancing Aid and Budget Transparency for Development: Five Things You Need to Know

by Elise Dufief, Research and Monitoring Manager, Publish What You Fund and Claire Schouten, Senior Program Officer, International Budget Partnership— Jul 17, 2018

In countries where a significant portion of the budget comes from external actors, such as major international donors, it is crucial that these actors and their finance flows are transparent to ensure that available resources are allocated and spent in a manner that responds to citizens’ needs. This post outlines five things you need to know about aid and budget transparency based on the Open Budget Survey 2017 and Publish What You Fund’s 2018 Aid Transparency Index.

aid and budget transparency

Do Multistakeholder Initiatives Deliver on Accountability?

by the International Budget Partnership— May 03, 2018

Multistakeholder initiatives such as the Open Government Partnership, the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, and the Global Initiative for Fiscal Transparency work to encourage transparency and accountability reforms in a rapidly expanding number of countries around the world. But how deep do reforms really go? What tangible changes are multistakeholder initiatives driving at the country level? These are some of the questions that Dr. Brandon Brockmyer of the Accountability Research Center has been investigating. We recently spoke to Brandon about his research.

Opening Municipal Budgets in Serbia

By Predrag Mijalković, president of the management board, Center for Education and Transparency (CETRA)— Apr 24, 2018

How can civil society respond to a lack of transparency in local budgetary policies? In Serbia, the Center for Education and Transparency created a web platform to analyze and visualize open data related to the planned and executed budgets of a sample of Serbian cities. The group was motivated by a desire to raise the level of transparency of the budget process in Serbia, and to contribute to establishing an effective and efficient system of public accountability. Learn more.

Open Budgets in Serbian Cities

Volatility and the Africa Budget Transparency Puzzle: Can Levels of Institutionalization Help Explain the Open Budget Survey 2017 Results?

By Paolo de Renzio, International Budget Partnership— Apr 17, 2018

The Open Budget Survey 2017 recorded a global decline in average budget transparency scores for the first time since the survey’s inception. Nowhere was this decline more pronounced than in sub-Saharan Africa, in which 15 countries saw their Open Budget Index scores drop by more than five points. Is a lack of institutionalization of budget transparency practices to blame? And is examining this issue at the country level sufficient enough to understand how budget transparency practices evolve over time?