Save Lamu! Drawing lessons on public participation from other sectors

By Jason Lakin, International Budget Partnership— Jul 15, 2019

Interest in public participation in the budget process is increasing, and the sector could learn a lot from practices in other sectors, such as the environment. As IBP’s Jason Lakin points out, we too often stay in our silos instead of looking to other fields for lessons learned about how to increase citizen engagement.

How Participatory Reforms Can Enable Voice But Fall Short of Transformation

By Joy Aceron, Government Watch Philippines— Jul 09, 2019

Bottom-up budgeting (BuB) can increase civil society participation in government. However, as this analysis of the Philippine experience shows, BuB does not automatically lead to increased government responsiveness. In this case, it provided civil society with a “voice” but without “teeth.”

Participatory Budgeting Processes: Beyond Box Ticking

By Brendan Halloran and Samir Khan, International Budget Partnership— Jul 08, 2019

The negative effects of power do not go away just because a budget process invites civil society participation. In this blog post, two IBP experts recommend three specific actions that can ensure meaningful results are actually achieved for marginalized communities and groups.

Fiscal Futures: Fighting Climate Change with Fiscal Policy

By Delaine McCullough, Head of Climate Finance Accountability, International Budget Partnership — Apr 03, 2019

Climate change threatens the natural systems that our lives and economies depend on, so it is simultaneously an environmental, economic, and developmental issue. But it is also an equity issue. If you’re poor, female, or otherwise marginalized, the risk of losing your already limited assets, livelihood, and potentially your life is heightened by climate change. Failure to address this extra vulnerability as we tackle climate change will deepen existing poverty and inequality.

An aerial view of a neighborhood affected by Cyclone Idai on March 24, 2019 in Beira, Mozambique.

Fiscal Futures: Is There a Space for Better Fiscal Accountability in South Africa’s Metropolitan Municipalities?

By Adi Kumar and Ryan Fester, Development Action Group— Mar 27, 2019

In South Africa’s metropolitan municipalities, civil society has limited influence over local government decision making, and most tactics to hold local governments accountable are failing. Can the emergence of cross-class and cross-race coalitions frame new forms of citizen participation and improve fiscal accountability?

Cape Town South Africa Informal Settlement

Putting the ‘Public’ Back Into Public Finance: How Better Budgets Can Save Democracy

by Paolo de Renzio, International Budget Partnership— Feb 06, 2019

Public finance and government budgets are things few people get excited about, but they affect every one of us much more than we think. What would public finance that puts the public good — human beings with their needs and aspirations — at the center of government policy-making look like? And could this re-framing of public finance be the key to democratic renewal?

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.

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.

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

Dominican Republic: Sustained Progress in Transparency Must Be Matched by Improvements in Public Participation

by María José Eva Parada, International Budget Partnership— Feb 14, 2018

Few countries have steadily sustained strong increases to budget transparency as the Dominican Republic. The country’s score on the Open Budget Index has risen 37 points since 2012, thereby making it one of the top five scores in the Latin American region in 2017, after Mexico, Brazil, and Peru. The Dominican Republic’s 2017 score of 66 out of a possible 100 on budget transparency is substantially higher than the global average score of 42. But while these gains are impressive, more work is necessary to ensure they translate into meaningful public participation.