How Governments Close Civic Space: Lessons from Hungary

By Rebecca Warner, International Budget Partnership— Apr 11, 2018

As the global trend toward closing civic spaces continues, many organizations are forced to reevaluate how they engage with government in order to retain their ability to defend the interests of the people. In November 2017, OpenGov Hub invited András Kádár, co-chair of the Hungarian Helsinki Committee, to discuss how Hungarian civil society is dealing with the deteriorating political environment and offer broader lessons and warnings for civil society actors in other countries. Read more.

Making the Most of the Budget Cycle: The Budget Oversight Stage

By Rebecca Warner, International Budget Partnership— Apr 04, 2018

Budget oversight includes a number of activities that aim to measure whether public resources have been used appropriately, effectively, and efficiently. At the end of the fiscal year, the executive branch should report its financial activities to the legislature and the public, as well as to an independent and professional supreme audit institution. During this stage of the budget cycle, civil society organizations that are interested in assessing problems in budget implementation can use Audit Reports to assess whether the government is spending public funds appropriately and effectively.

Impact Images: Cartooning for Change

by David Allan, Spectrum— Mar 28, 2018

Effectively communicating different aspects of economic justice while also making public finance information more accessible have been key goals of Spectrum, a research, policy, and communications group working in Myanmar. One strategy the organization has piloted with great results is the use of cartooning to explain complex topics like responsible resource use and revenue transparency to the public.

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 Struggle for Democratic and Accountable Budgets – What Have We Learned?

By Brendan Halloran, International Budget Partnership— Nov 13, 2017

Three new case studies, drawn from substantially different contexts, have something in common: citizens trying to engage the state in the management of public resources. This may happen through formal budget processes and procedures, in village meetings, or in the streets, but in all three cases citizens are defending a central ideal: that public money is the people’s money, and they have a right to understand and influence decisions on how it is spent.

Nepal Releases Its First Citizens Climate Budget

By Delaine McCullough, International Budget Partnership— Oct 31, 2017

In August 2017 Freedom Forum, IBP’s civil society research partner for the Open Budget Survey in Nepal, and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) released Nepal’s Citizens Climate Budget: Where is Nepal’s Money Being Allocated?, which provides the public with accessible information, in Nepali and English, on how the government is using public money to address climate change and its effects through the national budget.

Citizens Climate Budget - Nepal

Taking the Budget to Court

Ann Blyberg, Manager of Training, Technical Assistance, and Networking, International Budget Partnership— Sep 06, 2017

In recent years, a small number of civil society organizations have looked to the courts to challenge the government’s budget policies and practices around such issues as under-spending on social programs or discrimination in spending. Courts have agreed to hear a good number of the cases and, in many, have ruled in favor of the civil society claims.

Taking the Budget to Court

How Social Movements Can Reenergize Budget Activism

Brendan Halloran, Senior Fellow, Strategy and Learning, International Budget Partnership— Aug 17, 2017

In civil society budget activism, there is rarely a shortcut to realizing rights and achieving tangible improvements for the poorest and most marginalized people. Meaningful steps toward more inclusive and effective governance means going beyond openness to navigating and reshaping politics. For IBP and our partners, this presents a great opportunity, particularly in the increasingly challenging contexts in which we work.

How Social Movements Can Reenergize Budget Activism

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.