by Nikhil Dey, Social Activist, Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS)— Jul 06, 2017
When fighting for equity and social justice — or good governance and accountability — politics matters. When the political environment shifts, one step forward can quickly turn into two steps back without vigilance and an eye open for opportunities. In India, the government’s attacks on social programs brought many CSOs and social movements together to fight to preserve the progressive policies that they had helped establish. This essay from IBP’s 2016 Annual Report details how sophisticated mass-based protests, bolstered by sharp analysis by independent budget experts, helped protect the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme.
By Jay Colburn, International Budget Partnership— Jun 20, 2017
The budget approval, or enactment, phase of the budget cycle is when the Executive’s Budget Proposal is submitted to the legislature, where the members may then debate, alter, and approve the final budget. Frequently, it is at this point that the key issues in the debate over the budget are established. Because this process culminates in the enactment of the final budget law, this is often the point when media attention is greatest, offering CSOs valuable opportunities to advocate for their issues.
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.
By Albert van Zyl, South Africa Country Manager, International Budget Partnership— Jun 08, 2017
Most people within organizations find strategic planning, theories of change, and log frames to be a pain. Not only because formulating them is hard work but also because we never implement them, at least not as intended in the heady aftermath of putting on paper what seems to be a clear step-by-step map to mission success. Why? Because the unpredictable, ever-changing world we work in refuses to comply with the plan. However, establishing rules for making strategy-aligned decisions in the field can help you stay on course.
by Leo Mutuku, PesaCheck— Jun 01, 2017
When budget stories make the news, fact checking is crucial. Now more than ever, individuals and intermediary organizations need to cultivate a culture of fact-checking given that misinformation is rife with changing global socio-political dynamics. What have we learned from Kenya’s PesaCheck initiative? And how can these lessons guide civil society organizations interested in running similar fact-checking initiatives?
by Ryan Flynn for the International Budget Partnership— Apr 19, 2017
When Freedom Forum, a civil society organization based in Nepal, decided to use the country’s Right to Information (RTI) laws to investigate special funds allocated to parliamentarians, they uncovered a vast array of wasteful projects. Such nebulous spending was being channeled through Nepal’s Constituency Development Funds (CDFs), mechanisms for allocating money from the national coffers for parliamentarians to spend in their local constituencies. Using Nepal’s Right to Information law to investigate CDFs, Freedom Forum painstakingly traced how money was being spent and projects were supposed to be administered. They then worked with investigative journalists to piece together a series of exposés revealing the misuse of public money.
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.
By Rocio Campos, International Budget Partnership— Mar 09, 2017
Building consensus and using evidence to influence policy can be particularly challenging in contexts where political polarization has become entrenched. This was the scenario in El Salvador in 2014, when IBP started working with a diverse group of civil society organizations to influence the debate on pension reform. Tactics included producing evidence for decision makers and working to socialize basic facts about the reform with the wider public.
By Jay Colburn, International Budget Partnership— Feb 28, 2017
Timing can be everything when it comes to influencing government decisions. Luckily budgeting more or less follows a regular cycle throughout the financial year and decisions are often contingent on what has come before. Civil society organizations (CSOs) looking to influence budgets can use their knowledge of the budget cycle to determine the timing and targets of their interventions. This post looks at the formulation stage of the budget cycle and how civil society can most effectively engage in it.
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.