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.
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.
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.
by Dustin Kramer, former Deputy Secretary General, Social Justice Coalition, Cape Town— Jul 20, 2017
For the past two years, the Social Justice Coalition (SJC), a social movement based in Cape Town, South Africa, has used budget analysis and advocacy as a tool to campaign for decent sanitation in informal settlements. IBP worked with SJC to undertake research and analysis of Cape Town’s municipal budget in support of the broader advocacy campaign. Initial research uncovered extremely low spending — less than 2 percent of the water and sanitation capital budget was going to informal settlements, even though informal households make up over 20 percent of the city’s population. Faced with this injustice, SJC began to view the budget process as a set of political moments and institutional processes through which the campaign could move.
Brendan Halloran, Senior Fellow, Strategy and Learning, International Budget Partnership— Jul 11, 2017
In Kenya, IBP and its partners seek to support inclusive engagement in the budget process. Yet outcomes have been mixed. This has forced civil society advocacy groups to learn and adapt their approaches, sometimes after investing significant time and effort in a seemingly promising avenue of engagement. Such is the case with the work of Kerio Center and the Uasin Gishu Disability Forum to ensure resources in the Uasin Gishu county budget for persons living with disabilities.
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 Jean Ross, Independent Consultant— Jun 29, 2017
Throughout most of the developing world, tax collections remain below that which is needed to support basic services and foster development. As civil society budget work has strengthened, activists increasingly find progress stymied by a lack of public resources and are forced to defend hard-fought gains during times of fiscal stress. By linking the two sides of the budget — expenditures and revenues — tax work can potentially transform debates over public services from what is possible within existing resources to what is needed to address poverty and inequality.
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.
Warren Krafchik, Executive Director, International Budget Partnership— Jun 06, 2017
How do we advance fiscal accountability in an era of closing government? Over the past 20 years, IBP has worked with hundreds of independent organizations the world over to pioneer models of open budgeting, where citizens and civic organizations play an informed and meaningful role in monitoring and influencing the public budget. Our ultimate goal is to ensure that governments make and keep commitments to maximize the contribution of public resources to transforming the lives of poor and marginalized communities. Too often, though, we have secured dramatic increases in public data and built strong organizations but have failed to transform these resources into greater accountability. Our 2016 reflection essays have identified three areas of work where we see hopeful possibilities toward greater fiscal accountability.