The International Budget Partnership (IBP) is a project of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and as such is governed by the CBPP Board of Directors. In addition, the IBP has established a Strategic Advisory Council to provide advice on our overall strategy and programs. The Council members include leading practitioners from the budget work network, individuals who participate actively in the work of several complementary networks, as well as individuals who bring expertise in organizational development, network growth, political science, and economic development. All members combine expertise in more than one of these areas and together bring first-hand knowledge of working in the regions in which the IBP is engaged.
The Open Budget Initiative
The Open Budget Initiative (Initiative) is a global research and advocacy program to promote public access to budget information and the adoption of accountable budget systems.
IBP launched the Initiative with the Open Budget Survey—a comprehensive analysis and survey that evaluates whether governments give the public access to budget information and opportunities to participate in the budget process at the national level. The IBP works with civil society partners in 85 countries to collect the data for the Survey. The first Open Budget Survey was released in 2006 and will be conducted biennially.
To easily measure the overall commitment of the countries surveyed to transparency and to allow for comparisons among countries, IBP created the Open Budget Index (OBI) from the Survey. The OBI assigns a score to each country based on the information it makes available to the public throughout the budget process.
The budget is a government’s plan for how it is going to use the public’s resources to meet the public’s needs. Transparency means all of a country’s people can access information on how much is allocated to different types of spending, what revenues are collected, and how international donor assistance and other public resources are used. The IBP believes that open budgets are empowering; they allow people to be the judge of whether or not their government officials are good stewards of public funds.
While providing the public with comprehensive and timely information on the government's budget and financial activities and opportunities to participate in decision making can strengthen oversight and improve policy choices, keeping the process closed can have the opposite effect. Restricting access to information creates opportunities for governments to hide unpopular, wasteful, and corrupt spending, ultimately reducing the resources available to fight poverty.
Since a significant amount of poverty-reducing expenditures take place at the subnational level, the Initiative also has initiated a major new effort to support work on budget transparency and accountability at this level.
The Open Budget Initiative plans to collaborate with civil society organizations worldwide to undertake research and advocacy to raise public awareness of the connections between budget transparency and people’s daily lives to mobilize public support for reform.
Open Budget Survey 2010
The International Budget Partnership has just released the Open Budget Survey 2010, the only independent, comparative, regular measure of budget transparency and accountability around the world. Produced every two years by independent experts not beholden to national governments, the report reveals that 74 of the 94 countries assessed fail to meet basic standards of transparency and accountability with national budgets. This opens the door to abuse and inappropriate and inefficient use of public money. The good news is that all governments -- no matter their income levels or political systems or dependence on aid -- can improve transparency and accountability quickly and with very little additional cost or effort by publishing online all of the budget information they already produce and by inviting public participation in the budget process.