From the Open Budgets Blog

Leaders Agree to Fiscal Transparency at the Anti-Corruption Summit – What’s Next?

In the wake of the Panama Papers, which exposed the illicit finance industry, the United Kingdom hosted the first-ever Anti-Corruption Summit in May 2016. The summit brought together world leaders to discuss how to tackle corruption by strengthening transparency, recovering stolen assets, and improving the coordination of law enforcement. IBP’s Claire Schouten attended the summit and reflects on what came of the discussions and what happens next in terms of open budgets.

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The Art of Citizen-Led Accountability: Five Take Aways from the World Bank’s Global Partnership for Social Accountability Forum

In May the World Bank’s Global Partnership for Social Accountability (GPSA) partners’ forum, held in Washington, D.C., provided a space to discuss how civil society can influence government accountability and to reflect on our evolving understanding of relationships between citizens and the state. IBP’s Brendan Halloran attended the forum and shares five key points drawn from the discussions.

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Shackled Auditors, Toothless Legislatures: Why Government Oversight is Unable to Deliver Budget Accountability

Since 2006 the Open Budget Survey has sought to measure the role and effectiveness of supreme audit institutions and legislatures in contributing to more accountable budgets. In this post, IBP’s Vivek Ramkumar explains the link between oversight institutions and budget accountability using data from the Open Budget Survey 2015.

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What Are We Learning About Ecosystems and Social Change?

By documenting civil society campaigns, and examining the oversight systems in which they are conducted, IBP has become aware of the need to adjust our assumptions about civil society budget work and its impact. In this essay from our 2015 Annual Report, Albert van Zyl and Paolo de Renzio reflect on the complementary roles that different actors can play in the accountability ecosystem and the multifaceted ways it can be strengthened.

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New IBP Publications

You Cannot Go it Alone: Learning from Cooperative Relationships in Civil Society Budget Campaigns

IBP has spent almost a decade researching how and why civil society campaigns on budget-related issues succeed or fail. Based on the findings of nearly 30 case studies spanning five continents, this paper synthesizes what we have learned so far. It focuses particularly on the relationships between civil society organizations and both government and non-government stakeholders, examining how and why they contribute to successful budget campaigns.

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Argentina: Enforcing a Legal Victory for Universal Access to Education

This case study recounts the Civil Association for Equality and Justice (ACIJ)’s campaign in Argentina to push the City of Buenos Aires to comply with its legal obligation to provide free early education to children. Faced with a breakdown in the formal mechanisms for monitoring government compliance, the ACIJ took further legal action and mobilized public support through the media and other advocacy efforts. While the campaign is ongoing, ACIJ has already managed to secure more places for children, better spending on infrastructure, and a new system of online enrollment.

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Kenya: How to Read and Use the Budget Estimates

This guide is part of IBP Kenya’s series on how to read and use key Kenya budget documents at the national and county level. This edition looks at the Budget Estimates, using Kenya’s 2016/17 national Budget Estimates as an example.

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Further Reading From the Field

  • To elevate public understanding of the U.S. Federal deficit, the Hutchins Center at the Brookings Institution developed The Fiscal Ship, an online game that aims to improve public understanding of fiscal and monetary policy.

  • How National Audit Offices Can Support Implementation of the SDGs,” from the International Monetary Fund’s Public Finance Management blog, suggests that governments should be held accountable for their implementation of the SDGs and elaborates on the role supreme audit institutions can play.

  • The Global Initiative for Fiscal Transparency (GIFT) published a series of blog posts to provide ideas for Open Government Partnership countries preparing their National Action Plans. The first post outlines steps countries can take to increase fiscal transparency and public participation; the second uses data from the Open Budget Survey 2015 to examine how open and transparent budgets and budget processes are in OGP countries.
Does the SJC Understand Cape Town’s Budget? You Be the Judge

In an op-ed for Ground Up, IBP’s Albert Van Zyl and Jessica Taylor supported the Social Justice Coalition’s (SJC) analysis of the City of Cape Town’s sanitation budget.


The article prompted a response from Masizole Mnqasela, Chairperson of the Standing Committee on Local Government in the Western Cape Provincial Government, who refuted the analysis but invited the stakeholders to engage in a round table discussion.

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