Latin American Budget Transparency Scorecard: First Full Meeting in Rio de Janeiro

The Brazilian Institute for Social and Economic Analysis (IBASE) located in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, hosted thirteen attendees for the first regional meeting from 2-4 May to discuss the development of a budget transparency scorecard that will evaluate the level of transparency in the budget process in five Latin American countries: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, and Peru.

The first day the participants reviewed the content of the two preliminary studies that have been prepared as building blocks to the forthcoming scorecard. The first study includes all the legal or formal conditions of transparency in the budget process common to the five countries. The second study identifies a series of variables to be addressed in the survey.  These were determined by looking at three criteria of transparency in the different phases of the budget process. The second and third days were oriented toward the assessment of criteria to define the social actors or budget experts within academia, government, NGOs and the media, and to discuss the objective and statistical content of the electronic survey questions from which results will be codified and evaluated.The groups involved in this project are the Lincoln University College in Argentina; IBASE in Brazil; the Department of Economics at the University of Chile; the Center for Teaching and Research (CIDE), Fundar (Center for Analysis and Information), and Gender Equity in Mexico; and the Research Center of the Universidad del Pacífico in Peru. Other attendees were representing the Ford Foundation in Mexico — which is the sponsor institution for this project — and the International Budget Partnership in Washington, D.C.

The scorecard will compile information offered by experts. However, the main focus is on the practical use and dissemination of the obtained information to a broader audience than budget experts; this should spread a greater knowledge on this topic, promote accountability, and facilitate comparative analysis. The goal is to complete this effort by mid-November with an international dissemination campaign to announce the findings and comparative analysis.



Workshop on Gender Sensitive Participatory Budgeting in Quito, Ecuador

The United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) hosted a workshop on gender sensitive budget analysis in Quito, Ecuador from March 12-16. Debbie Bundlender, who helped develop the South African Women’s Budget and Helena Hofbauer, who also works on gender budget analysis at Fundar in Mexico, led the hands-on training. Most of the 32 participants were from the Andean Region of South America (representing both government and civil society) and were there to learn and develop their own projects. The training also included a few participants from other Latin American regions, including Brazil, Chile, and Uruguay. The workshop drew on the diverse experiences of the thirty-two participants, either with budget analysis, city management, gender and participatory advocacy.

Helena and Debbie began the workshop by discussing their experiences with gender budget analysis, and drew on lessons learned from other country experiences as well. The second day of the workshop focused on the different frameworks or methodologies that are used to look at budgets in a gender sensitive way. During the third day, participants drew on a South African case to discuss the intersection between budget analysis and rights. Then participants discussed the potential for the intersection between gender analysis and participative municipal budgeting. In recent years, Latin American cities have experimented with participatory budget practices, and presenters from Brazil, Chile, and Ecuador elaborated on the opportunities and challenges they have faced. Before departing, participants developed their own agenda for moving forward with gender budget analysis in their home countries.



World Bank Meeting: Voices and Choices at a Macro Level: Participation in Country-Owned Poverty Reduction Strategies

On April 3-5 the Participation Group at the World Bank held an important workshop on “Voices and Choices at a Macro Level: Participation in Country-Owned Poverty Reduction Strategies.” The workshop, attended by 157 people (many of whom were from civil society) from two dozen countries, consisted of four building blocks, one of which was participation in public expenditure management decisions. The high profile given to NGO budget work is perhaps a first at such a large-scale World Bank event.

Many of our colleagues gave presentations, including representatives from DISHA and the Public Affairs Center in India, the Institute for Democracy in South Africa, and the Uganda Debt Network. An overview presentation of NGO budget work by Daniel Songco of the Philippines specifically highlighted the work of the IBP and the groups with which we have had contact. The workshop agenda can be found here. This web site address will soon contain all the papers presented at the workshop, many of which should be of interest.



New Papers on the IBP Website Library

The OECD Journal on Budgeting
By Geert van Maanen, Peter Boxall, Naoki Edahiro, Gerd Ehlers, Richard Emery, Eva Lindstrom, Sophie Mahieux, Peter Saurer
The OECD Journal on Budgeting offers a resource for policy-makers, officials and researchers in public sector budgeting. It also provides an insight on leading-edge institutional arrangements, systems and instruments for the effective and efficient allocation and management of resources in the public sector.

Budget Institutions and Fiscal Performance in Latin America
By Alberto Alesina, Ricardo Hausmann, Rudolf Hommes, and Ernesto H. Stein
Inter-American Development Bank
Information on Latinamerican budget institutions with examples of transparent procedures related to fiscal discipline.

Institutional Arrangements and Fiscal Performance: The Latin American Experience
By Alejandro Grisanti, Ernesto Stein, and Ernesto Talvi/Inter-American Development Bank
Links between institutional arrangements and fiscal performance in Latin America. The size of the public sector, public debt, and fiscal deficits are taken into account.

Fiscal Decentralization and Government Size in Latin America
By Ernesto H. Stein/Inter-American Development Bank
This paper analyzes the possible effects of decentralization on fiscal performance.

Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers
By HIPC governments. Edited by the World Bank and International Monetary Fund
A list of Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs)
Includes useful information on some of the most heavily indebted countries.

Out of Poverty: On the Feasibility of Halving Global Poverty by 2015
By David E. Bloom, David Cunning, Bryan Graham, Jaypee Seville/Harvard Institute for International Development
In this paper the authors explore the difficulties in meeting the poverty reduction targets for year 2015 set by the Development Assistance Committee of the OECD.

Does Economic Growth Reduce Poverty?
By Michael Roemer and Mary Kay Gugerty
The study examines whether economic growth tends to reduce poverty. The results give strong support to the proposition that growth in per capita GDP is a powerful force in reducing poverty.

A Foresight and Policy Study of the Multilateral Development Banks
By Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Sweden and the Institute of Development Studies, Sussex
This report looks at the current pressures on the Multilateral Development Banks to reform and re-target their operations. It reviews the possible roles for MDBs, their relationship to bilateral and UN agencies, and offers recommendations on future activities.