Library – Publication
Sanjeev Khagram, Archon Fung, Paolo de RenzioThis is the first chapter of the edited volume Open Budgets: The Political Economy of Transparency, Participation, and Accountability. This chapter provides an overview and synthesis of the book's main findings.
Foreign Assistance and Fiscal Transparency: The Impact of the Open Budget Initiative on Donor Policies and Practices
Linnea MillsThis paper presents research that sought to document how, when, and why three donor agencies — the U.S. Department of State, the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), and the U.K. Department for International Development (DFID) — have adopted the Open Budget Index in language and practice; assesses the contributions of the Open Budget Initiative and its partners to achieving these apparent advocacy successes; and analyzes other factors that may have influenced the decision of these three donors to use the language and methodology advocated by the Open Budget Initiative. In conclusion, the analysis of the three donor case studies covered in this report shows that the advocacy efforts by the Open Budget Initiative have had varied impact in changing policy debates and guidelines.
The Impact of the International Budget Partnership’s Open Budget Survey and its Partner Institutions’ Advocacy on Budget Transparency in Honduras
Hugo Noe PinoThis case study looks at how the preparation and publication of the Open Budget Survey 2010 in Honduras increased awareness of Honduras’ budget transparency problems. The increased attention given to these issues brought together local civil society organizations, the International Budget Partnership, the Millennium Challenge Corporation, and the government of Honduras to make progress on budget transparency. Also, the IBP’s technical assistance to the government of Honduras played an important role in the recent publication of budget documents, which combined with a strong government will have provided the basis for public finance management reforms. Although the main incentive for the government to improve its budget transparency was initially to increase foreign aid contributions, citizen-led efforts to demand reform are growing.
Nematullah BizhanThis case study discusses major improvements in government budget transparency and public engagement in Afghanistan, presenting an analysis of the roles of the following actors in the trend toward more open budgeting: 1) the International Budget Partnership, foreign donors, civil society organizations, and the media; 2) the government; and 3) the legislature. This paper argues that by increasing its OBI score from 8 in 2008 to 21 in 2010, Afghanistan has made important progress, though it still remains below average. But donors, CSOs, and to some extent the media are putting increasing pressure on the government to improve its Public Financial Management system. A pragmatic and holistic approach that includes a legal and institutional framework will be required for budget transparency to become an instrument for confidence building in the Afghan state.
The Impact of the Open Budget Initiative Secretariat and its Partners on Budget Transparency in the Democratic Republic of Congo
Claire Schouten, Jean-Pierre Samolia MonamotoThis case study analyzes the role of civil society in the reform of public finances, budget transparency, and public participation in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). With pressure from IBP’s partner, the Réseau Gouvernance Economique et Démocratie (REGED), the government of DRC took several new steps to improve government transparency. For the first time, it published a range of budget documents, including the Executive’s Budget Proposal and budget timetable, and also included transparency provisions in several new public finance laws and regulations. This case study will describe the events that led to the new provisions for transparency and will also analyze the strengths and weaknesses of the strategy used to pursue these goals. The one page summary and full version of this case study are available in English.
Formed in 2008, the Social Justice Coalition (SJC) is a coalition of civil society organisations in the informal settlement of Khayelitsha in Cape Town, South Africa. In response to reports from residents about the inadequate and unsafe conditions of sanitation facilities in the settlement, the SJC therefore launched the Clean and Safe Sanitation Campaign in 2010. The campaign aimed to ensure that the City Council properly maintained existing toilets and also provided additional clean and safe sanitation facilities in informal settlements. SJC’s campaign had several concrete achievements, such as the City's introduction of a janitorial service for regular maintenance of flush toilets and standpipes. To achieve these gains, SJS relied on a multifaceted approach including extensive research, a legal strategy, media publicity targeting both poor and wealthy communities, protest, and some budget work.
The Legal Resources Centre (LRC) is a South African nonprofit human rights organisation that conducts public interest litigation. In response to the South African government’s delays to remove mud schools in the Eastern Cape Province, LRC took the government to court in August 2010. As a result of the mounting legal pressures, in January 2011 the Eastern Cape Department of Education signed an agreement with LRC. According to the agreement, the national government would introduce a new three-year grant to address infrastructure backlogs, of which Eastern Cape would receive 78 percent of the total. In the interim, the provincial education department would provide temporary structures and furniture for the seven schools that joined the court case. Progress in implementing these agreements has been slow, but the LRC continues to apply pressure and monitor progress.
The Role of Brazilian Civil Society in the Tax Reform Debate: INESC’s Tax Campaign for Social Justice
When the Brazilian government sent a new tax reform proposal to Congress in 2008 that would exacerbate the already high level of economic inequality, the Institute for Socioeconomic Studies (INESC) came together with other leading civil society organizations to form the Movement to Defend Social Rights under Threat by Tax Reform (MSDR). The coalition was united in advocating for fairer taxes on incomes and assets and protecting funding for social programs for the poor. INESC and MSDR worked with the government and parliament, participated in public hearings, and produced several technical analyses which, in combination with a number of external factors, contributed to the tax reform being abandoned.
Ghana: Budget Monitoring by SEND-Ghana and its Partners Helps Improve Nutrition for Children and Support Local Farmers
Between 2007 and 2010, the Social Enterprise Development (SEND-Ghana) Foundation, one of the IBP’s partners, monitored the performance of the Ghana School Feeding Programme (GSFP, a government program that integrates social protection interventions), engaging with 50 district assemblies, 50 focal civil society organizations (CSOs), and 50 District Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC)/Citizens Monitoring Committees (DCMC) in seven regions across the country. SEND-Ghana used information from this monitoring exercise to promote improvements in the program with district assemblies and officials from collaborating ministries, departments, and agencies directly at the national, regional, and district levels, but also indirectly through the media.
Freeing Funds to Meet Priorities and Needs: Sikika’s Campaign to Curb Unnecessary Expenditure in Tanzania
In 2008 the Tanzanian Prime Minister, Mizengo Pinda, ordered government ministries to reduce unnecessary expenditure on workshops, allowances, seminars, and luxury vehicles. While populist commitments by leaders are not unusual in Tanzania, this particular one seemed to be a direct response to Sikika's media and advocacy campaign. This case study shows that a focus on media outreach and raising public awareness may not be enough to bring about changes in contexts where budget allocation processes are closed and there are strong internal pressures to maintain the widespread patronage and rents that can be drawn from recurrent expenditures in the budget. While Sikika has played a important role in ensuring that the Prime Minister's commitments and the issue of unnecessary expenditure remains in the public eye, this case study also suggests that more persistent issues may require an approach that integrates analysis with targeted advocacy of key decision-makers and public mobilization.