This post was written by Helena Hofbauer, Director of Partnership Development and Innovation at the International Budget Partnership.
As part of International Right to Know Day on 28 September, the Global Movement for Budget Transparency, Accountability, and Participation’s (BTAP)’s Day of Action officially kicked off a flurry of activities across the globe to call on governments to improve their standards and practices related to budget transparency, participation, and accountability. Civil society organizations (CSOs) in more than 40 countries will demand that their governments “Make Budgets Public NOW!” The activity and momentum launched this past Saturday will carry on long after the Day of Action.
The BTAP movement is made up of CSOs with a long history in their country and region of championing the right to know how governments raise and spend money and empowering citizens to demand budget information and shape budget decisions. On the BTAP website, you can read the movement’s unified Declaration of Principles and use the interactive map to check out how the efforts and activities of BTAP’s first global campaign unfold in countries across the world.
Activities planned for the BTAP global campaign include:
- Philippines: trainings on project monitoring by communities in the Metro Naga area and workshops on citizen report cards in Mindanao
- India: civil society has called for a “fortnight of action” during which a national charter of demands for BTAP will be released, with similar charters and events in over 10 states
- Televised debates, roundtables, and public forums, as well as radio talk shows will take place in the Dominican Republic, India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Uganda, and Ukraine, among others
- Budget transparency indices, citizen’s guides to budgets, and budget reports will be published in several countries
- Innovative tools and activities like student debates in Kazakhstan, a hotline for budget information inquiries in Indonesia, and a public petition demanding budget transparency and public hearings in Ukraine
- Kazakhstan: a helium balloon with the Make Budgets Public NOW! logo will fly high in the sky
This campaign — and the entire BTAP movement — is about the power that comes to ordinary people who have access to critical information that they can use to hold government to account. And, when it comes to the challenges that countries face, whether it be maternal mortality, climate change mitigation, hunger, or poverty, there is no more critical information than that on what the government is doing with public money to tackle these issues. This is too important a fight to sit on the sidelines — we all need to demand that governments Make Budgets Public NOW!