The Open Budget Survey is the world’s only comparative, independent, and regular assessment of transparency, oversight and participation in national budgets in 120 countries.
As is the case in every round, the 2021 survey represents the collective work of our global network of researchers in each country. This round, however, we did something different. We leaned into partnership and worked hand-in-hand with a select group of partners to co-author our global report and eight regional reports. This new approach has allowed us to benefit from the rich insights of our global partners and present key recommendations to spur action at the global, regional and country level.
The 2021 survey comes at a time when accountable and inclusive public budgets are more urgent than ever. The pandemic has led to the first rise in global extreme poverty in a generation, inequality is soaring and democracy is backsliding. The wealthy have become wealthier, while the excluded, especially women and marginalized communities are bearing the brunt of the fallout. Governments need to open up to public dialogue around how best to manage scarce public resources if we are to meet these challenges. Inclusion can yield democratic and development dividends in this time of great need and great disruption. If there is one common theme in this latest Open Budget Survey, it is that reform is possible anywhere.
Over the last 13 years, we have documented steady gains in global transparency. The average transparency score in the survey has increased more by than 20 percent since 2008.