The International Budget Partnership is a global partnership of budget analysts, community organizers, and advocates working to advance public budget systems that work for people, not special interests. Together, we generate data, advocate for reform, and build the skills and knowledge of people so that everyone can have a voice in budget decisions that impact their lives.
The public budget is a government’s plan for how it will use public money to provide everyday services to people—from clean water to schools to transportation. It is a powerful tool that, if spent wisely, can allow communities and individuals to thrive. When you have an open budget process in which people have a seat at the table to shape these plans and can hold governments accountable to them—public money is better spent on public needs, which in turn builds public trust.
How We Do It
We work hand-in-hand with partners in 120 countries—from think tanks to fisherfolk unions— to ensure everyone can understand, have a voice in, and track how public money is raised and spent. We collaborate on research, broker alliances with government reformers and oversight watchdogs, and take action to hold governments accountable to serving the interests of all their people.
SPARK represents a bold new approach to budget advocacy, working directly with poor and marginalized communities to bolster their capacity to navigate public fiscal systems—and as a result, hold government accountable for more effective public services to those communities. In seven countries, we work hand-in-hand with community groups and movements and link them with budget groups and actors to address them.
Open Budget Initiative
While continuing to produce the Open Budget Survey (OBS) – the world’s only independent, comparative and fact-based research instrument to measure governance and accountability – we will explore ways to adapt the survey to more actively encourage and track public participation mechanisms. Additionally, we will learn how to increase the potency of the survey as a tool for civil society to promote transparent and accountable governance.
Building the Field
At the core of IBP’s vision is the growth of civic organizations that specialize in budget analysis and advocacy. We will deepen the quality of budget work among network partners through the consolidation of “cornerstone organizations” – those key partners we already work with extensively. Additionally, we will strengthen our learning network and associated partners as a whole.
Many developing countries face pressure to raise additional domestic revenues to fund development, but civil society rarely has a place at the table when tax policy is discussed. We support civil society capacity for tax policy analysis and advocacy for in-country tax work to meet critical development goals and counter the influence of those more concerned with tax subsidies and lower tax rates.
Vision & Mission
IBP believes in a world where:
- Citizens claim the right to understand and influence how public money is raised and spent.
- Public budget processes include space for meaningful engagement of poor and marginalized communities.
- The public budget is an expression of societal values aimed at reducing poverty and inequality.
IBP will work to promote inclusive sustainable development that promote equity and justice:
- Active and empowered citizens influence public budget processes and policymaking that affects their lives.
- Governments and other actors provide transparent budget information and opportunities for citizens to engage meaningfully in the budget process.
- Government budget policies are based on fair taxation and targeted at effective service delivery and equitable distribution of public resources.
Transparency and Accountability
Governments are the stewards, not the owners, of public funds — including those that are derived from natural resources and foreign assistance. Thus, we believe that they are obliged to strive for the highest standards of transparency and must be held accountable for their actions by the people who pay their salaries. Likewise, we hold ourselves accountable to our partners, donors and other stakeholders, and deliver on our commitments in a transparent manner.
Competition and rivalry, either internal or external, undermine creative solutions to the problems that we are working to address. To fulfill our mission, we need to engage with a broad range of external actors, while fostering collaboration among IBP staff, all of which requires flexibility. We approach all of our engagements with partners and other stakeholders — as well as with each other — respectfully, working with them as peers to achieve our goals. We value the voices of our partners, provide spaces for them to be heard, and strive to promote their voices and messages at every available opportunity. We see ourselves as consensus builders who are strong but reasonable, and passionate yet humble.
Integrity and Ethical Behavior
Consistent with our demand that governments be open, honest and accountable to their citizens, we embrace openness and honesty in all aspects of our work. We strive to ensure that the ways in which we work and the kinds of work that we engage in are consistent with our mission, goals, and values. Since our ultimate goals are to improve governance and reduce poverty, value for money and environmental sustainability are critical to our integrity. Thus, we are committed to using our financial resources wisely and prudently for activities that generate value and impact, as well as being mindful of the environmental impact of our operations.
We are committed to professionalism and hard work, and we have a passion for getting the work done and achieving our goals. We hold our work to the highest standards, by drawing on the expertise of our staff, partners, and others, as well as the latest research and good practice in the field. We encourage continuous learning among both our partners and our staff so that they can develop their knowledge and skills, grow professionally, and excel in their work.
Democracy and Human Rights
For us, this means that all people have the right to participate in public decision-making processes that affect their lives and to access the information that empowers them to participate meaningfully. Critical to democracy is active citizenship, which envisions citizens who are empowered both individually and collectively to advocate for change. Since rights are universal, we embrace diversity by working across a wide range of countries with different cultures and contexts. Our commitment to diversity is also reflected in the composition of our staff. The diverse backgrounds and points of view of our staff enrich our organization and our work. These values drive us to focus on strategies that we believe will improve the lives of all people, particularly the poor and marginalized.
While we always seek ways to build bridges and establish connections, these bridges and connections are not made at the expense of our independence. Our strategies and our advocacy are evidence-based, and the strength of our work derives from independent, uncompromised research as well as thoughtful analysis.
We strive to cultivate an environment of learning within IBP to ensure that it is an effective organization. To this end, we document our work and its impact, provide spaces to critically evaluate our efforts, and regularly integrate those lessons into our strategies and operations. We endeavor to understand and document our successes and failures and use both as opportunities to learn about ourselves and our work.
We take the problems that we are tackling seriously, but this seriousness does not equal a lack of hope. We believe that we can make a difference in the way that governments operate, and ultimately, in people’s lives, by working for budget transparency, participation, and accountability. We believe that there is room to enjoy the relationships that we develop through our work and to approach challenges with a positive attitude. Optimism, joy, and a sense of humor are important creative forces that allow us to continue pushing for change.