Monday, October 30, 2006

The International Budget Project

From The Economist print edition, October 26th 2006

Go to the project website.

I think knowledge of government budgets and expenditures is especially important for development. If it is not publicly available, corruption seems unavoidable. If it is publicly available, then it can be analyzed, and there can be debate on the best way to use government resources. That is why I like this project so much. Check out a couple of its products:

The Open Budget Index 2006
This index has been used to rate 59 countries on how open their budget books are to their citizens. It is intended to provide citizens, legislators, and civil society advocates with the comprehensive and practical information needed to gauge a government’s commitment to budget transparency and accountability. Armed with this kind of information, lenders, development advocates, and aid organizations can identify meaningful budget reforms needed in specific countries to combat corruption and strengthen basic services to improve people's lives. It was unveiled October 18, 2006 by the Open Budget Initiative of the International Budget Project.

Impact of Civil Society Budget Work: Case Studies on Brazil, Croatia, India, Mexico, South Africa, and Uganda
The International Budget Project (IBP) and the Institute for Development Studies (IDS) at the University of Sussex have produced in-depth case studies of six established budget groups. The objective of the exercise was to learn specifically about the impact of sustained budget work on good governance and poverty reduction. The independent budget organizations in Brazil, Croatia, India, Mexico, South Africa and Uganda that were studied have been engaged in budget analysis and budget advocacy for a period of 5-10 years. Methods included interviews with politicians, government officials and representatives of civil society organizations; focus group discussions; analysis of laws and procedures governing budget transparency; analysis of secondary documentation and media reports; and field visits. The authors conclude that the "case study groups’ media and dissemination work, together with training and capacity building, have considerably expanded budget literacy and the engagement of parts of civil society, the media and the legislature in the budget process."

No comments: