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You are here: Home News 2018 Progress Toward Global Budget Transparency Stalls for the First Time in a Decade

Progress Toward Global Budget Transparency Stalls for the First Time in a Decade

Publicado em Feb 08, 2018 04:25 PM

Open Budget Survey 2017 shows 89 out of 115 countries fail to make sufficient budget information publicly available; International Budget Partnership says this failure undermines the ability of citizens worldwide to hold their government to account for managing public fund.

Many governments around the world are making less information available about how they raise and spend public money, according to the results of the Open Budget Survey 2017. After 10 years of steady progress by countries, the 2017 survey shows a modest decline in average global budget transparency scores, from 45 in 2015 to 43 in 2017 for the 102 countries that were surveyed in both rounds (scores are out of a possible 100). This is in stark contrast to the average increase of roughly two points documented among comparable countries in each round of the survey between 2008 and 2015. The reversal of transparency gains is particularly discouraging given roughly three-quarters of the countries assessed do not publish sufficient budget information (a score of 61 or higher), seriously undermining the ability of citizens worldwide to hold their government accountable for using public funds efficiently and effectively.

Launched in 2006, the Open Budget Survey (OBS) is the world’s only independent, comparative assessment of the three pillars of public budget accountability: transparency, oversight and public participation. The sixth round of this biennial assessment, the 2017 survey evaluated 115 countries across six continents, adding 13 new countries to the survey since the last round in 2015.

<<< SEE THE BRAZIL OPEN BUDGET SURVEY RESULTS HERE >>>

 

Budget Transparency

The Open Budget Survey assesses budget transparency based on the amount and timeliness of budget information governments are making publicly available. Each country is given a score between 0 and 100 that determines its ranking on the Open Budget Index.

In addition to the 2017 survey showing a modest decline in average global budget transparency scores, other transparency findings show:

  • Declines in budget transparency were most dramatic in Sub-Saharan Africa, where the average budget transparency scores fell by 11 points between 2015 and 2017.
  • Other regions experienced small increases or small declines in their scores, with the exception of Asia, where the average score rose more substantially.
  • A number of countries have experienced significant gains in transparency since they were first included in the survey, including Georgia, Jordan, Mexico and Senegal.

Although overall global transparency has declined from 2015, the level of transparency in 2017 remains well above where it was a decade ago.  In addition, while the number of publicly available budget documents decreased in this round of the survey compared to 2015, those documents that are published contain slightly more information now than they did in previous years.

Transparency scores in this round of the survey show that any government, irrespective of region or culture, can become more transparent. The vast majority of countries could quickly improve transparency by making documents they already produce publicly available.

Public Participation in the Budget Process

The Open Budget Survey’s participation measure assesses the opportunities governments are providing to civil society and the public to engage in decisions about how public resources are raised and spent. The 2017 survey revealed that most countries fail to provide meaningful opportunities for the public to participate in the budget process — both to inform decisions about how government raises and allocates funds and to hold government accountable for implementing those decisions. For example:

  • Not a single country out of the 115 surveyed offered participation opportunities that are considered adequate (a score of 61 or higher). The average global score is just 12 out of 100, with 111 countries having weak scores (lower than 41).
  • Without opportunities for citizens’ active participation — particularly citizens from marginalized or vulnerable groups — budget systems may only serve the interests of powerful elites.

For more on public participation, see the Open Budget Survey 2017 results by country here, or download the Open Budget Survey 2017 Global Report here.

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