Press Release

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GLOBAL MOVEMENT LAUNCHES INTERNATIONAL CAMPAIGN TO DEMAND OPEN AND INCLUSIVE BUDGETS

Tunis, March 25th – The Global Movement for Budget Transparency, Accountability and Participation (BTAP) launched the Make Budgets Public Now! Campaign at the World Social Forum. The Campaign seeks to advance budget transparency, accountability and participation in countries that have the least transparent budget processes, which reduces dramatically citizens’ possibilities to participate and engage in decision-making processes that have a direct impact on their lives.

For this reason, the campaign will focus on ensuring that all governments:

 

  1. Publish the budget proposal that is discussed by the Legislature, which allows citizens to know how their government will spend their money.
  2. Publish an independent audit report, a document that evaluates a government’s performance.
  3. Allow public hearings during the budget debate in the legislature where citizenscan provide input on their needs and preferences on how to spend their resources.
  4. Publish a citizen’s budget, a document which provides key information of the budget so that every citizen can understand how their money will be spent.

 

These key documents are essential for citizens and civil society seeking to understand and participate in the national budget process, as the information provided in these reports strengthens oversight mechanisms. Therefore, they offer the opportunity to influence budget allocations before these are actually approved.

 

Despite substantial improvements in budget openness during the last decade, progress has been unequal among countries. According to the International Budget Partnership’s Open Budget Index 2012, 77 countries -home to half the world’s population– fail to meet basic standards of budget transparency. Transparent and inclusive budgets are essential tools for combating corruption, reducing inefficiencies in public spending and improving aid allocation.

BTAP is convinced that participation in the decisions related to public budgets is a fundamental right and responsibility of all citizens. In addition, citizen participation is useful to improve the decision-making process and management of public assets.

This three-dimension campaign (national, regional and international) will demand that governments respect citizens’ right to information and participation in budget process. National campaigns will be launched in Vietnam, Kyrgyz Republic, Fiji Islands, El Salvador and Tunisia, as they are low-score evaluated countries according to the 2012 Open Budget Index. As an example, with a score of 6 out of 100, Fiji got a lower score than China’s 11 and well below the score of his New Zealand neighbor’s 93.

Through the implementation of a multi-layered set of activities and advocacy demands concerning the publication of budget key documents and the opportunity of citizens to express their interests and views through public hearings, the campaign seeks to make sure that these countries meet the most basic standards for open budgeting and citizen participation is allowed.

For more information, please contact:

Rocio Moreno – Global BTAP Coordinator – rocio@globalbtap.org