Learning about the Open Budget Survey 2012

Friday, April 5th, 2013

By Feihu Li

As part of the OpenGov Hub’s March Madness lineup, the International Budget Partnership (IBP) team came over on Wednesday, March 20th to share their findings of the Open Budget Survey 2012 as well as some of the tools they’ve developed and used in the process.

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Elena Mondo, IBP’s Open Budget Survey supervisor, spoke about the 2012 edition of the Survey and its coverage across 100 countries. As the only independent, comparative and regular measure of budget transparency around the world, the Survey measures public access to national budget information and opportunities to participate in the budget process, creating a scorecard named the Open Budget Index (OBI) to evaluate each country's commitment to transparency.

According to the 2012 Survey, the average score among the 100 countries is only 43/100, with over 50% of required budget information still missing. On the scorecard, the OBI listed Bolivia, China, Equatorial Guinea, Myanmar, Qatar and Zambia as the worst performing countries.

In addition to speaking about last year’s Survey results, the IBP team spoke to the general global impact that the Survey has the potential to generate, with the example of one country's score having positively influenced other countries' behavior by encouraging and setting examples for increased budget transparency.

Responding to the doubt about the accuracy or authenticity of the openly-available budget information in some countries, Mondo argued that the Survey focused on the accessibility rather than the quality of each country's published budget data.

Finally, Mondo demonstrated the Survey’s Data Explorer which, using visualization tools, allows one to predict the outcome of the next survey and see where transparency can improve. The Data Explorer was developed in partnership with the Open Knowledge Foundation.