Government can best promote development and reduce poverty when public resources are raised, allocated, and spent equitably and effectively. This is far more likely to happen when government budgets are transparent, and when the public can provide input into the budget process, from the formulation to the implementation phase. This hypothesis is supported by a growing body of evidence that shows that when ordinary people have access to budget information, coupled with opportunities to participate in the budget process, they can contribute to substantive improvements in governance and service delivery. Some of this evidence is documented in case studies available at http://internationalbudget.org/library/publications/ibp‐impact‐case‐studies/.
While improvements in transparency must occur at the country level, the IBP understands that a global consensus about the value of transparency and public participation, as well as agreement about a set of good practices, can both serve as crucial forms of leverage for encouraging governments to increase the openness of their budgets. This is what we mean by international norms: a consensus about principles of transparency and participation and specific, universal expectations related to the budget process.