When the International Budget Partnership first started in 1997, civil society groups doing budget work across the world were few and sparse. At the first international meetings convened by the IBP in late 1990s, only a handful of groups participated. As interest in this work spread, and as IBP and others started training, supporting and linking up civil society organizations in a growing number of countries who used budget analysis and advocacy as part of their activities, approaches and tools, their number multiplied. Nowadays, so--called ‘budget groups’, or CSOs doing budget work, exist in most countries around the world, and have also grown in capacity, skills and influence. In October 2011, 118 IBP partners from 56 countries signed the Dar Declaration of Principles, a statement on the need to ire mprove budget transparency, participation and accountability across the world, under the banner ‘Make Budgets Public Now!’. The Open Budget Survey has worked with civil society groups in approximately 75 countries to complete the 2008 Open Budget Survey, in approximately 85 countries to complete the 2010 Open Budget Survey, and in approximately 90 countries to complete the 2012 Open Budget Survey. The majority of these groups were involved in multiple rounds of the Survey. These numbers show how the budget movement has grown steadily, and how IBP has had an important role as leader, convener, and supporter.
The IBP focuses on budgets because evidence shows that they are the most powerful tool a government has to meet the needs and priorities of its people, particularly those from poor and disadvantaged communities. We work to make government budget systems more transparent and accountable to the public based on our belief that transparency and accountability can make budgets more responsive to the needs of poor and low--income people. Our belief is supported by a growing body of evidence showing that when ordinary people have access to budget information and the opportunity to participate in the budget process, they can contribute to substantive improvements in governance and service delivery.