Boosting Fiscal Transparency for Better Policy Outcomes

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December 16, 2013

World Bank’s New Open Budgets Portal Creates Visual Access to Countries’ Budget Data

WASHINGTON, December 16, 2013– The World Bank is launching a new Open Budgets Portal as part of its efforts to advance fiscal transparency and open data around the world. High-quality budget data that can be easily accessed, visually compelling and used by a wide variety of stakeholders is essential to inform the decision making processes around public expenditures, and help citizens know how and where governments are spending their money.

The Portal showcases a subset of countries and state governments that have released their entire public spending datasets and are disseminating them in accessible formats. This information will help evidence-based monitoring, analysis, and advocacy so citizens can hold their governments accountable for more efficient spending and improved services. Access to high quality budget data supports the work of governments, civil society, media and development partners - all of whom can use this data to inform decision making and contribute to ending poverty and promoting the shared prosperity of the most vulnerable people.

“The new Open Budgets Portal is part of the World Bank Group’s contribution in operationalizing the global open data and fiscal transparency agenda that helps accelerate the pace of development. Transparent and open data generate knowledge, which helps us all find the best development solutions together,” said Sanjay Pradhan, Vice President for Change, Knowledge and Learning at the World Bank.

Initially covering 13 countries and state governments, the Portal is the first effort to create a one-stop shop for budget data worldwide - drawn from the World Bank’s BOOST initiative, to bring visibility to countries’ efforts in fiscal transparency, facilitate access and promote use of spending data, and motivate other countries into action. The countries and state governments featured in the Portal include Armenia, Guatemala, Kenya, Kiribati, Minas Gerais (Brazil), Moldova, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Rio Grande do Sul (Brazil), Seychelles, Solomon Islands, and Togo, with more countries to come.

"Presenting budget data in accessible formats is an important step to facilitate our interaction with citizens and promote transparency. The state government participates in the World Bank's Open Budgets Portal, and is committed to a policy of open information, fostering an increase in the availability of datasets of public information and encouraging actions from civil society for their use," said Juliana Foernges, Deputy Head of Ethics, Public Control and Transparency of Civil House from the state government of Rio Grande do Sul.

The portal seeks to improve budget transparency, citizen participation and mechanisms for collaborative action with the help of parliaments, journalists, civil society and the use of technology. The ultimate objective is to make budgets more inclusive, accountable, and responsive to citizens.

“The World Bank’s new Open Budgets Portal will be a great asset to organizations like the Overseas Development Institute as we seek to monitor, analyze and promote good practices. Access to good quality data has the potential to transform how governments work. The challenge now is to better understand how these tools can be used at the local level - by citizens, journalists, civil society and by governments themselves - to strengthen accountability and improve public services,” said Simon Gill, Deputy Director of ODI’s Budget Strengthening Initiative.

On December 17, the World Bank is holding an event titled Boosting Fiscal Transparency for Better Policy Outcomes: World Bank’s New Open Budgets Portal Creates Visual Access to Countries’ Budget Data”, in Washington D.C.  It is organized in partnership with the Overseas Development Institute (ODI). The Open Budgets Portal will be launched at the event, which will include a discussion with experts across the World Bank Group, development partners and client countries about the opportunities around budget transparency availed by tools such as the portal, as well as the challenges that remain to be addressed in this field. 

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