The past two decades have seen growing interest in promoting public access to government budget information and accountable budgeting systems. This interest reflects the understanding that public access to information on government budgets and financial activities is essential to ensuring that governments are accountable to their citizens. Timely access to such information enables citizens to participate in, and understand, policy decisions that have profound impacts on their daily lives. Against this background, the International Budget Project (IBP) has worked over the past two years with civil society and academic partners in 59 countries to collect a comparative data set on public access to budget information at the central government level. The Open Budget Index provides a comparative snapshot of information available to the public in each of the 59 countries. In addition to transparency issues, it looked at the alarming institutional weaknesses in national audit offices, and lack of vigorous legislative engagement in budget issues. Pamela Gomez discussed the background, methodology, and results of the Open Budget Index and place it in the context of other efforts to measure governance reform.
Pamela Gomez is project leader for the Open Budget Initiative. Gomez previously worked as the Caucasus office director for Human Rights Watch, based in the former Soviet republic of Georgia. Prior to this, she prepared country reports on the Caucasus for the Economist Intelligence Unit and covered international financial markets at AP-Dow Jones in New York. Gomez holds a B.A. in economics from Barnard College and a Masters in international affairs from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, where she specialized in international economics and Latin American studies.