New e-Learning Course: Sustainable Development Goals and National Budgets

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AGORA has launched a new e-learning course exploring how budget oversight is a precondition for making Sustainable Development Goals a reality. The course has been developed in collaboration with the Project for strengthening technical and functional skills of Supreme Audit Institutions, National Parliaments and Civil Society for the control of public finances in the PALOP and Timor-Leste (Pro PALOP-TL SAI). The project is fully funded by the European Union and managed directly by the UNDP. The course is available at the AGORA eLearning portal.
 
Effective Public Financial Management (PFM) systems are crucial for the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Agenda 2030. Greater budget transparency, oversight, and accountability significantly improve sustainable development outcomes. 
 
Countries can only successfully advance along the Agenda 2030 path when their resources are used efficiently. For national budgets to be effective, those making decisions and those implementing them must have as much information as possible, and must be held accountable for the decisions they take and the work they deliver. Actors involved in national budget oversight, including parliament and supreme audit institutions (SAIs) and civil society, can help ensure greater transparency and accountability of development budgets. 
 
Goal 16, which is the focus of this course, affirms that peaceful, just and inclusive societies, based on respect for human rights, the rule of law and effective and accountable institutions, and addressing factors such as corruption and poor governance, are a prerequisite for sustainable development. The Goal comes with an understanding that greater budget transparency, stronger oversight and accountability all underpin peaceful and just societies. They can contribute significantly to better development outcomes. Parliamentarians are natural partners in bringing accountable, inclusive, participatory and transparent sustainable development for all.
 
The course
What will you learn? This course looks at how parliaments in cooperation with SAIs and civil society organisations can strengthen their capacities to deliver more inclusive, accountable and open budgets for the implementation of the SDGs. More specifically, when held accountable, governments plan and spend more effectively to meet the SDGs in a way that reflects the needs of citizens. 
 
Why? By promoting stronger and more effective institutions, budget oversight is key to making Goal 16 happen. Transparent budgets, delivered by accountable institutions through participatory processes, can identify and address the most strategic spending needs which leave no one behind. 
 
Who? This course is especially relevant for members of parliaments and staff, supreme audit institutions and civil society but is also a valuable resource for development partners, practitioners and academics.
 
How? The course will explore how parliamentary committees coordinating the budget oversight can engage in the planning and oversight of sectoral budgets before a dedicated committee reviews the final annual budget or oversees its implementation. The first part explores the expenditure side of the budget. Module 2 looks at tools at committees’ disposal which can be used to engage with citizens and other stakeholders to influence, monitor, and learn from the process. Module 3 looks at how parliaments in collaboration with stakeholders, civil society and audit institutions can mainstream the cross-cutting theme of gender equality in the budget process. The final module examines the revenue angle, that is, parliament’s role in overseeing the mobilisation of domestic resources to finance the implementation of the Goals. In addition, modules are followed by case studies featuring Pro PALOP-TL SAI’s work. 
 
To support the learning process, this course uses animations, video presentations and interactive review points. For those looking to specialize further, additional resources, including reading materials, knowledge platforms and online tools, are available. 
 
Getting certified:
At the end of the course, you may choose to take the test. The test consists of 15 multiple choice and true/false questions. To obtain your personalized certificate, you must answer correctly to minimum 80% of the questions.
 
Don't worry if you don't pass on the first go; you can take the test multiple times.
 
Questions?
For questions and comments, please contact the AGORA support service at elearning@agora-parl.org.