Pro PALOP-TL SAI project : Advancing gender responsive budgeting in Portuguese speaking African countries and Timor Leste

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As a gateway for the allocation of public resources, the budget process determines the quality of public policy. Gender-responsive budgeting (GRB) systematically integrates a gender perspective into the budget process. It may therefore serve to monitor the implementation of a government's commitment to gender equality.
 
Recognizing the importance of strengthening the skills of MPs, parliamentary staff, civil society organizations, among other key actors to analyse national budgets from a gender perspective, the Pro PALOP-TL SAI project counts with the support of budget experts who conduct trainings in all Portuguese speaking African countries (Angola, Cabo Verde, Mozambique, Guinea Bissau, São Tomé and Príncipe) and Timor Leste. 
 
The Pro PALOP-TL SAI project, based upon a gender responsive budgeting and planning framework developed by UNDP, designed a standardised approach and methodology on gender responsive budgeting which is used across the project countries and adapted to the social, political and economic realities of each country. This ground-breaking methodology allowed not only the training of Women caucus, MPS and parliamentary staff, but also the achievement of success stories in the implementation of gender indicators in state budgets. 
 
Case study: Gender responsive budgeting in Cabo Verde (state budget 2015)
In Cabo Verde, considering the critical role of Parliament to approve the state budget and oversee its implementation, as well as the impact of such process in gender targets and milestones, Pro PALOP TL-SAI works in close collaboration with the Network of Women Parliamentarians (RMP-CV), in partnership with UN Women. As a network of parliamentarians, RMP-CV has an informal status and a different structure than a parliamentary committee. However, as a cross-party group, it has a considerable influence in the parliamentary space with a strong expertise and advocacy power when in the area of gender equality. 
 
For this reason, a senior budget expert provided by the Pro PALOP-TL SAI project and UN Women had a key role in strengthening the capacity of RMP-CV and Parliament to develop an efficient, standardised approach to monitor and evaluate the budget from the gender perspective. The Advisor developed trainings for women MPs on gender-responsive budgeting, to boost their skills to scrutinise the proposed and actual expenditure.
 
Thanks to these trainings, the network of Women Parliamentarians was better equipped to advocate for measures addressing gender equality in healthcare programmes, during the 2015 Executive’s Budget Proposal discussions. In addition, the network was better prepared to make a case for the allocation of funds to building the capacity of the Institute for Gender Equality and Gender Equity (ICIEG) - the executive body to elaborate and promote gender equality policies and national strategies, in Cabo Verde. As a result, a particular success of the network after the 2015 State Budget debate was the fact the executive set-up of an implementation framework, including measures and steps to compensate the victims of Gender Based Violence, four years after the approval of the Gender Based Violence Law by the Parliament. 
 
Cross-ministerial workshop on gender responsive budgeting in Cabo Verde (state budget 2018)
This week, upon invitation of the Minister of Finance of Cabo Verde, Dr Olavo Correia, the Pro PALOP- TL SAI project is organizing inter-ministerial workshops with the aim to include gender responsive budgeting in the 2018 state budget. The project budget specialists have been collaborating with the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Defense.
 
Inter-ministerial efforts allow the development a common understanding of the GRB process, beginning with policy formulation and leading to tangible outcomes for women’s empowerment. It also enables that the adequate resources are allocated by concerned ministries for effective mainstreaming of gender equitable interventions into key programmes and activities. 
 
*Pro PALOP-TL SAI is a UNDP project implemented in partnership with the European Union. The project is fully funded by the European Union. The project aims to support and strengthen the capacities of supreme audit institutions, parliaments and civil society for the external control of public finances in the ACP Portuguese Speaking Countries (PALOP and Timor-Leste).