Gender Equality is a universal principle and a global commitment recognized in the main international human rights instruments, applicable to States and their citizens, as well as in international relations.
Gender equality is fundamental for economic and social development and democratic governance at all levels: political, economic and social. Sustainable development can only be achieved if there is equal respect for the human rights of women and men, equal access to education, health, housing, employment, equality before the law, respect for their physical integrity, freedom of expression, movement and political participation, among others. Thus, gender inequality has been recognized as a factor in perpetuating underdevelopment and poverty.
At the international level, this commitment is reflected in various agreements and legal instruments such as the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), the Beijing Platform for Action and recently adopted Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including Goal 5, which aims to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. At the regional level, the African Union reaffirms in its Constitutive Act the principle of promoting equality between women and men. The Southern African Development Community (SADC) adopted the Declaration and Protocol on Gender and Development. The implementation of these commitments requires a set of specific policies and interventions, as well as cross-cutting measures, covering issues and issues in various economic, political and social spheres, requiring the engagement of all actors.
Gender-responsive budgeting is not about creating separate budgets for women, or solely increasing spending on women’s programs. Rather, gender-responsive budgeting seeks to ensure that the collection and allocation of public resources is carried out in ways that are effective and contribute to advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment. It should be based on in-depth analysis that identifies effective interventions for implementing policies and laws that advance women’s rights. It provides tools to assess the different needs and contributions of men and women, and boys and girls within the existing revenues, expenditures and allocations and calls for adjusting budget policies to benefit all groups.
Gender-sensitive national planning and budgeting contribute to the advancement of gender equality and the effective implementation of women's rights. Gender Responsive Budgeting involves identifying and reflecting on the need to fill gender gaps in the policies, plans and budgets of sectoral and local governments. This process considers the intervention of different actors in different stages, from the conceptualization of the policies to the evaluation, through the design of the program, development of plans and budgets, design of the implementation methodology, etc.
Parliaments are at the heart of change so that budgeting becomes gender sensitive. Since 2014, Pro PALOP-TL SAI has been organizing several trainings to strengthen capacity building skills, provide technical assistance, counseling and South-South cooperation actions, in particular to Women Parliamentary Groups in PALOP and East Timor.
Pro PALOP-TL SAI GRB model is an integrated model, which follows the recommendations of the Fifth World Conference on Women: Equality, Development and Peace held in 1995 by the United Nations in Beijing.
Throughout 2017, the project strengthened and consolidated its support in the area of GRB by undertaking various initiatives that took place in PALOP and Timor-Leste. In order to strengthen this area, the project has included Senior Gender Specialist and Budgetary Inspector, Raquel Coello Cremades, and the Junior Specialist, Graça Sanches.
Pro PALOP-TL SAI intervention in the area of Gender-Responsive Budgeting had as its main objective to contribute to the development of effective budgets for gender mainstreaming, and the implementation of public accounts monitoring and evaluation systems, respecting the context and the priorities of each of these countries.
The experts were present in PALOP and Timor-Leste aiming to strengthen key actors’ skills to analyse and monitor public expenditure with a focus on gender, based upon the Model defined by the Pro-PALOP-TL SAI. These actions addressed the networks of women parliamentarians, parliamentary committees, civil society organizations (CSOs), as well as other relevant actors or partners to advance gender budgeting processes in the PALOP and Timor-Leste.
The activities planned for 2017 were:
At the regional level:
- Develop a comparative analysis of gender disparities in State Budgets and public expenditure in PALOP and Timor-Leste.
- Promote strategies for dissemination and knowledge management in the area of budgetary oversight from a gender perspective.
At the national level, in each of the PALOP and Timor-Leste countries:
- Conduct a gender analysis on the State Budget.
- Train and provide technical follow-up to women parliamentarians, CSOs and other relevant partners on gender budget oversight.
- Formulate a proposal for a system to follow the gender dimension in Public Expenditure of the State.