The Institute for Research and Democratic Development (IREDD), in collaboration with UN Women, has begun training 15 civil society actors to scrutinize the country’s national budget from a gender-responsive perspective.
Speaking on August 27 from Nepal, Asia via the Zoom platform, the Deputy Country Representative of UN Women – Liberia, Ms. Sangeeta Thapa, said civil society organizations (CSOs) and women rights institutions can play an important role in enhancing transparency and good governance in Liberia by contributing to increase public debate on issues surrounding the formulation and implementation of governments’ budgets as well as in supporting greater transparency in public revenues.
Ms. Thapa said a gender-responsive budget is a budget that works for everyone — women, men, girls, and boys — by ensuring gender-equitable distribution of resources and equal opportunities for all.
“Gender-responsive budgeting (GRB) is essential both for gender justice and fiscal justice. It facilitates analyzing government budgets for their effect on different genders and the norms and roles associated with them, and the relationship between genders,” she said. “It also involves transforming these budgets to ensure that gender equality commitments are realized. This means thinking about impacts on people in broader terms, which will include women and men, girls and boys.”
She added that gender-responsive budgeting helps determine how the national resources benefit both men and women especially in the development of a budget for implementation of any programmatic action.
Ms. Thapa added that gender-responsive budgeting is a great tool for mainstreaming gender into the national budget systems, emphasizing. “It also helps to ensure that the needs and interests of individuals from different social groups are addressed in the expenditure and revenue policies. In fact, GRB has been recognized as one of the best strategies for the achievement of gender equality.”
“Gender-responsive planning and budgeting (GRPB) has both intrinsic and instrumental relevance. GRPB is critical for eliminating gender inequalities and the application which will bring significant improvements in social, educational, health, and economic indicators of Liberia. The gender-responsive budget acknowledges the gender patterns in society and promotes allocation of budget to make policies and programs in a gender-equitable way,” Ms. Thapa noted.
The UN Women Country Deputy Representative said Thursday’s training is being conducted under the framework of the Spotlight Initiative (SI) Programme, which is a joint initiative of the United Nations system and the European Union in partnership with the Government and civil society of Liberia to contribute to the elimination of gender-based and sexual violence, harmful practices and obstacles to access sexual and reproductive health rights.
She said the “SI” provides a unique opportunity to demonstrate that a significant, concerted and comprehensive investment in gender equality can make a transformative difference in the lives of women and girls, as well as contribute to the achievement of all the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
It may be recalled that Liberia has signed and ratified the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), an International Human Rights Treaty.
Mr. Hassan Kanneh, Deputy Minister of Gender for Children and Social Protection, said strengthening the capacity of civil society organizations and women rights institutions especially on gender-responsive planning and budgeting is an important component, assuring IREDD and CSOs of engaging relevant institutions amid the minimum gender budgeting.
Giving a highlight of the project, IREDD Country Director, Harold Aidoo, said the project brought together 15 civil society organizations after bringing together 40 civil society organizations from across the 17 political districts in Montserrado about seven months ago to build their capacity in ensuring that the national budget is reflective of gender needs.
According to Mr. Aidoo, strengthening the capacity of civil society organizations and women’s right institutions on gender response planning and budgeting (GPRB) addresses many of the difficulties associated with the needs of women and men.
“At the end of the workshop, we expect civil society organizations to develop a better understanding on gender-responsive budgeting and how to use their skills to analyze the national budget from a gender perspective,” Harold said.