To help promote gender mainstreaming within the national budget, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN WOMEN, formerly UNIFEM) held a day-long workshop on evidential gender analysis of the budget from a gender perspective and through the EU Spotlight project.
The presentation of analysis was facilitated by the country office of the UN Women in Monrovia with the Joint Legislative committees on Ways, Means and Finance, Public Accounts and the Women Legislative Caucus, which was held recently (Tuesday, September 22, 2020) in a local hotel.
Nine (9) lawmakers participated in the training, as well as the representative of the Deputy Minister of Budget, and UN Women Program Specialist on Gender Responsive Budgeting (GRB), and the consultant that undertook the gender analysis of the FY 2020/2021 national budget, Harold Marvin Aidoo.
During the analysis, key findings underscored that the Government of Liberia is a long way off from addressing gender inequalities, particularly because of differences in budget and policy.
Also, the findings also averred that while the issues of gender are substantially highlighted in the PAPD, Gender Policy, other policies and the Budget Call Circular, gender disaggregated allocations for specific programs and plans are not specified in the budget.
“The findings noted that the US$200,000 for the budget pilot across the six ministries and agencies is most inadequate and that outputs and activities under the pilot scheme are not supported by the ministries’ objectives for the fiscal year,” the analysis said.
It furthered: “The findings strongly highlighted the need for statistical data to inform gender analysis, stressing that tax imposed by the government as a way of spurring domestic resource mobilization may run the risk of ‘crowding-out’ gender-responsive expenditures.”
It has been reported that lawmakers largely agreed with the findings of the analysis and similarly stressed on the need for data and support, they revealed that government is funding the national statistics agency to conduct a compressive census in March 2021, which will include the collection of other socio and economic data, including gender, which will help reduce the data gap in the country.
IREDD Executive Director, Mr. Aidoo, said the September’s Gender Responsive Budgeting (GBR) training is part of series of capacity-building workshops for the Legislature.
Mr. Aidoo said the trainings are aimed to create enhanced understanding of gender strategies for gender mainstreaming as well as introduce effective tools for gender budget analysis within the National Legislature.
“The UN Women has made significant contributions to accentuate gender-responsive budgeting as a fundamental imperative to bridging gender inequality and to address all forms of sexual and gender-based violence in Liberia,” Mr. Aidoo stressed.
He said it is expected that Representatives and Senators will acquire the relevant skills and competences to analyze the gender responsiveness of the national budget and take the lead on ensuring that it meets the demands of Gender Equality.
The Gender Responsive Budgeting Initiative is being supported by the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women (UN WOMEN), with support from the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning.
Meanwhile, within the broader framework of the Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS), Gender Responsive Budgeting is crucial in the promotion of good governance and accountability. Its adoption within the Legislature will enable to Government of Liberia to respond to the needs and aspirations of all segments of society, particularly marginalized and vulnerable groups.