Efforts to Ramp up Gender Responsive Budgeting in Six Ministries
Kabul: Six ministries of the Government of Afghanistan were the focus of a workshop on implementation of Gender-responsive Budgeting (GRB) that concluded, here today. The workshop was jointly organized by the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Women’s Affairs with support of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Gender Equality Project (GEP).
Representatives from the Ministries of Education, Higher Education, Public Health, Rural Rehabilitation & Development, Labor & Social Affairs, Martyrs & Disabled, and Agriculture, Irrigation & Livestock participated in the workshop.
The workshop covered topics such as gender analysis of the Budget, the translating policy into action, program budget cycle, result oriented budgeting, strengths and weaknesses of GRB in Afghanistan.
Speaking on the occasion, the MoF Budget Director, Mr. Ahmad Massoud Kamal noted that workshop marked the first step that MoF and UNDP is taking together in order to formalize GRB. This is crucial to bringing gender equality in the government processes. “The Policy, Planning and Finance departments of all the ministries must take the lead on GRB and put in place a coordination mechanism. Each workshop participant bears the responsibility to transfer knowledge to fellow colleagues, so that we can rapidly spread the understanding of gender-responsive budgeting. This is not a one-time event, but will be followed by many other capacity development programmes,” Mr. Kamal said.
The UNDP GEP Project Manager, Ms. Fulya Vekiloglu observed that UNDP recognizes the crucial role of supporting the Government of Afghanistan to ensure that the national Budget is promoted as the key tool for addressing development priorities. “It is essential that adequate resources are allocated by concerned ministries and organizations for effective mainstreaming of gender equitable interventions into their programmes and activities that would guarantee that women and men, girls and boys benefit equally from the development process”, Ms. Vekiloglu said
Ms. Rahima Zarifi, MoWA Policy and Planning director said that Gender Units had been established across ministries to serve as a catalyst for ensuring integration of gender-sensitive approach in budget formulation and implementation. However, capacity building for such Units presented an on-going challenge.
Dr. Zuljan Farhat, head of Gender Unit of MRRD who was a participant in the workshop stated, “Thanks to this workshop, I now have a checklist for monitoring the budgeting process of the Ministry to observe women’s inclusion. GRB is important because most of the Ministries lack a budgeting system responsive to the needs of both men and women. I will consider inclusion of capacity building programs for women’s empowerment in order for them to compete with men especially at workplace in the hope that one day key government positions will be equally divided between both genders.”
This workshop brought together officials from the six pilot ministries to develop a common understanding of the GRB process, beginning with policy formulation and leading to tangible outcomes for women’s empowerment. The participants exchanged experiences on common problems while implementing GRB within the newly introduced programme budgeting in Afghanistan.
The workshop was first step towards ensuring gender inclusion in the budgeting process of the Ministries. It will be followed by inter-ministerial consultations and adoption of a Strategic Plan to establish Gender Responsive Budgeting mechanism within the Government of Afghanistan, developed by the MOF. UNDP supports the process of establishment of gender equality through translation of the the commitments to budgetary allocations.