Posted by Quentin Gouzien
To achieve the sustainable development goals (SDGs), it is essential that the State allocates enough budgetary resources towards the sectors contributing to their achievement, as underlined by a recent IMF study. As shown by the experience of the millennium development goals (MDG), the inclusion of the SDGs in long-term development plans is not enough. It must also be ensured that the State budget takes the SDGs into account.
However, there is currently no international methodology for integrating SDGs into public budget processes. Therefore, many decisions have to be made by each country during this process, depending on the context and the PFM system in place. In contrast to some well-known examples such as Mexico, African experiences are largely undocumented.
In this context, a workshop was organized in January 2020 by the Ministry of Finance of Benin, with the technical and financial support of the German cooperation (through GIZ), to share experiences of eight African countries. The seminar gathered in Cotonou around sixty participants from Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ghana, Mauritania, Mozambique, Namibia, and Senegal, as well as experts from the Global Initiative for Fiscal Transparency (GIFT), the Public Expenditure and Fiscal Accountability (PEFA) Secretariat, and several GIZ projects based in the same African countries, in South Africa and Germany.
The first day was dedicated to the systematic integration of SDGs into the State budget. The countries represented are at very different stages. While many have not yet started the process, some are in the design or testing phase, notably Benin, and few countries, such as Ghana, have already developed a functioning system to identify and track public expenditures contributing to the different SDG targets.
The second day focused on the integration of specific development goals, particularly SDG 5 (gender equality). More countries have made progress in developing initiatives and tools in this area. However, some challenges remain: for example, the lack of indicators disaggregated by sex, lack of political will and poor coordination between government agencies. An integrated and multisector approach is missing. Useful analytical tools such as the GIZ Equity Budgeting Tool and the new PEFA Gender Responsive Budgeting Framework were also presented.
From the lessons learnt during this workshop, five main recommendations are addressed to countries wishing to integrate the SDGs in their State budget.
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