Credit: Turks and Caicos Islands Tourist Board

Integrating Gender and Green PFM in Turks and Caicos Islands

Over the past decade, the role of public financial management (PFM) in tackling climate change and gender gaps has been a topic of discussion, but associated reforms are often implemented separately. With the support of the IMF, the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) have been working on strategic budget reforms for several years and recently, the government initiated work on green and gender budgeting in unison.


Despite the considerable advancement of PFM reforms in the Caribbean, persistent challenges of climate change in the region pose major fiscal risks, and significant gender gaps remain (including a gender wage gap and gender-based violence remains high) Between 2004 and 2023, there were eight major hurricanes on the TCI. The Islands experienced significant economic losses in 2017 due to the impact of hurricanes Maria and Irma, the equivalent to 28.9 percent of the GDP. Recent research shows that climate disasters have profoundly adverse impacts on vulnerable groups.


TCI have been working on budget reforms with the support of the IMF through the Caribbean Regional Technical Assistance Centre (CARTAC) for several years. In 2022, building on a platform of performance informed multi-year program budgeting, TCI started piloting green and gender budgeting. Central to TCI’s approach has been the simultaneous focus on implementing green and gender budgeting.


While the long-term objective is for green and gender issues to be considered as part of policy making, the transition to green and gender budgeting in TCI has involved incorporating specific gender and green analyses and reporting into the existing budget planning and procedures. Specifically, the annual budget call circular now requires all budget entities to highlight strategies to address gender equality, gender gaps, climate mitigation and climate adaptation. All new spending requests and savings options include gender and climate impact analysis, and all programs are required to include gender and climate specific performance targets. This analysis enables the annual estimates and the citizen’s guide to the budget to include a summary of planned activities to address gender equity and green issues.


The experience thus far shows that the integrated approach works effectively for pursuing climate and gender policy goals in the context of the budget. The synergies include having a single budget circular, forms, and performance framework encompassing both elements. Budget programs have been enhanced by recognizing and understanding the linkages between gender and climate change (including the gender gaps which are exacerbated by climate change) to deliver more equitable and effective results.. A common approach to tagging climate and gender in the budget process has been conceptualized.


In pursuing this integrated approach, TCI has benefited from a strong enabling environment for climate and gender PFM. This includes an existing performance framework integrated into the budget and a rolling forward estimates approach to multi-year budgeting. Most importantly, the Cabinet are committed to reforms in this area.


This is not to ignore the challenges of mainstreaming climate and gender. Budget entities do not immediately recognise the potential impacts of their programs on gender gaps or the opportunities for climate mitigation or adaptation. There is an ongoing need for awareness building and training. Similarly, there remains a lack of sex-disaggregated data to support in-depth analysis, particularly of gender impacts. Both approaches require coordinating and fostering the relationship between ministries of finance and the specialised ministries departments and agencies responsible for gender/climate issues.


While the results of the integrated approach have been favorable there are also unique aspects of gender and climate policy which need to be considered. Gender impacts are primarily and directly human in nature; assessing impacts requires human engagement and sociological analysis of gender roles and gender gaps. Climate change also ultimately impacts society and economy, but the impacts are less direct, flowing from initial environmental and other physical impacts.  Therefore, assessing the effects of climate change requires including climate experts and agencies, while gender analysis requires close coordination with gender mechanisms. CARTAC and TCI are keen to continue their engagement on gender and climate PFM and sharing their experiences.