Gender Responsive Budgeting:
Holding Roots in Pakistan
Gender responsive budgeting (GRB) is an approach to mainstream the gender dimension into all stages of the budget cycle. In general, gender responsive budgeting aims at analyzing the differential impacts of a state's national and local expenditure as well as revenue policy on women and girls, and men and boys, respectively. The concept of GRB is now fairly well recognized and is being adopted in many developed and developing countries.
Sources told INFN, in Pakistan, gender responsive budgeting was proposed for the first time in 2001 by the Ministry of Women Development in a paper on 'Gender and Poverty' submitted for the Poverty Reduction Growth Facility. The Government's Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) advocates use of GRB in analyzing the federal, provincial and district government budgets to determine the extent to which resources are allocated to address gender inequality and impact of budgetary expenditures on different gender groups. The Government's Gender Reform Action Plan (GRAP) has also made provisions for gender budget analysis.
With this backdrop, the Ministry of Finance, Government of Pakistan with technical and financial support of UNDP and its cost sharing donors namely, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and Royal Norwegian Embassy, initiated a two and half year's pilot project that started in 2005 named 'Gender Responsive Budgeting Initiative' (GRBI).
According to the source, the aim of this project is to develop skills to prepare, review and analyze budgets using the gender lens; Promote policy and resource allocation with a gender perspective; and to build advocacy skills of GOP and civil society organizations for gender budgeting. The project is focusing its analysis on the sectors of education, health and population welfare. The analysis is being carried out at the federal, provincial (Punjab) and district (Gujrat and Rajanpur) levels.
The project is being implemented by the Ministry of Finance, Government of Pakistan and Finance Department, Government of Punjab. For this purpose a federal Project Management unit (PMU) has been established in the Ministry of Finance while the provincial PMU is housed in the Finance Department, Government of Punjab. Both the PMUs are headed by full time serving officials of the Ministry of Finance and Finance Department, Government of Punjab respectively. The PMUs work in close collaboration with 'Poverty Reduction and Gender Unit' of UNDP Pakistan INFN has learnt.
A Project Steering Committee (PSC) under the chairmanship of Finance Secretary, Government of Pakistan has been notified for ensuring overall guidance and support to the project, the source further added.