Press Release: In Morocco, high-level delegation from North Macedonia learns first hand how to establish a Center of Excellence on gender-responsive budgeting

Date: Tuesday, May 28, 2019

The North Macedonian delegation and UN Women representatives at the Ministry of Water in Rabat, Morocco. Photo: UN Women
The North Macedonian delegation and UN Women representatives at the Ministry of Water in Rabat, Morocco. Photo: UN Women

(Rabat, Morocco, 21-23 May) A delegation of public officials from the Republic of North Macedonia, headed by the Minister of Labour and Social Policy, Mila Carovska, attended a 3-day study programme in Rabat, Morocco to explore the country’s internationally recognized Centre of Excellence on gender-responsive budgeting (GRB).

The delegation from North Macedonia was welcomed by Chorfi Zouhair, Secretary General of the Ministry of Economy and Finance of Morocco, who emphasized that his country enjoys a favourable political environment to advance gender equality in the past 15 years. Since 2002, Morocco has been actively working on advancing women’s rights and is a host to a Center of Excellence on GRB, which is a learning platform that links national, regional and global stakeholders.

Minister Carovska presented the experience of the Government of North Macedonia to institutionalize gender budgeting in national policy-making and budgeting. “North Macedonia already took steps in mainstreaming gender in sectoral policies and programmes, and we are ready to move ahead. We have a favourable eco-system to advance the gender equality agenda. This delegation is the driving force that can make this possible, and we have full support from the Prime Minster to establish a Center of Excellence,” emphasized Ms. Carovska.

“There are many entry points for ensuring systematic integration of gender in strategic planning and budgeting processes in North Macedonia, and the new reforms will open more space for effective implementation of GRB at central and local levels,” highlighted Jovana Trenchevska, the State Secretary of the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy.

North Macedonia is currently undergoing a budget reform process. A new organic budget law, together with an integrated financial information management system, are under development. ‘’The Ministry of Finance has been working with dedication on the reforms in the area of public finances, which fully support gender-responsive budgeting through the establishment of gender mechanisms and gender-sensitive indicators, ensuring their monitoring,’’ said Elena Trpkovska, State Secretary of the Ministry of Finance.

“UN Women supports the GRB initiatives in North Macedonia, in close partnership with the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy and the Ministry of Finance. This study programme is part of the preparatory phase for opening the first Center of Excellence on GRB in the country,” said Vesna Ivanovikj, Head of UN Women in North Macedonia.

The Center of Excellence on GRB in Morocco, established in 2013 under the auspices of the Ministry of Finance and Economy, is a pioneering initiative in gender-responsive planning and budgeting hosting over a decade of rich experience. The Director of the Center, Ahmed Berrada, presented the key functions and operational strategy of the Center, highlighting the important lessons learned and challenges encountered over the years. “The Center of Excellence accompanies line ministries to mainstream gender in budgetary programmes, strengthening their capacities, supporting them to develop gender-specific objectives and validating the performance indicators for their programmes. One of the factors for success is to have sectoral ministries fully onboard and to accompany them in setting quality performance indicators,” said Mr. Berrada.

Leila Rhiwi, UN Women Representative for the Multi-country Office in Morocco, outlined the factors behind the success of the Center: “The first factor is legal and institutional. Without a law that institutes equality, performance accountability would not be possible. Secondly, there is the Gender Report, a powerful and fundamental instrument that Morocco is enhancing for a better follow-up of public policies. The third aspect is capacity-building and knowledge management.”

Emphasizing UN Women’s global technical expertise on GRB to support the establishment of the Center of Excellence in North Macedonia, which is a result of the longstanding cooperation with the Government under UN Women’s Regional GRB project, Ermira Lubani, UN Women Regional GRB Technical Advisor, said, “We expect the Center to grow and bring together knowledge, resources and expertise on GRB across the region.”

The study visit was organized in the framework of the “Promoting Gender-responsive Policies and Budgets: Towards Transparent, Inclusive and Accountable Governance in the Republic of North Macedonia,” supported by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency – Sida, implemented by UN Women.