UN Women Regional Programme “Promoting Gender-Responsive Policies”: Results

From 2014 to 2019, the UN Women Regional Programme on “Promoting Gender-responsive policies in South East Europe and the Republic of Moldova” worked with central and local governments in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Republic of North Macedonia and the Republic of Moldova to implement their gender equality commitments by fully integrating gender-responsive budgeting (GRB) into their planning and budgeting systems.

Supported by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and the Austrian Development Agency, the regional programme made significant progress to strengthen democratic governance and advance women’s rights by:

  • Integrating gender-responsive budgeting into national and local planning and budgeting systems;
  • Developing the capacities of civil society organizations (CSOs) and gender equality advocates to use gender-responsive budgeting to keep governments accountable to gender equality commitments;
  • Supporting Members of Parliament to review policies and budget allocations with gender lens
  • Engendering the participatory processes at national and local level and reaching out to women to encourage their involvement in decision making processes;
  • Encouraging sub-regional cooperation to advance gender equality; and by
  • Integrating gender into public finance management reforms and facilitating coordination between Ministries of Finance and executing agencies.

By linking gender equality policy objectives with the resources necessary to implement them, the UN Women regional programme:

  • Made considering gender equality in budgetary practices a norm in the project countries;
  • Introduced gender analysis as an approach to identify and link needs of women and men with policies with budgets; and
  • Supported efforts to include the development-related needs of excluded and vulnerable groups.

Regionally, the key achievements of the programme include:

  • Making gender equality a core principle in Albania’s Organic Budget Law and Law on Local Finances. As a result of programme interventions, there is a significant increase in public expenditure allocations for gender equality in 2019-2021 budget programmes.
  • In Bosnia and Herzegovina, a gender-responsive budgeting analysis of key policy documents at all levels of governance is introduced, while specific gender indicators must be included before any line ministry submits its budget to the Ministry of Finance.
  • 14 Ministries and 3 state institutions piloted a methodology for introducing GRB, developed gender indicators and gender budget statements in the Republic of North MacedoniaAt local level, 19 municipalities have introduced gender-specific measures and budgetary allocations in 88 local programmes;
  • The Republic of Moldova was the first country to include gender-responsive budgeting in Academia, with 54 Masters students at the Academy of Economic Studies completing a gender-responsive budgeting course during the academic 2016-17;
  • In 2015, Serbia became the first non-EU country to introduce gender equality in its budget system law, with gender-responsive budgeting mandatory at all levels, to be fully implemented in 2020.

Click here to learn more about the UN Women “Promoting gender-responsive policies in South East Europe and the Republic of Moldovaprogramme.

Future steps:

While GRB is highly relevant to budget reforms and development agendas of the countries, it still needs to become a critical theme in the overall governance and public finance management. Full implementation of a gender responsive SDG Agenda will depend on adequate financing for gender equality programmes and therefore continued GRB technical assistance is crucial.

UN Women’s success in creating an enabling legal and institutional framework and building national expertise make a sound argument for continuing similar interventions due to the:

  • Greater stakeholder awareness and demand;
  • Opportunity that Public Finance Management reforms offers for systemic and sustainable solutions to be sought/identified.

Future GRB interventions will substantively contribute to promoting good governance and EU integration.