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Governance and Public Sector Managemen

Gender-Responsive Budgeting for Fiji

  • Project Name: Supporting Public Financial Management Reform
  • Region/Country: Pacific/Fiji
  • Sector and Themes: Governance and Public Sector Management
  • Year: 2018-Present
  • Project Leaders: Pamela Wyatt
Gender-Responsive Budgeting for Fiji
The Government of Fiji recognizes the potential for better targeted expenditure to help reduce poverty.

Having moved to a mindset of gender-responsive budgeting, the Government of Fiji was able to address the immediate impacts of COVID-19.

Development challenge

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, almost 30% of Fiji’s population were living in poverty, with more than 60% living in rural areas. The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic increased the risk of more people falling into poverty. With its reliance on public spending, the government recognizes the potential for better targeted expenditure to help reduce poverty. The government needed help in deciding which among the ongoing budget reforms should be prioritized that would result in real impact.

Solution

In 2019, Fiji became one of seven countries globally to pilot the PEFA Gender-Responsive Budgeting Assessment Report and receive the “PEFA check” of approval. In 2021, Fiji’s Cabinet supported the introduction of gender-responsive budgeting through pilots run in two ministries. The pilots incorporated gender-responsive budgeting principles in budget submission templates and provided training and ongoing support through the budget process. This is a critical first step to enable the strategic allocation of resources for government priorities in future budgets.

Knowledge products and services delivered

ADB supported the government objectives through both direct TA and by support in achieving specific reforms that provide a gender-responsive business and investment climate. ADB supported the development of a methodology and training material, and delivery of training for staff of the Ministry of Economy and the Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation. A Cabinet paper outlining the reasons for introducing gender-responsive budgeting, its principles and potential impact was an important way to engage the government and obtain its approval, endorsement, and commitment. This is vital to ensure that their ministries will embrace the changes. Training was then developed for the pilot ministries for possible future rollouts. The longer-term effect of the reforms will have a transformational impact on gender equality, women’s economic empowerment, and women’s access to resources and services.

ADB
Implementing the project will help promote fiscal discipline, the strategic allocation of resources, and efficient service delivery.

Impact and results

Having moved to a mindset of gender-responsive budgeting, the government was able to address the immediate impacts of COVID-19. This was achieved by providing support for women-owned and women-led business; direct cash transfers to informal workers, including for microenterprises owned by women; and a guidance note on the gendered impacts of COVID-19 in Fiji. The government established a COVID-19 Gender Working Group to act on the recommendations from the paper. To increase women’s voices and access to services and resources, the government carried out actions to introduce gender-responsive budgeting. For example, the Ministry of Fisheries redesigned a training program for women to make it more inclusive.

Lessons for Replication

A clear plan is needed with pilots and there is an opportunity to learn and improve before expanding. It is possible to design small steps that make a start and can be built on. Successful ongoing implementation of gender-responsive budgeting reforms across ministries also provides a model for adoption by other countries in the Pacific.

ADB
With a mindset of gender-responsive budgeting, the Government of Fiji was able to address the immediate impacts of COVID-19.
Hashtags:
#GenderResponsiveBudgeting #GenderEquality #PFM #GenderMainstreaming #Fiji #SDG5
Find out more: https://www.adb.org/projects/50378-001/main
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