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Federal Budget FY2023-24 Roundtable: Promoting Gender Responsive Budgeting (GRB)

Federal Budget FY2023-24
Roundtable: Promoting Gender Responsive Budgeting (GRB)
14 June 2023, Islamabad
The National Assembly’s Women Parliamentary Caucus (WPC) brought together MNAs, academics, rights activists and the media in a roundtable meeting to discuss the Federal Budget FY2023-24 from a gender-inclusive perspective, in light of Pakistan’s Constitution and its international obligations including CEDAW and SDGs. The roundtable was organized in collaboration with Omar Asghar Khan Foundation and Shirkat Gah-Women’s Resource Center as part of their programme: Fempower Pakistan, supported by Global Affairs Canada.
The Foundation presented its analysis of the Federal Budget FY2023-24 categorised under six themes: (a) gender-based violence, (b) women’s economic empowerment, (c) social services: education and health, (d) climate change, (e) social protection and (f) institutions supporting women’s empowerment.
Better prioritization, the Foundation stressed, was even more essential as the government had presented a deficit budget and the fiscal space was limited. Based on its analysis, the Foundation recommended funds to increase forensics capacity, enhance cyber security and ensure better surveillance for safer cities to improve prevention and response to gender-based violence. Affirmative measures were recommended to ensure government projects designed to improve small and medium enterprises, expand vocational training opportunities, and talent farming programmes for the youth may help women’s economic empowerment. More creative awareness programmes were also suggested to help women claim their rights and entitlements. Better government capacity was recommended to assess the impact of budgets on women and other vulnerable groups. Methodologies like gender tagging and generating sex-disaggregated data will greatly support gender-responsive budgeting.
Dr. Shahida Rehmani, Secretary-WPC emphasised the need to promote gender-responsive budgeting. She said that the WPC had developed a GRB strategy through a consultative process and MNAs actively participated in parliamentary committee meetings to ensure public finance decisions were gender-inclusive. MNA Dr. Nafisa Shah stressed the need for better data and analysis to help legislators promote gender-responsive budgets. She said that public finance decisions must benefit from greater public participation so that they are more responsive to the needs of women across the country, especially those in more remote areas. Ms. Romina Khurshid Alam, Special Assistant to the PM and head of the SDGs Unit, identified the need for stronger local governments for more cost-effective and efficient public service delivery.
It was agreed that continued engagement among all key stakeholders is essential to sustain efforts to promote gender-responsive budgeting.