Promoting Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women: Strengthening Gender Responsive Budgeting in South Asia

05 Feb 2014

imageParticipants at the inception meeting, Thimphu

Thimphu – Following a series of gender consultations and sensitization workshops since 2006, the regional inception workshop for Promoting Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women: Strengthening Gender Responsive Budgeting (GRB) in South Asia project is being introduced today to chalk out the methodology, work plan and way forward with the relevant stakeholders to ensure efficiency, equity and poverty reduction in Bhutan.  

The GRB process has subsequently become an important analytical tool for managing critical government issues and for assessing the impact of public policies on marginalized and disadvantaged groups. The government has demonstrated long term commitment by including gender responsive budgeting into its 11th Five Year Plan.

Sarojini Thakur, Consultant for the project says, “The GRB is a tool to ensure gender mainstreaming efforts are put into policies and implemented by governments.” She further added that the project will improve participation of civil society and empower women.

Tshewang Lhamo from the National Commission for Women and Children (NCWC) presented Bhutan’s progress in several areas since 2006. Achievements highlighted were the high level sensitization programmes for government ministries and members of the Cabinet, the institutionalized Gender Task Force and formulation of the GRB Strategy. She also informed participants that Bhutan would soon be pilot testing the GRB Manual in selected sectors of agriculture, health and education.

Tshewang Lhamo said, “Much progress has been made, however challenges remain especially lack of awareness in gender responsive budgeting, technical capacity and limited financial resources to effectively implement GRB in Bhutan.”

UNDP Bhutan’s Gender Analyst, Rinzi Pem says, “In Bhutan, the ministries now analyze programmes through the gender lens to make them gender sensitive, and to track expenditure and analyze how it impacts women. Some of these achievements can be attributed to the technical expertise provided by UN Women with execution support from UNDP.”

The project will ensure the government mainstreams GRB into its policies and implementation, empower civil societies, rural communities and garner interest from academic institutions and ordinary citizens. The workshop was attended by government representatives and key stakeholders. The next step will be to execute the methodology and work plan for the project.

The one day workshop is conducted with support from UN Women and the Asian Development Bank.

About the GRB in South Asia Project:
The project’s objective is to strengthen work on gender responsive budgeting in two countries – Bangladesh and Bhutan. The GRB is considerably different in the two countries; while Bangladesh has decades of experience implementing GRB initiatives; Bhutan has only just started the GRB. In Bangladesh, the focus will be on assessing the effectiveness of GRB initiatives  and in Bhutan on building capacities of officials and creating a knowledge base for sectoral application of GRB.

About UNDP and UN Women in Bhutan:
UNDP and UN Women provide technical advice and assistance for officials of the Royal Government of Bhutan on gender responsive governance. UNDP and UN Women works with the Department of Budget, Department of Local Governance and the National Commission for Women and Children on capacity building, gender responsive budgeting, reporting on CEDAW (Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women) and research.  UNDP also supported development of the study report titled ‘Trafficking in Persons: Situational Analysis of Bhutan’ in 2012; capacity building of law enforcement agencies and  sensitization and advocacy campaigns on gender equality and women’s empowerment carried out to the local government functionaries.