Gender-Responsive Budgeting through the CBMS Lens

Debbie Budlender, Celia Reyes, Martha Melesse
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This paper results from a series of international workshops that brought together CBMS and GRB practitioners to discuss how the Community-Based Monitoring System (CBMS) can be used to facilitate gender-responsive budgeting (GRB) at the local level.
To provide conceptual background to the discussion, the paper highlights two points where CBMS and GRB initiatives converge and complement each other. On the one hand, it points out that both serve as guideposts for government targeting and prioritizing of the poor and other vulnerable sectors of society. On the other hand, both are also centrally concerned with policymaking. CBMS was seen from the start as a tool to inform evidence-based policy making while GRB emerged out of the realization that unless gender policies and plans have adequate accompanying budgets, they are not worth the paper they are written on.
It also notes that the standard CBMS data already provide valuable input for GRBs (e.g. sexdisaggregated analysis of the situation of local people in terms of aspects such as education and economic activity and situation analysis of accessibility of services such as sanitation, nutrition and health). However, the potential of the existing instrument to support LLGRB work can be further enhanced.
The paper outlines some preliminary suggestions on how this can be done. First, to promote GRB, the local government unit should ensure that the womens sector is sufficiently represented in the CBMS validation process. Second, beyond simple sex-disaggregation, the standard CBMS questionnaires should provide further possibilities in terms of issues that are likely to be important in terms of gender roles and relations. Third, more innovative ways should be found in disseminating CBMS data in different formats to make it accessible to as wide a range of local people as possible.
However, it proposes that these changes should be further spelled out in each context where the combined LLGRB-CMBS is to be implemented. A piloting of these modifications is likewise recommended to examine the feasibility of integrating the two systems given the local capacity and existing institutional arrangements.