Budgets in BiH need to be Socially Responsive, especially in Light of the COVID-19 Crisis – Sarajevo Times

 

The COVID-19 health crisis has turned into an unprecedented social and economic crisis in the last months, destabilizing economies, local communities and affecting the lives of billions of people around the globe. In order to address the consequences, policies which focus on the devastating social and economic dimensions of the crisis must ensure that those who are most affected are included. That is why UN Women in BiH has conducted a preliminary analyses on how the rebalances of budgets in Federation of BiH, Republika Srpska and Canton Sarajevo will impact women and vulnerable groups most affected by crisis.

The common conclusion from the analyses is that traditionally socially responsive sectors are more impacted by budget cuts. At the same time, the potentially positive impact of proposed budget programms in sectors of tourism, health and agriculture will depend on the design and implementation of measures in a socially responsive manner. Based on the assessed priorities and the need for efficient combining of budget and non-budget resources, budgets need to respond to the needs of women and vulnerable groups. This also relates to planned international assistance, as well as applying a gender lens in the implementation of measures and activities.

“Sustainable response and recovery should be at the core of budget discussions for the governments affected by the COVID-19 crisis with particular consideration to the impacts on women and girls. Gender equality is both a prerequisite and an enabler for achieving the sustainable development goals and Agenda 2030. We have seen again and again, across the world and in BiH that when women have access to decent work and regular income, it contributes not only to overall poverty reduction, but is critical to supporting better education, health and nutrition outcomes for women and children.” said Ms. Ingrid Macdonald, the UN Resident Coordinator in BiH.

“The presented budget analyses are one element of UN Women support to all three governments on socially responsive budgeting in BiH. Budgets need to be responsive to the needs of society, so money is invested where it is needed for society to function efficiently in usual circumstances and especially in times of crisis. Governments in BiH should assess medium-term budgets with a gender lens and ensure budget cuts conducted in the emergency are reprioritized to focus on social priorities”, said David Saunders, UN Women Representative in BiH.

Following the United Nations Secretary-General’s socio-economic recovery plan “Shared Responsibility, Global Solidarity”, the assessments conducted in Bosnia and Herzegovina are part of the integrated support package that the United Nations is leveraging across its agencies, funds and programs. A total of 30 cross-sectoral assessments aim to shape a strong, substantive programmatic response to the COVID-19 impacts in BiH.  For the United Nations in BiH, the overall focus is on how to best support and contribute to the important efforts by the authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, to build back better, fairer, green and inclusive with a focus on Agenda2030 and ensuring no one is left behind.

Over 60 representatives of all levels of government in BiH, international financial institutions, embassies, relevant agencies and associations participated in the online presentation of the Socially Responsive Budgeting Analysis in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

 

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