Gaborone, Botswana, The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in partnership with the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development (MFED) held dialogues from 22nd to 26th November 2021 in Gaborone to develop a Roadmap for a gender responsive and climate sensitive Integrated National Financing Framework (INFF).
The Secretary – Development and Budget, Ministry of Finance and Economic Development (MFED), Olesitse Masimega, reflected in his welcome remarks that, “The INFF project could not have come at a better time, as we as a nation, progressively dust ourselves out of the COVID-19 Pandemic and have kick-started the process to develop our next medium-term development plan, the NDP 12”. He added that the process will also inform other Government of Botswana policy decisions.
He added that the purpose of the dialogues was to inform the direction of the study, enhance national ownership and identify key issues across priority thematic areas. The results of the workshop should allow the MFED and UNDP to consider the findings and prioritize strategies for inclusion in the INFF Scoping Assessment. The financing dialogues allowed issues identified in the scoping assessment to be socialized and refined, to draw out innovations from this wide group of stakeholders and for a shared understanding and consensus around the priorities to be built.
When giving introduction to the INFF and dialogues, the UNDP Botswana Deputy Resident Representative, Margunn Indreboe Alshaikh said that, “When Addressing the SDG-financing challenge—and building back better from the pandemic with inclusivity, resilience and sustainability—will require innovation in how we finance and invest”. She explained that most prominent results are seen in countries where governments are showing strong ownership over INFFs, tailoring the approach to national priorities and institutions. Furthermore, she said financing the SDGs also calls for global and regional cooperation, enabling private and public international finance to accelerate efforts in closing the remaining gap.
The initiative is part of the SDG Financing for Development framework called the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, which was adopted by world leaders in July 2015. The idea was to engage on how the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its sustainable development goals (SDGs) will be funded, even before it was adopted by the UN General Assembly in September 2015.
As part of the funding meant to facilitate SDGs implementation, the UN Headquarters in New York financed Botswana’s SDG Joint Programme in an effort to fast track SDG implementation in four specific areas. The Joint Programme is a two-year programme that became effective in July 2020. The 4 components of the Joint Programme are;
o Zero Based Budgeting- led by UNICEF in partnership with Ministry of Finance and Economic Development
o Business Case for Family Planning- led by UNFPA working with Ministry of Health and Wellness
o Gender responsive budgeting- led by UN Women working with the Ministry of Nationality, Immigration and Gender..
The primary objective of the Joint programme is to assist Government of Botswana to undertake reforms in the area of planning, budgeting and financing with a stronger focus to ensure a more sustainable development pathway.
The main deliverable of this process is to develop a Financing Strategy that intends to assist Government of Botswana tap into its domestic and international public and private SDG financing, with a view to diversify the economy and enhance its revenue generating capacity. The ultimate ripple effects of these reforms will be realisation of the SDGs by 2030 and beyond, at national and local levels.
The Joint Programme also seeks to support the Government’s desire to achieve efficiency in spending in all sectors, cost containment and avoid wastage within the public sector, address corruption and illicit financial flows using zero-based budgeting in sector ministries, departments, and agencies (MDAs) and promote the principle of gender responsive and climate sensitive budgeting. This initiative should however, not be misconstrued to replace existing systems but should be viewed as an effort to reinforce them.
The INFFs provide the framework for financing sustainable development as well as the SDGs, at country level. They also help identify and implement policies and reforms to increase and better align financing towards the achievement of national sustainable development priorities, espoused in the Botswana SDG Road Map. These dialogues further sought to facilitate discussions on how to operationalise a more integrated approach to financing through an INFF, similar to the ongoing outreach and consultative process central to the formulation of the National Budget, Di-Pitso.