CDKN policy dialogue calls for more gender-responsive budgeting to reduce gender inequalities

CDKN Asia organised an online dialogue with experts to discuss a draft policy brief on ‘Supporting Climate Action through Gender-Responsive Budgeting in Nepal’. The experts discussed several issues that needed to be highlighted such as lack of awareness about gender-responsive budgeting, lack of gender auditing and monitoring systems, women’s lack of capacity and meaningful representation in decision-making bodies and the risks of gender-neutral budgeting.

Opening the discussion, Ms. Shehnaaz Moosa, Director, CDKN, said, “There is a need to look at women as more than victims of climate change.” She added that it should be studied how often gender budgeting lead to action on the ground and whether it reduced inequality. Rachana Upadhyaya, Researcher at the Southasia Institute of Advanced Studies (SIAS), agreed, saying, “When we classify something as a gender-responsive activity, we have to consider how that activity can work to reduce gender inequality in the long term.”

Ms Kamala Gurung, Gender and Natural Resource Management Specialist, Livelihoods, ICIMOD, Nepal, suggested inclusion of women-focused activities as part of the policy brief’s recommendations and that gender-responsiveness needed to be cross-cutting.

Saying that budgets should not gender-neutral, Mairi Dupar, Senior Technical Advisor, Overseas development institute, emphasised that there should be gender-responsive budgeting even if women comprised just a fifth of the target group. When the impact of programmes are studied, then local contexts such as women’s access, climate impact, and increase in women’s workload following men’s out-migration should be considered, Marie-Eve Landry, Programme Management Officer, IDRC, said.

Asking for higher representation of women in governance, Naya Sharma Paudel, Executive Coordinator, ForestAction Nepal, pointed out, “Over 90% of the deputy chairpersons in political bodies are women at the local level. It would be interesting to see a Constitutional provision that translates gender-responsive budgeting into practice.”

Helping women to improve their capacity by introducing gender-friendly tools that reduce their load, including more women in decision-making bodies and processes and training local leadership to prepare gender-responsive budgets were some of the other suggestions made by Aastha Bhusal, senior programme officer at LI-BIRD, Shilshila Acharya, CEO, Himalayan Climate initiative, and Kaustav Raj, Researcher, SIAS.

The CDKN Asia team will be incorporating the comments and suggestions shared by the experts during the closed event. The policy brief will be published for public consumption shortly.