Social policy and public finance for children
UNICEF intervenes to strengthen commitment, accountability and national capacity for legislating and budgeting with a view to inclusive social policy and public finance for children
Since investment in social sectors has impacts on families and children, it contributes to the social, economic and cultural development of a country. However, in Madagascar, allocations to the health and education sectors (as a percentage of GDP) do not yet meet international recommendations for the benefit of families and children. In 2017, the budget allocated to the Ministry of Health represents 6 percent of the national budget, whereas for education, it represents 18 percent.
In addition, 91 percent of the Malagasy population lives below the national poverty line; in drought-affected areas, the rate is 98 percent. Children are among the most affected, with 4 out of 5 children living in a state of monetary poverty. The number of children will reach over 20 million by 2050. This rapid development might constitute a demographic dividend or significant economic and social challenges if children's issues are not prioritized.
Support for social policies and coherent advocacy efforts led by various social actors are essential to face these challenges.
Advocacy for investment in social sectors and budget transparency
Since 2016, UNICEF has undertaken various activities to advocate for investment in social sectors (health, education, nutrition, social protection, water and sanitation) and to have a transparent budget, offering good visibility on allocations and expenditures for the social sectors and children, in collaboration with the Budget Department at the Ministry of Finance and Budget. These activities include:
• Support for developing and disseminating Citizen Budgets, as well as reporting to citizens;
• Support for developing and disseminating information on budget transparency;
• Create a functional website on budget transparency;
• Support for production of video reporting on budget transparency in Madagascar
Capacity building for national partners to improve budgeting process in social sectors
UNICEF engages in a political dialogue and national partnerships with the Government and civil society organizations with a view to an appropriate State budget for the objectives set for the different sectors (health, education, nutrition, social protection, water and sanitation).
This dialogue will contribute to greater commitment and responsibility, as well as to enhancing the national capacity for legislating, planning and budgeting for inclusive social policies.
The dissemination of the State budget on social sectors to the civil society, journalists and members of the private sector is part of the capacity building activities led by UNICEF.