Social and Economic Policy

Social budgeting

© UNICEF/ HQ05-1068/Roger LeMoyne

Social and gender-sensitive budgeting in context

UNICEF’s mission is to help countries ensure that all children enjoy the right to conditions necessary for a safe and happy childhood, as well as those that will allow them to develop to their full potential as human beings and citizens. The extent to which public investments are appropriately targeted toward boys and girls makes a huge difference in the fulfilment of these goals.

In trying economic times where economic growth and budgets are threatened, it is particularly important to ensure budgets protect services for children. Without this protection, we not only threaten the progress made toward the Millennium Development Goals, but plant the seeds of poverty for future generations. From a child rights perspective, social budget work focuses on building long-term institutions for child-friendly policies and budgets. Among the outcomes of social budget work are more—and more effectively channeled—resources for children, women and poor families.

To maximize resources for children, UNICEF supports governments to identify funding sources, create consensus around the need to invest more in children, and to use the central and local government budgets as tools to achieve sustainable progress in the fulfilment of children’s rights.

Monitoring the budgetary process

While UNICEF’s role in the budget process will vary from country to country, it will usually involve four common areas of work: conducting baseline analysis of the budget and its process; making the process more transparent and participatory; influencing budget allocations in favour of children and creating monitoring and; oversight mechanisms and improving implementation to ensure that expenditure is as effective as possible. The goals of public finance policy include:

  • Improving equity by ensuring that all have a voice in the budgeting process;
  • Improving efficiency by addressing agency and information problems, and;
  • Contributing to stabilization and crisis response through countercyclical social spending and investments.