Amsterdam, the Netherlands – AWEPA is pleased to announce its new programme, Strengthening SADC Parliamentary Engagement in the Budget Cycle, funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID).
The programme, which represents AWEPA’s first collaboration with DFID, aims to encourage parliaments in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to reflect on their engagement in budget process overall, and the ex-ante phase in particular. Ultimately, the programme is expected to facilitate a budget process in parliament that takes into account both independent comparative information and country needs. Applying such an approach, the parliaments selected for the programme can position themselves as champions of the sustainable management of public resources, towards poverty reduction.
Upcoming programme activities will build on the long-standing relationship developed and maintained by AWEPA with SADC parliaments over the past thirty years. AWEPA’s work with the SADC Parliamentary Forum and other regional parliaments in Africa has always included a strong focus on regional dialogue and exchange, most recently through AWEPA’s programmes on Strengthening Regional Parliamentary Capacity in the Southern African Development Community and Strengthening Regional Parliaments towards Achieving the Millennium Development Goals.
Strengthening SADC Parliamentary Engagement in the Budget Cycle is intended to benefit participating Members of Parliament (MPs), parliamentary committees and parliamentary staff of SADC countries by addressing the need for data, dialogue and capacity-building in the budgeting process. Extensive comparative research, currently absent in the SADC region, will be conducted to ascertain the baseline of existing legal frameworks, parliamentary activism, and staff capacity available to support parliamentary engagement in the ex-ante phase of the budgeting process. The resulting data will inform peer-to peer reflection and analysis among SADC MPs for further discussion in their respective home parliaments.
Through continued dialogue at a national and regional level it is envisioned that participating parliaments will develop strategies to enhance involvement in the overall budgeting process, but in particular the budget formulation phase. Ultimately, a well-reflected institutional strategy for budgetary reform based on peer-to-peer exchange and independent data will inform staff training and future capacity development efforts. Parliaments will be placed in a better position to encourage the allocation of government resources to the poor and vulnerable. In the long run, national citizens of the SADC countries are expected to benefit indirectly from the promise of sustainable management of public resources – the heart of poverty reduction efforts.