PROVIDENCIALES, Turks and Caicos Islands – Director of Economics at the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), Ian Durant advocated for the bank’s membership to embrace a new model for national budgeting which more closely aligns with and tracks progress to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Speaking at a Seminar entitled Budgeting for Sustainable Development at CDB’s 52nd Annual Meeting being held in the Turks and Caicos Islands on June 14, Durant stated:
“There is a need for effective mapping of expenditures to targets, to help improve resource allocation.” While indicating that an overhaul of existing parliamentary budget systems and governance structures was not required, he expressed a need for “…complementing existing mechanisms to monitor, measure, and evaluate investments with respect to targeted economic, social, and environment objectives.”
He added that the issues and challenges faced by Small Island Developing States, especially in terms of climate change and its impacts, are persistent and require modern, innovative, and inclusive solutions. The director stated that “in order to build a more resilient region, development activities must be targeted to achieve optimal results for intended beneficiaries. Better measurement of spending and planning strategies are required.”
Durant further stated that the CDB, recognising this need, is moving with deliberate haste to strengthen regional and national efforts toward achieving the SDGs.
Discussants at the seminar included private and public sector interests, who demonstrated, from varying perspectives, the benefits of results-based measurement and budgeting to achieve greater economic, social, environmental, institutional and, financial resilience, all while working towards national development goals and the SDGs. Mapping of budgetary and planning methods in Mexico, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago, all Member Countries of CDB, were examined by the panel.
According to Pennelope Beckles-Robinson, minister of planning and development, Trinidad and Tobago: “We recognise that more must be done…. The government,” she stated, “understands the importance of data and statistics whether accurate, timely, sufficiently disaggregated and accessible and easy to use particularly for decision-makers.”
She added that strengthening the statistical system would improve development by facilitating improved decision-making and an increase in evidence-based policies and that these actions, once complemented by cross-sectoral partnerships and engagements, can build a more resilient region. These partnerships are vital and start with the engagement of stakeholders, communication between agents, and the support of national and regional ecosystems.
An example of this cross-fertilisation of development financing, planning and measurement mapped to the SDGs in the private sector was presented by Richard Sammy, vice president elect of designate, Republic Bank Financial Limited, whose organisation is the first indigenous bank to formalise an environmental sustainability office and sign on to the United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP) principles of responsible banking.
The bank, he stated, is leading on identifying territory-specific SDGs and including these in the institution’s sustainability and governance. Data-driven environmental, social, governance reforms will inform decision-making throughout the group’s operations, inclusive of its investment portfolios.
Expanding on this point, Durant emphasised that entrenching some best practices in measurement and budgeting for the SDGs in national plans is essential for identifying development priorities and anchoring strategic planning and budgetary expenditure. Embedding the SDGs as targets underpinning the planning process is an important step in improving the planning approach and progress towards achieving the SDGs requires using a whole of government and society approach with the meaningful engagement and action by all actors.
Also speaking at the event were Catherine Kruger, Inter-regional Advisor, The Partnership in Statistics for Development in the 21st Century (PARIS 21) and Francine Baron, chief executive officer, climate resilience execution agency for Dominica.