The Australia – Cambodia Cooperation for Equitable and Sustainable Services (ACCESS) Program’s support to the Ministry of Women’s Affairs for Gender-Responsive Budgeting (GRB)

The Australia – Cambodia Cooperation for Equitable and Sustainable Services (ACCESS) Program’s support to the Ministry of Women’s Affairs for Gender-Responsive Budgeting (GRB)

On 12 August 2021, the Australia – Cambodia Cooperation for Equitable and Sustainable Services (ACCESS) Programheld a meeting with the Ministry of Women’s Affairs (MoWA) on Gender-Responsive Budgeting (GRB). Her Excellency Kim Siphat, Secretary of State at MoWA chaired the meeting and provided opening remarks along with Ms Elizabeth Adler, Second Secretary at the Australian Embassy to Cambodia. This was the second session with MoWA for presentations and discussions related to GRB, with the first having been held in April.

The main objective of the meeting was to present the key findings and recommendations on integrating gender equity into the budget processes and discuss the next steps on stakeholder collaboration (with MoWA, ACCESS/DFAT and possibly others based on MoWA advice) and options for future engagement with the Ministry of Economic and Finance (MEF) / General Secretariat for Public Financial Management Reform Program Steering Committee (PFMRP-GSC).

Twenty-five participants from the General Directorate of Gender Equality and Economic Development, the General Directorate of Administration and General Affairs of MoWA, the Australian Embassy to Cambodia and the ACCESS team attended the meeting and actively discussed the next steps for stakeholder collaboration, including possible engagement with MEF/PFMRP-GSC.

The Director of Gender Equality at MoWA, Ms Cheng Chinneth, presented key achievements relating to GRB and the draft GRB roadmap. She also highlighted the support that the ACCESS Program has provided to MoWA through the Department of Gender Equality to ensure gender-responsive budgets and social services are included in the Commune/Sangkat Investment Programs (CIPs). Mr Jonathan Dunn, PFM Advisor on the ACCESS Program, presented key findings and recommendations on integrating gender equity into budget processes. In the context of ACCESS’ Annual Work Plan for Year 4, ACCESS partners MoWA and MEF have both expressed an interest in collaborating, including strengthening practical guidance on gender integration provided in the annual MEF Budget Strategic Plan and Program Budget circulars for line ministries.

Ms Elizabeth Adler stated in the meeting, “In the context of the ACCESS program, the Government of Australia is also looking at encouraging the Royal Government of Cambodia to progressively allocate resources to eliminate violence against women and promote disability inclusion. We are aware of the importance of MoWA’s role as the lead entity for gender mainstreaming and GBV to advocate for line ministries to prioritise actions and allocate a budget that adequately meets gender and GBV requirements.”

Her Excellency Kim Siphat expressed that this meeting provided important inputs to the MoWA team to be used for further refinement and strengthening of the MoWA roadmap to support and promote GRB at the national and sub-national levels. She appreciated the support from the Australian Government, through the ACCESS Program, to support this meeting in collaboration with MoWA to promote gender equality in Cambodia. Most importantly, HE The Chhun Hak, Director General of Gender Equality and Economic Development of MoWA, expressed MoWA’s plan to establish a GRB working group to ensure effective coordination and collaboration among key stakeholders.