The COVID-19 pandemic has made achieving the SDGs more challenging for most developing countries. Botswana is no exception. The pandemic continues to disrupt global and domestic supply chains as well as foreign direct investment. The overall impact on society and economy has been significant, with most advanced and developing economies recording negative year-on-year growth rates. These conditions have prompted policy makers to take a fresh look at development financing and the ever more important role that an Integrated National Financing Framework (INFF) can play in effectively and efficiently managing development resources so as to maximize impact. A viable INFF must be comprehensive—risk-informed, climate focused, and gender sensitive and responsive to the country’s development priorities.
A UN Joint Programme (JP) that runs through June 2022 is designed to support the Government’s efforts to develop an operational SDGs financing strategy through a national financing framework (INFF). The JP also seeks to support the Government’s desire to achieve efficiency in spending through containing costs, avoiding waste, addressing corruption and illicit financial flows using the zero-based budgeting in sector ministries, departments, and agencies (MDAs).
The four participating United Nations Organisations - UNDP, UNICEF, UNWOMEN, and UNFPA-- are working with the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development and other MDAs as well as with other development actors to support the implementation of the JP. The Ministry of Nationality, Immigration and Gender Affairs is responsible for implementing the gender component while the Ministry of Health and Wellness leads the implementation of the investment case for family planning. Together these different threads feed into an integrated national financing framework for the SDGs. The inclusion of both family planning as well as gender mainstreaming has been welcomed by government and development partners.
Gender equality and empowerment of women are high on the policy agenda of the government. Therefore, the development of a gender mainstreamed INFF is in line with Government’s policy priorities. The unmet need for family planning in Botswana is not tracked nor is there a family planning strategic plan to guide Government actions. The investment case for family planning aims to address this challenge by better understanding local needs, funding flows and the gaps pertaining to family planning. This will help define the scale and scope of investments needed. Also, by mainstreaming practices such as gender-based budgeting, the JP hopes to ensure that the needs of women and girls are prioritized. By placing family planning and gender at the centre of development financing and budgeting not only brings a new approach and fresh perspective, but also creates a viable path to addressing these long-standing development issues.