28.01.2014 | IBP

Creating Sustainable Development Budgets

No Sustainable Development Goals without Sustainable Development Budgets, by Jens Martens, Director, Global Policy Forum

The current discussions about a post-2015 agenda focus on what global agreements will succeed the United Nations Millennium Development Goals and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) after 2015. But any new set of SDGs will have little impact if the goals are not reflected in countries’ fiscal policies and translated into corresponding “Sustainable Development Budgets.” Therefore, environmental-social fiscal reforms should be a key element in any future sustainable development finance strategy and an integral part of the post-2015 agenda.

Sustainable Budgeting and Environmentally Harmful Subsidies, by Jacqueline Cottrell, Senior Policy Advisor, Green Budget Europe/Germany

Reform of environmentally harmful subsidies (EHS) is fundamental for a sustainable society and economy. Subsidies can be defined as “any measure that keeps prices for consumers below market levels, or for producers above market levels, or that reduces costs for consumers and producers” (OECD 1998) and are used to encourage desired activities or support certain industries or individuals. However, not all subsidies lead to widespread benefits. And, sustainable government budgeting means efficient budgeting: money is a scarce resource, so it’s absolutely crucial that we spend it wisely. Subsidies that encourage environmentally harmful behavior, like paying polluters to pollute, is simply not sustainable.

Budgeting for the Environment in the Philippines, by Isagani Serrano, President,
Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement (PRRM)

Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines in November 2013, and by 12 December it had left behind 5,982 dead, 1,779 missing, 27,022 wounded (National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council), about 4 million displaced, and estimated damages amounting to more than PHP 35.5 billion — making it the deadliest Philippine typhoon on record. This super typhoon revealed the country’s level of vulnerability and adaptive capacity and exposed a serious governance weakness: policies on the environment and climate change are not adequately supported by budgets at the moment.

A Canadian Approach to Greening Budgets: the Green Budget Coalition, by Andrew Van Iterson, manager, Green Budget Coalition

Greening government budgets is a worldwide challenge. In Canada environmental civil society organizations have developed an initiative with unique strengths, expertise, and a track record of succeeding at that very challenge: the Green Budget Coalition (GBC).

At the heart of IBP's work are efforts to make government budgeting more transparent and participatory, more responsive to national priorities, better able to resist corruption, and more efficient and effective.