Minding the Gaps: Integrating Poverty Reduction Strategies and Budgets for Domestic Accountability
By integrating their poverty reduction strategies (PRSs), national budgets, and the corresponding reporting processes, low-income countries can strengthen domestic accountability and the implementation of pro-poor policies. Minding the Gaps, based on nine low-income country case studies and a review of relevant experience in four higher-income countries, offers practical insights for donors and national governments on how to strengthen the links between PRSs and budgets.PRS countries' efforts to integrate policy with budgeting processes have often had limited effect. Their policy making, planning, and budgeting are often embedded in fragmented processes and institutions. Going beyond mainly technical fixes that have been commonly used to address this fragmentation, this study frames domestic accountability in terms of ownership and incentive structures. Experience counsels the use of a simple approach that is not too ambitious. This approach should be centrally led and make use of existing systems while gradually improving them. It should build support from within and foster incentives for integration, for example by better linking PRS and budget reporting to actual decision-making processes. Also, simple budget reforms can significantly improve the budget's responsiveness to policies. Structuring a poverty reduction strategy paper in a more budget friendly manner can facilitate the interface with the budget by involving sector agencies more closely in elaborating policy priorities and establishing resource implications. It can also expand ownership and boost incentives for integration of a great number of stakeholders, thereby strengthening domestic accountability.
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