How to Mitigate Social Vulnerabilities through Public Finance?

Mitigating Social Vulnerabilities through Public Finance:

Focus on Children and Adolescents

KEF discussions, Minsk, October 17, 2018

We kindly invite you to the discussion jointly organized by CASE Belarus, IPM Research Centre, and BEROC in Minsk.
An effective public finance management system is essential for the implementation of public policies and the achievement of strategic national objectives by supporting aggregate fiscal discipline, strategic allocation of resources and efficient service delivery. In Belarus the public finance system’s ability to contain the budget deficits during economic crises and recessions has been a priority since late 1990s. This ability was proven during 2011 crisis and 2014-2016 recession. Having in mind the importance of fiscal stability objective, it’s time to encourage more intensive use of existing resources on the side of line ministries and local authorities. Currently the control environment nudges those responsible for the delivery of public services to focus their efforts on compliance rather than improving performance and the effectiveness of service delivery (the ten-dency prevails to use coverage rather than result indicators). The introduction of results-oriented budgeting can improve public spending to serve better to final beneficiaries, especially the most vulnerable families, children and adolescents.

It’s timely now given the fact that the country’s progress made in reducing poverty has been deteriorating since end 2014, contributing to growing equity gaps for vulnerable groups. For instance, poverty rate in families with many children was 29% in 2017 – five-fold higher than the national poverty (5.9%). In 2016, 8.2% of adolescents and youth (15-24) were not in employment, education or training. A recent analysis of adolescent vulnerabilities has estimated that about 19% or 136,000 Belarusian adolescents aged 10-17 years could be considered vulnerable in 2016. This represents alarming intergenerational consequences of postponed actions to reduce vulnerabilities. For example, can’t male working age mortality rate four-fold higher than female one be associated with almost 15,000 adolescents (75% male) registered as having substance dependencies?

The Sustainable Development Goals’ implementation represents a window of opportunity to improve strategic allocation of resources to address vulnerable groups’ needs in Belarus. As an upper middle-income country, the government budget is likely to be the most important source of SDG financing for Belarus. Accelerating economic growth beyond 2.5%-3.5% per year will require significant and challenging changes to the governance of the state-owned sector and the social safety net. In the short run, moreover, the country’s fiscal constraints imply that the mobilization of significant additional fiscal resources in support of SDG achievement may require the re-prioritization of state expenditures, particularly in the social sectors. In this context this KEF discussion is timely as it creates a space for debating openly what needs to be done to make public interventions more systematic to reduce identified gaps in some SDG targets. It is time to take stocks of available global and local evidence coming from rigorous research and traditional cost-benefit and sectoral analyses. Since the majority of social sector’s programs is financed by local budgets a strong role in improving performance of public spending should be given to local level solutions aimed to support SDG localization and advance good (child-friendly) governance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mitigating Social Vulnerabilities through Public Finance:
Focus on Children and Adolescents
KEF discussions, Minsk, October 17, 2018

Hotel Beijin, 36, Krasnoarmeiskaya Street, Minsk

Registration and coffee (12:30–13:00)

Conference opening (13:00–13:30)
Dr. Rashed Mustafa Sarwar, UNICEF Representative to Belarus
Representative of the Ministry of Economy (TBC)
Sierz Naurodski, Executive Director at CASE Belarus
Alexander Chubrik, Director of the IPM Research Center

Keynote addresses (13:30–14:30)
Equity and Public Finance for Children
Dr. Jose Cuesta, Chief of Social and Economic Policy at the UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti (Florence, Italy)
Socio-economic Mobility across Generations: Belarus in the Global Context
Dr. Alexandru Cojocaru, Senior Economist at the Poverty Global Practice, World Bank

Why children and adolescents are at risk of vulnerabilities? (14.30–15:45)
Dimensions of Child Poverty in Belarus
Gleb Shymanovich, Economist at the IPM Research Center
Discussion:
Representative of the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection (TBC)
Dr. Joanne Bosworth, Regional Advisor, Social Policy, UNICEF Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia (ECARO)
Dr. Anastasia Bobrova, Head of Department, Institute of Economy, National Academy of Sciences of Belarus
Natalia Shcherbina, Head of Division, Institute of Economics of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus
Moderator: Katerina Siniuk, Founder of “IMENA” Magazine (TBC)

Coffee break (15:45–16:15)

How to design public finance in order to address the vulnerabilities? (16:15–17:30)
Commitment to Equity and Future Generation Orientation in Belarus
Dr. Kateryna Bornukova, Academic Director at BEROC
Discussion:
Representative of the Ministry of Finance (TBC)
Dr. Ludmila Borovik, First Deputy Director, Economic Research Institute at the Ministry of Economy
Andrei Zayats, Centre for System Analysis and Strategic Research, National Academy of Sciences of Belarus
Dzmitry Babicki, Senior Researcher, CASE Belarus
Moderator: Valery Borodenia, Deputy Chair of the Standing Committee on Budget and Finance of the House of Representatives of the National Assembly of Belarus

Buffet (17:30–18:30)

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