Medium-Term Expenditure Planning for National Sustainable Development

3 November, 2017
Embargoed until 6 November 2017

Medium-Term Expenditure Planning for National Sustainable Development

Representatives of Ministries and Departments of Finance and National Planning, and Central Banks from 16 countries (Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu) will meet in Apia, Samoa this week to develop strategies for improving medium-term expenditure planning to achieve national sustainable development. The focus will be on health and education spending, inclusive budgeting and countries’ demographics.

The five-day meeting, organized by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) Pacific Office and the Pacific Financial Technical Assistance Centre (PFTAC), in conjunction with the Samoa Ministry of Finance, will center on strengthening medium-term budgeting links with national development plans. Participants will discuss ways to: ensure national / sector plans are adequately funded in national budgets; incorporate demographics into fiscal projections; improve the quality of government spending and services delivery; and measure and monitor outcomes.

While opening the Workshop, Chief Executive Officer of Samoa’s Ministry of Finance, Lavea Tupa’imatuna Iulai Lavea, emphasised that, “national plans are important and remain a good policy guide but they are not meant to be action documents. Budgets are action documents and remain the most powerful tool for governments to implement policies, and create opportunities and services that people need most. Improving the link between national development and sector plans and the budget is therefore essential”.

In providing welcoming remarks at the Workshop, the United Nations Resident Coordinator, Lizbeth Cullity, said, “the United Nations Pacific Strategy (UNPS) 2018-2022 outlines the collective response of the UN system to the development priorities in Pacific nations, inter alia, supporting member states with a localized response to the global 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development tailored to each country’s national priorities. The UNPS recognises that strengthening accountability for the use of public finance remains key to successfully implement national plans and priorities”.

“Medium term expenditure planning for sustainable development remains a key challenge for countries in the region. The first step to overcoming the challenge is establishing robust fiscal frameworks which are maintained through-out the national development planning cycle,” said David Kloeden, Coordinator of PFTAC.

“We are pleased to organize this workshop in response to the 2017 Forum Leaders’ meeting call on the UN system to support the implementation of the Pacific Roadmap for Sustainable Development,” Iosefa Maiava, Head of the ESCAP Pacific Office said.

An important objective of the workshop is to develop guidelines on good practice for strengthening medium-term expenditure planning and better linkages to national budgets.