Ministry of Social Development and MIFTAH hold training workshop entitled: 'The conceptual framework for public and participatory budgets'
February 10, 2018

The Ministry of Social Development and MIFTAH held a training workshop on February 7 entitled: “The conceptual framework for public and participatory budgets” for the joint planning groups at the ministry. The workshop was conducted over two days at the Oasis Hotel in Jericho as part of the project Oxfam-funded “Finance for Development” under the supervision of Mr. Moayad Afaneh, public budget and international transparency standards expert.

Assistant deputy of directorate affairs at the Ministry of Social Development, Anwar Hamam said at the start of the workshop that the ministry’s shift towards social development was a shift in thinking, policies, approaches, programs, budgets and structures. He explained that the citizens’ budget is an actual reflection of the shift toward development, which is based on the concepts of partnership, rights, transparency and justice. He confirmed that the ministry was moving towards a participatory citizens’ budget that is built with input from citizens and beneficiaries.

Hamam explained that the ministry had begun to revive councils specialized in disabilities, the elderly, juveniles, children and the protection of women so they could assume their role in preparing and implementing the budget, similar to the case of the planning groups, which were closely linked to the citizens’ budget. This he said, was the future of the ministry, to establish as many social partnerships as possible at the local level.

Hamam said he took pride in the true partnership between the Ministry of Social Development and MIFTAH, which has allowed the ministry to be proactive in achieving the citizens’ budget and putting it in the forefront even at the Arab level in this field. He maintained that the ministry’s interest in the citizens’ budget stems from how it benefits from applying the standards of international transparency, because of its contribution to promoting and marketing the ministry’s new programs and approaches, and how it raises awareness on the work of the ministry. This, Hamam said, was the first step on the road to creating a participatory budget in addition to having effective monitoring over the application of the budget’s provisions.

MIFTAH CEO Dr. Lily Feidy also expressed pride in the ministry’s work, which she said represented a unique case of cooperation between the public (government) sector and civil society organizations. She commended the high-level of professionalism and confidence of those working at the Ministry of Social Development, pointing out that the training and raising awareness on the public and participatory budgets were the most important components for comprehensive social progress and development. Feidy called for more participation between the public and civil sectors so as to promote mutual trust and contribute to the smooth and transparent transfer of information from the public sector to the citizen.

Feidy thanked the Minister of Social Development Dr. Ibrahim Shaer and the ministry team, represented by Deputy Minister Daoud Dweik and Assistant Deputy for directorate affairs, Anwar Hamam, which she said had a clear vision for building democratic and transparent institutions. She also commended the team on their sense of responsibility and faith in the integrative work between civil institutions and the public sector.

The training seeks to capitalize on the institutionalization of the citizen budget in the work of the Ministry of Social Development with the view of progressing towards participatory budgeting. This includes meeting the needs of marginalized and vulnerable sectors. Based on this, the workshop discussed several concepts related to the state’s public budget and the conceptual, economic, social, legal and legislative frameworks that regulate it, in addition to the concept of participatory budgets and the requirements for implementing such a budget. The training workshop concluded with Dr. Feidy and Mr. Hamam distributing certificates to the participants from the ministry team, and confirming the strategic partnership between the ministry and MIFTAH which lends to the spirit of cooperation between the public sector and civil society institutions. She thanked Minister Shaer and his team for their support and cooperation, MIFTAH’s team, namely, project coordinator Tamara Tamimi and commended the efforts of budgets’ expert Moayad Afaneh.

It is worth mentioning that the cooperation between MIFTAH and the Ministry of Social Development has produced a number of achievements, including: the preparation and publication of the 2016 and 2017 citizens’ budget, with ongoing work on the 2018 budget. A guidebook was also published on the preparation of the citizens’ budget as a first step in the move toward participatory budgeting and planning.