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Tools and methods used for formulating and analysing government budgeting for the progressive realisation of socio-economic rights
A Guide for State and non-State Human Rights Advocates and Researchers
Budget analysis is a key component of SER monitoring. It allows human rights advocates toanalyse budgetary decisions made by governments, beginning with enforceable obligationsunder international and national law. Thus, an SER budget analyst must understand
1. the key components of a particular SER and how these components find expression in budgets;2. the methods and logistics of obtaining and understanding budgets; and3. how to connect a budget to the SER under review.
Armed with these skills and numbers, budget analysts can assess governments’ budgetary policies from a human rights basis, bringing to light successes and gaps, and providing viable alternatives to current spending where necessary.
This Guide will provide an overview of each of these aspects of SER monitoring, and how theytranslate in the South African context, with reference to practical examples used by civil societyto monitor the advancement of SER through budget analysis. It is envisioned that the Guide willprovide a useful resource for human rights advocates to understand the process of monitoringthe progressive realisation of SER using tools of budget analysis. It is also hoped that the Guidewill inform renewed and coordinated activism amongst civil society groups and organisationsinterested in SER monitoring, through the production of evidence-based research requiredto assist the government to reprioritise the budget in a manner that advances, rather thanhinders, the full realisation and enjoyment of SER.
The development of this Guide was informed by a variety of actors and perspectives, includingpolicy-makers involved in SER budget decision-making processes, and researchers andorganisations that monitor the advancement of SER in South Africa. A Roundtable discussion,hosted by SPII and the SAHRC, brought together these various actors to discuss:
_how the government budget is formulated and implemented in a manner that either advances,or inhibits, the progressive realisation of socio-economic rights, within – and to the maximum of –available resources._
Presentations were made by representatives of the National Treasury, Open Democracy AdviceCentre, Socio-Economic Rights Institute, Black Sash, Social Justice Coalition, Equal Educationand the Public Service Accountability Monitor.The Roundtable unpacked the conceptual challenges and opportunities of engaging in SERbudget work; how the South African Constitution informs budget prioritisation, formulationand implementation; the availability of data that is transparent and accessible; and the practicalimplications of monitoring the advancement of SER through budget analysis.