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State Budget and the Sustainable Development Goals: an opportunity for better budgeting?

The United Nations General Assembly adopted the 2030 Agenda, which unites the efforts of all countries to achieve sustainable development by that year with 17 development areas and an equal number of universal objectives - the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Implementing the necessary public policies in this regard requires instruments such as the national budget to take these goals into account. Budgeting for the SDGs (B4SDG) thus emerges as an instrument aimed at better budgeting, promoting the incorporation of these goals, in a systematic and transversal way, into the decision-making process of governments.

 

From a planning point of view, Portugal has taken some steps with the publication of Council of Ministers Resolution 5/2023 of 23 January, which established a model for coordinating and monitoring the implementation of the SDGs. However, even though the 2024 State Budget proposal put forward a new perspective on the budget, grouping appropriations from the various budget programmes by SDG, annual targets associated with these appropriations have yet to be identified.

 

To monitor progress on the SDGs and their targets, a set of indicators has been agreed. This non-binding list should be adapted to each country's situation. In the case of Portugal, 170 out of 248 indicators (69 per cent) were selected. As is the case in many countries, there are limitations in terms of the availability, timeliness, and quality of data, which makes it difficult to choose them and to assess trends in the indicators. Considering the Voluntary National Review, presented in July 2023 at the High-Level Political Forum for Sustainable Development, supported by INE/Portugal Statistics data, almost half (45%) of the targets showed a favourable evolution.

 

Budgeting with a perspective on the SDGs provides an opportunity to integrate the process of formulating and reviewing public policies into the budget cycle, compatible with the annual and multiannual targets, considering the resources of the European multiannual financial framework. Strengthening the multiannual perspective and the effective implementation of the budget framework law, particularly regarding programme-based budgeting, appear to be critical elements to consider for a more qualified assessment of public spending.

Date of last update: 30/11/2023

Other Publications . Occasional paper nº 2/2023 . 30 November 2023