Center of Excellence in Finance
Learning and Regional Cooperation in South East Europe

CEF Participated at the 2013 CAPE Conference: Budgeting in the Real World

Nov 26, 2013


A country’s national budget is one of the most tangible expressions of how a government aims to govern. It ostensibly sets the political, economic and development agenda for the whole nation. In practice, the difference between what is on paper and how budgets are actually made and spent can be stark.

The 2013 CAPE Conference, hosted by the Overseas Development Institute on November 13-14 in London, looked at how budgets actually work in the real world and explored the latest thinking on how they can deliver better development outcomes. Bringing together a distinguished array of global leaders and thinkers, the conference aimed to shed light on two overarching questions:

  • How does budgeting and public financial management really work in practice?
  • What can reformers do to strengthen budgets to improve development outcomes?

The session: The practice of budgeting – what drives the performance of budget systems? explored the broader factors beyond the narrowly technical public financial management domain that shape the way budgets are made and executed. Jana Repanšek, CEF deputy director, who was one of the panelists at the conference, pointed out that technical knowledge of budgeting (hard knowledge) is extremely important, but it is just a tip of an iceberg. Technical experts are able to perform at their best when they develop—besides technical knowledge—also soft skills, like the ability to present and communicate policies, lead teams and coordinate.

Furthermore, fiscal institutions are able to better develop their capacities when they are supported by an enabling public administration and governance environment. With a focus on capacity development of experts working on public financial management issues, the CEF also devotes significant attention to soft skills. In addition, the CEF strives to partner with institutions that concentrate on public administration and governance reforms in South East Europe that help create an enabling environment for effective budgeting and public financial management.

The main products from the conference are a framing paper setting out the relevant theory and evidence on the conference theme and questions and a conference report summarizing the main points made by speakers, discussants and participants. The latter will be published on the ODI website in due time.

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