Step 3.4B: Reviewing the national budgeting process

At present, most biodiversity financing comes from the public sector through ministries, public and quasi-governmental agencies, and local governments. Because of this, the national and subnational budgeting process is a principal area to map and understand.

Some questions that this review can address include:
  • What is the budget formulation framework and calendar at the national level?

  • What is the role of the different levels of government in the budgeting process?

  • When and by whom are budget decisions taken?

  • When and how are changes in the budget programmed and enacted?

  • Who are the stakeholders and decision makers responsible for budget preparation, legislation, execution and auditing?

  • Is budgeting done at both the national and local level? If so, describe the similarities, differences and relationships between them.

  • How are budgets prepared at the sectoral and agency level?

  • Are biodiversity-related budgets aligned with the national budgeting process?

Familiarity with the budgeting process allows insights into the institutions and other stakeholders responsible for planning and budgeting, and provides an understanding of how to introduce changes in programming. For example, the observation of perennial “underfunding” of biodiversity can be assessed and better understood by analysing the steps in the budgeting process. We could better understand things like at what level proposed budgets get curtailed. Other challenges to better integrating biodiversity into the budgeting process include the inability to articulate or link biodiversity targets with mediumterm plans and other national targets, or to allocate or disburse funds from previous budgeting allocations, which jeopardize requests for additional budgets. A fundamental challenge for most countries is the earmarking of biodiversity revenues into the budgeting framework, as explained in the next section.

The budgeting process varies from country to country. It is iterative, in that it is perpetually being implemented and requires ongoing adjustments; and it is cyclical according to an established routine: i) budget preparation; ii) approval; iii) execution; and (iv) auditing. Figure 3.1 and Box 3.7 provide an example of the budget process from Uganda.

Figure 3.1: Framework for Linking Policies and Strategies to Budgeting in Uganda

Box 3.7: Budgeting Processes in Uganda


In Uganda, government financing for biodiversity conservation is articulated in the national budget process, which is informed by the National Development Plan (NDP), Sector Strategic or Investment Plans (SIP), Sector Budget Framework Papers (BFPs) and Annual Budgets. The annual budget cycle in figure 3.2 shows that budget preparation takes place within ministries and other agencies before it is aggregated at the sector level. The oversight for the sector occurs within the Sector Working Group (SWG). SWG discussions are based on sector priorities, allocation and review of the government budget ceilings. The budget ceilings indicate the government’s distribution of resources across different sectors based on priorities in the NDP and annual budget strategy.

Figure 3.2: Example of the Budgeting Cycle in Uganda

A recent UNDP study on protected area financing in Latin America underscored the need for better budget planning and preparation and results in the following conclusions:

  • PA budgets can be better designed to convince decision makers in the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of finance.
  • Budgets can be better supported with data including conservation results, detailed historical costs and cost comparisons, clear financial needs, and both economic impact and results-based indicators.
  • Site managers should be more engaged in the process.
  • Attention to national budget formulation deadlines is necessary to avoid simply repeating the previous year’s budget.