Severe lack of transparency in the budget of the National Council of Women

From FUNDEPS we express our concern for the lack of transparency and clarity in the management of the budget for the National Council of Women announced in the last Official Gazette.

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On January 11 of this year, the budget modification for the National Women’s Council (CNM) and the National Plan of Action against Gender Violence (PNA) was reflected in the Official Gazette, signed by the Chief of Staff , Marcos Peña. Until December 2016, there was a budget approved by the National Congress, which included a CNM and NAP item for 47 million pesos, which was added an increase of 20 million pesos to the original budget planned for the CNM. The Budget Law 2017 was then promulgated with that increase from 96 to 116 million by 2017. In the current Administrative Decision 12/2017 of the Chief of Cabinet, only the amount of 96 million was designated for the CNM which implies a reduction of 67 Million pesos of the assigned budget.

From this confusing situation, an amparo action was filed by the Civil Association for Equality and Justice (ACIJ), the Latin American Justice and Gender Team (ELA), the Foundation for the Study and Research of Women (FEIM), The Argentine Commission for Migrants and Refugees (Caref), the Women in Equality Foundation (MEI) and the 21st Century Foundation. The organizations made a presentation to the Court to declare unconstitutional the reduction of funds allocated to the National Council of Women And the National Plan of Action against Gender Violence, demanding the State for the violation of the division of powers and the discretionary use of “superpowers”.

The authorities of the National Women’s Council tried to deny this information through an official press release and various statements in the media, claiming that it was an “error” and that the budget item, although not properly published in The Official Gazette, was guaranteed by the Ministry of Finance.

We emphasize the importance of carrying out the budgetary allocation according to established procedures, in order not to weaken institutional quality and respect democratic processes. On the other hand, if the elimination of these funds in the Administrative Decision was the product of an error, in order to be valid, the same must be corrected and published in the Official Gazette, according to the formal process. As of today, more than a month has elapsed since the publication of the Administrative Decision, it has not yet become official. This demonstrates the seriousness of the situation and the unclear and transparent management of the budget by the Office of the Chief of Staff.

As the budget line announced in the NAP is one of the points where progress was made in protecting women, we express our concern about this evidence of institutional fragility, lack of clarity and transparency that weakens the achievements against violence of genre. This situation violates the rights of women and girls in a country where every 18 hours a woman dies a victim of violence.

We also add our call for greater transparency in the mechanisms for monitoring public funds for budget execution and for greater clarity in the decisions taken by state agencies that affect the lives of millions of women.

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Emiilia Pioletti –