Analyze budgets

Author: FAO Right to Food Team

"How to" Series, 2007. Revised version, 2012.

The paper “Analyze Budgets” is a part of the “How to” series, which also includes the papers “Conduct a Right to Food Assessment”, “Legislate for the Right to Food” and “Monitor the Realization of the Right to Food”.

The 160 States Parties to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) are legally bound to progressively realize the right to food and other socio-economic rights to the “maximum of available resources”. Budget analysis is a method to assess to what extent this obligation is being met. Budget analysis is crucial in evaluating government decisions about allocation and distribution of scarce resources among competing priorities, and whether adequate resources are allocated to human rights. The analysis includes how funds are allocated and how revenue (e.g. tax) is obtained. Reliable data is vital to identify gaps between rhetoric and facts and to bring about the necessary changes required to fill these gaps.

This paper addresses right to food guidelines, identifies the duty bearers and stakeholders and gives a brief explanation of a budget analysis methodology. The paper also provides essential guidance on how to use budget work to:

  • Identify policies and programs that are essential to realize the right to food;
  • Analyze the government’s revenue and expenditures to determine how well these reflect and will help the implementation of the identified policies and programs;
  • Integrate this analysis into an overall perspective on government priorities and policy- making.

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