Ministers of finance can play a critical role in promoting gender equality using such key instruments as the national budget, tax regulations, and institutional rules and regulations.
At the 2013 Annual Meetings of the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund, World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim welcomed Nigeria Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala’s proposal to create a Community of Practice (CoP) of Finance Ministers to advance gender equality, and offered to host the group's inaugural meeting at the 2014 Spring Meetings. The inaugural meeting of the CoP brought together Ministers from Jamaica, Mauritania, Morocco, Nigeria, Romania, Rwanda, Sierra Leone and Timor-Leste to discuss innovative approaches to advancing financing for gender equality results. Several high-level representatives of developed countries also expressed their support for the initiative.
The Community of Practice's key objectives are to:
- Promote financing for gender results
- Make national budgets more effective in supporting women’s and girls’ opportunities
- Promote learning and cross-fertilization by sharing innovative finance ministry-led approaches, and
- Support political momentum for gender equality goals in post-2015 agenda and associated financial commitments.
The CoP will be convened at ministerial level every six months, in line with other global events that require the presence of finance ministers, including the Annual and Spring Meetings of the World Bank Group and the IMF. Technical-level meetings will also be organized throughout the year, hosted by either the members of the CoP or other interested parties, to allow for an ongoing exchange of knowledge and best practices.
The current members of the CoP include the finance ministers from Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Ecuador, Jamaica, Mauritania, Morocco, Nepal, Nigeria, Romania, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Sweden, and Timor-Leste. The CoP welcomes additional finance ministers that have shown commitment and willingness to use their positions to promote gender equality. The CoP will be affiliated with a broader group of actors who are interested in promoting and supporting these ministers in their work, including the World Bank Group, UN Women and UK-DfID.