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THE DOCTRINE OF SOCIAL PROTECTION AGENDA OF THE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS AND ITS FISCAL CHALLENGE ARREARS

The moment a large investor doesn’t believe a government will pay back its debt when it says it will, a crisis of confidence could develop. Investors have scant patience for the years of good governance – politically fraught fiscal restructuring, austerity and debt rescheduling – it takes to defuse a sovereign-debt crisis”.

-Andrew Ross Sorkin 

Assessing Fiscal Space for SDG 

  • Introduction: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,” says the famous opening sentence of one of the most well-known masterpieces of English literature. The world finds itself in conflicting conditions in the first quarter of the twenty-first century, similar to those that Charles Dickens witnessed in western Europe in the last quarter of the eighteenth century.

 WHAT IS FISCAL SPACE :

The concept of fiscal space emerged in the late 1990s as part of broader discussions between countries and international financial institutions about the ability to increase public spending—which was sometimes deemed necessary for a variety of “meritorious” reasons—while remaining fiscally sound and not jeopardizing government solvency. Fiscal space is typically defined as the “room in a government’s budget that permits it to offer resources for a particular purpose without jeopardizing its financial sustainability or economic stability.” (Heller, 2005) and “funding made accessible to the government as a result of concrete policy actions aimed at increasing resource mobilization” (Heller, 2005). (Roy et al., 2007). “Fiscal space is the financing that is available to government as a result of concrete policy actions for enhancing resource mobilization and the reforms necessary to secure the enabling governance, institutional, and economic environment for these policy actions to be effective, for a specified set of development objectives,” according to a more generic definition we use in this paper.

The need to generate budgetary room has never been stronger than now, in a period of fragile global recovery, austerity, and slow growth. Given the importance of public investments for human rights and the SDGs, governments must investigate all alternatives for increasing budgetary space to promote national socioeconomic development, including jobs and social protection. First and foremost, it is vital to acknowledge that the government’s spending and revenue alternatives are extremely varied. Many countries do not employ all available resources to achieve human rights; instead, they maintain lower levels of government revenues and public expenditures – it is crucial to recognise that this is a public policy choice.

  • HOW TO MAKE FISCAL SPACE WORK

A fiscal rule constrains fiscal policy over time by imposing numerical limits on budgetary aggregates. The regulation can be established through policy or legislation, but it must have been effective for three years.

Note: The boundaries, colours, denominations, and other information on the maps do not indicate any judgement on the legal status of any region or any endorsement or recognition of such boundaries on the part of the International Monetary Fund. 

Fiscal rules are divided into four categories:

RULES FOR DEBT Set a clear public debt ceiling + Direct relationship to debt sustainability + Easy to communicate and monitor – No clear short-term direction – Can lead to pro-cyclicality

RULES FOR BUDGET BALANCE Limit the growth of the debt ratio + Provide clear operational guidelines + Be simple to communicate and monitor – Can cause pro-cyclicality

RULES FOR EXPENDITURE Limit total, primary, and current spending + Clear operational advice + Allows for economic stabilization + Relatively straightforward to communicate/monitor – No direct link to debt sustainability – Can lead to composition changes

RULES OF REVENUE Set revenue caps or floors + Controls government size + Improves revenue policy and management – No direct link to debt sustainability – Can cause pro-cyclicality

Framework for Assessing Fiscal Space:

A sustainable fiscal policy, in our opinion, is one that

  1. does not jeopardize long-term budgetary sustainability
  1. It is not based on charity or depending on exogenous (and, as has been pointed out, highly volatile) external financial sources like bilateral aid and concessional and non-concessional foreign borrowing.

An analytical framework that describes the significant aspects of such a long-term resource mobilization framework is required for such a policy. There are two critical contrasts in establishing an analytical framework for long-term fiscal policy vs short-term budgetary policy. The first is endogeneity over a lengthy period. The fiscal space diamond is a handy practical tool for explaining such an analytical framework. The diamond’s goal is to answer the following issues for policymakers: What are the macro-fiscal options for increasing budgetary flexibility to achieve desired policy goals? To be operationally sound, a fiscal space diagnostic must be highly country-specific.

The fiscal space diamond is made up of four pillars that make up the universe of budgetary space options. The diamond can be used as an operational tool in a variety of situations depending on the policy assumptions. Steps to make government spending more Pareto-efficient (for example, productivity increases) and tax administration reform projects would be of greater immediate utility than spending switching policies and tax policy measures to boost revenue. The latter indicators, on the other hand, are unlikely to have the same long-term importance as the former.

Doctrine of Social Protection Agenda of Sustainable Development Goals and Its Fiscal Challenge Arrears

♦ Matrix of fiscal space strategies :

♦ Reprioritizing public spending: One method for increasing social spending is to rethink sector-specific allocations within existing budgets. Reprioritizing government spending is typically a contentious and challenging process. A strong political will is required for success. Because no more resources are available, opposition to restructuring originates from the reality that other sectors or sub-sectors must be abolished to make place for more important social spending – these sectors usually represent deeply entrenched societal interests. To put it another way, this strategy presupposes that the total budget is fixed and that changes to its structure must adhere to the rules of a zero-sum game in which certain winners and losers compete for budget reallocations. Both in developed and developing countries, vested interests and ideological posturing frequently exploit the issue — for example, social spending causes insurmountable deficits while disregarding significantly larger military or non-productive expenditures. Several studies have indicated that during budgetary consolidation and adjustment processes, pro-poor budget items are disproportionately impacted (e.g. Cornia et al., 1987, Hicks, 1991, ILO, 2014, Ortiz et al., 2015; Ravallion, 2002, 2004 and 2006). Although increasing social budgets is difficult, there are strategies to prioritize socially relevant spending even when overall budgets are shrinking. First and foremost, this reprioritization necessitates that governments establish their budget priorities. If a political agreement is reached on the following strategies, the political and technical constraints of identifying sectors/sub-sectors that can be lowered to promote fiscal space can be overcome (see Ortiz, 2008a, Scholz et al., 2000)

1. Reprioritization via Public Expenditure Reviews (PERs) and Social Budgets: These are well-developed approaches to public financial management that bring evidence and rationale to public policy-making by demonstrating the effects of current budgetary allocations.

2. Replacing high-cost, low-impact investments with low-cost, high-impact initiatives; New public assets can be reexamined; for example, many substantial infrastructure projects or banking system rescues have little social consequences yet need large sums of public funds. Budget items with high recurring expenses but little social benefit, such as military spending, should be reconsidered. For example, Costa Rica and Thailand cut military budgets to fund required social investments (case study). Many nations, including Ghana and Indonesia, are already phasing out energy subsidies, providing an excellent opportunity to create social protection systems. One strategic approach to replace high-cost, low-impact interventions is a social dialogue that incorporates relevant stakeholders and public discussions, which can help to reduce the potential effect of large lobbying groups on public policy-making.

3. Eliminating inefficiencies: While this is related to the preceding point, a more thorough examination of sector investments is required to eliminate inefficiencies. In particular, the overall cost-effectiveness of a programme or policy should be objectively assessed based on several factors, including (i) coverage (beneficiaries and benefits); (ii) total cost (as a percentage of GDP, public expenditure, and sector expenditure); (iii) administrative costs (as a percentage of total costs and how the costs compare to other programmes – for example, means-testing targeting is typically expensive); and (iv) long-term social benefits. It is also necessary to strengthen sector allocations to make them more efficient.

4. Combating corruption: Corruption can provide enormous monetary space for socio-economic development. Increased availability of resources for social and economic growth can be achieved by improving transparency and good governance standards and combating illicit financial flows.

Case Study : Thailand: Reallocating military expenditures for universal social protection

The Thai economy and society were significantly impacted by the Asian financial crisis of 1997. Civil society’s efforts for the government to address neglected social issues were backed by the 1997 Constitution, which led to the government’s adoption of the Universal Health Care Scheme in 2001. Given that about a third of the population was uninsured at the time, most of whom worked in the informal agricultural sector and had irregular income, reaching universal coverage through contributory schemes alone was impossible; budget help was required. The majority of the improvements in public health were paid for by cutting defence spending and lowering debt service payments. The government included the Universal Health Care Scheme as a larger fiscal stimulus package. Other initiatives, such as establishing a Those’s Bank, a debt moratorium for farmers, and a village fund, boosted the amount of money in people with a solid inclination to spend.

 Increasing tax revenues:

Increasing tax compliance and boosting tax rates are two ways that could be used to mobilize additional public funds without abandoning other spending goals. On the other hand, new taxes increase government revenue only when they are well-designed and implemented. New tax income might potentially help equity aims and boost a country’s overall economic condition. This is especially true in cases when inequities are prominent. Suppose income tax rates are raised among a country’s wealthiest citizens. In that case, more excellent cash can be created and invested in poor and vulnerable households, lowering poverty and inequality and ensuring long-term inclusive growth. It has been unusual in recent history to increase progressive taxation on the wealthiest income categories to fund social and pro-poor expenditures. This is mainly due to the wave of liberalization and deregulation measures that began in the early 1990s and swept across most economies. Many nations responded by offering tax exemptions and subsidies to attract foreign capital and lower income taxes on the wealthiest individuals and corporations to promote domestic investment.

Furthermore, many countries imposed other consumption taxes to compensate for the revenue losses caused by these tax schemes. Most governments still have a tax policy framework related to liberalization and deregulation. In contrast to progressive, equity-based policies, many existing tax regimes are regressive in that they take a more significant percentage of income from poor households than from wealthy families. Tax policy discussions must prioritize distributional effects across income groups, geographies, and other factors. Many governments are attempting to boost tax collections to improve fiscal space for equitable development. Efforts are being made in both developed and developing countries to narrow loopholes, strengthen collection capacities, and extend the tax base, including cracking down on corporate tax cheating, estimated to cost India $10 billion per year in lost revenue. Christian Aid (2008) and EURODAD (2014) are two examples.

Case study

Brazil: A levy on financial transactions to fund public health and social security 

From 1997 to 2007, the Contribuiço “Provisória” por Movimentaço Financeira (CPMF) tax was imposed in Brazil. Deductions from financial institution accounts were used to contribute. The CPMF quota reached a maximum of 0.38 per cent of the value of financial transactions. The CPMF was classed as a “social contribution” for accounting purposes because it was designed primarily to pay social protection expenses. When the tax was in effect, 42% of the revenue was allocated to the public unified health system, 21% to social insurance, 21% to Bolsa Familia, and 16% to other social reasons. By 2007, CPMF had generated enough revenue to cover the overall cost of Bolsa Familia and other non-contributory social safety programmes, accounting for 1.4 per cent of GDP. Although it was repealed in 2007 due to financial sector demands, a financial transaction tax was revived in 2009 at significantly higher rates (6%) to assist control liquidity in foreign markets and quick capital inflows/outflows that hampered Brazil’s development. It was repealed again in 2013 when the Brazilian government was left with sufficient resources to undertake social policies, a basis for civil society’s continuous calls for financial transaction taxes to be implemented as part of social justice.

 Expanding social security coverage :

Social security contributions are regular and trustworthy, and they ease the burden on government resources, particularly in countries with low tax revenues or conflicting investment demands. Furthermore, because employees and their families contribute to social security, they are less likely to slip into poverty in illness, unemployment, maternity, or retirement, resulting in fewer households requiring assistance. Social contributions have created fiscal flexibility in nearly all industrialized economies. Many developing countries, such as Argentina, Brazil, China, Costa Rica, Thailand, and Tunisia, have boosted social security coverage and collection as part of their national development objectives (Duran-Valverde and Pachecho, 2012). Governments’ use of employer and employee payments to fund social protection schemes can be extensive and varies widely. Some countries support nearly all of their social protection expenses through contributions, demonstrating the importance of this option for creating additional budgetary flexibility. Contribution-based funding is inherently linked to the expansion of social security benefits. Much of the potential for boosting social security contributions is reliant on the efforts of social security administrations and labour inspectorates to enforce legal provisions and guarantee that employers and workers register and pay their contribution dues in full. It is critical to make investments in social security collection methods. Social contributions are strongly related to adopting innovations in countries like Brazil, Costa Rica, and Uruguay to stimulate the formalization of the labour market. The expansion of social security goes hand in hand with the formalization of employment and businesses. This produces a virtuous cycle because as more companies become more formal, the collection of taxes and social contributions increases simultaneously.

Case study

Monotax in Uruguay:

Including the informal economy in social protection In Uruguay, mon tax is a more straightforward tax collecting and payment mechanism for small donors. The benefits of the contributory social security system are instantly available to microentrepreneurs who join the scheme (except for unemployment protection). The Uruguayan Social Security Institute (BPS) collects monotax contributions, with the portion equal to tax payments being forwarded to the fiscal authority. The residual funds are then used to pay social security benefits to members of the scheme’s social insurance programme and their families. Monotax has shown to be an effective tool for formalising micro- and small companies and expanding social security coverage to self-employed people, especially women. Monotax-style programmes are being developed in Argentina, Brazil, and Ecuador.

Using fiscal and foreign exchange reserves

Fiscal reserves and central bank foreign exchange reserves are two more possible sources of finance for investments in disadvantaged families (also known as international reserves). Budget surpluses, profits from state-owned businesses, privatisation gains, and other sources of government net income help to develop fiscal reserves (the classic example is export revenues from natural resources, such as oil). Central banks, on the other hand, accumulate foreign currency reserves through intervening in the foreign exchange market in reaction to current account surpluses and capital inflows. Understanding the difference between fiscal and central bank reserves is critical. Because central bank reserves are financed by issuing bonds or currency, they are not “free fiscal assets,” as they have parallel liabilities. Fiscal reserves provide the government with additional financial resources that can be used without incurring debt (i.e. currency or bonds). If a government wants to “spend” central bank reserves, it must either borrow to satisfy its new liabilities or generate new monetary penalties in some other way (Park, 2007).

Case study

Timor-contradiction Despite the fact that many countries have significant natural resource funds, social indicators and progress toward development goals remain low. Timor-Leste is an example of this. For example, the percentage of individuals living in poverty increased from 36 to 50 percent between 2001 and 2007. Underweight children and maternal death continue to be unacceptable. On the human development index, it is in the bottom 30th percentile of all countries (HDI). Timor-Leste, on the other hand, has a US$6.3 billion sovereign wealth fund. If these assets were dispersed evenly among the people, average per capita income in Timor-Leste would increase by more than 11 times, to US$5,500 per person. So why isn’t the government investing more in its people with its resources? The government of Timor-Leste faces numerous development concerns. In addition to widespread poverty and unemployment, infrastructure has deteriorated as a result of years of conflict, and it is the world’s most oil-dependent country despite having vast petroleum reserves. A lack of institutional capacity limits the government’s ability to efficiently offer public goods and services, particularly to the poorest citizens. As a result of the current spending levels, administrative resources have been overwhelmed, causing economic bottlenecks. The government has acknowledged the limitations and created a strategy to solve budget under-execution and enhance organisational capability; possibilities for obtaining external power for areas where local power is not accessible are also being studied. With capacity development – or “investing in investing” – at the top of the government’s priority list, tapping into potential fiscal reserves could yield a considerable return on socio-economic investments.

A more accommodating macroeconomic framework:

The macroeconomic policy aims to achieve a variety of objectives, including supporting growth, price stability, and inflation management, smoothing economic cycles, lowering unemployment and poverty, and fostering equity. As part of broader initiatives aiming at economic liberalization, integration into global markets, and attracting investment, macroeconomic frameworks have focused on short-term stabilization measures, such as reducing inflation and budget deficits, in recent decades. While these macroeconomic goals are not inherently wrong, there is a growing concern in many developing countries that other vital goals, such as job creation and social development, will be pushed to the background. Since the 1990s, several of these conventional practices have been called into question, primarily through the United Nations’ broader advocacy activities to enhance human development and human rights. Others have claimed that if an economy has unemployment or spare capacity, more enormous budget deficits do not inevitably lead to higher interest rates, inflation rates, or current account deficits (e.g. Chowdhury and Islam, 2010). As the global economic crisis’ many shocks unfolded and escalated, support changed away from restrictive and limited macroeconomic frameworks and toward one that was more accommodating. In reality, this means that both fiscal and monetary policy, outlined below, can be used to create the circumstances for increased flexibility in policy-making and resource allocation.

  • Beyond economic growth 

Thailand’s Developmental Transformation: A Case Study Thailand, the first case study, is a more recent example of how fiscal policy assisted a long-term capital accumulation process that allowed the country to achieve upper-middle-income status in only a few decades. In terms of development, Thailand has made considerable strides. The GDP per capita increased sevenfold between 1950 and 2000, while the poverty rate fell by more than half, reaching 11% of the population. Between 1960 and the 1997 crisis, high growth rates of 7 to 8.5 percent were achieved, aided by a saving-investment nexus that grew steadily stronger until the crisis, peaking in the early 1990s when savings and investment reached 34% and 40% of GDP, respectively, up from 11.5 percent and 13.6 percent in the 1950s. As a result, Thailand has achieved or is nearing completion of the majority of its Millennium Development Goals. With limited participation and impact from ODA sources, this effort has been largely domestically directed and supported. Jansen and Khannabha (2006), a UNDP-commissioned study, sheds light on how Thailand’s fiscal policies influenced and were influenced by its socio-economic development. The most essential point is that Thailand’s prosperity was assisted by a controlled but undeniable fiscal expansion that was well-targeted.

Between 1955 and 1985, government spending as a percentage of GDP increased from 11.5 per cent to 18.5 per cent, eventually stabilizing at roughly 16-17 per cent today. The rise is far more dramatic than the numbers show. “At constant (1988) prices, per capita, government expenditure climbed from roughly 2200 baht in 1970 to around 9500 baht in 2003.” Furthermore, a growing portion of this additional spending went toward capital and social services, “areas that assist the private sector accumulation process while also promoting human growth” (Jansen and Khannabha, 2006, page 42). Crowding-in (rather than crowding-out) impacts benefitted private investment. The accompanying growth brought additional personal income, which boosted consumption and savings, and whose rapid financialization helped domestic investment, all while keeping inflation in the single digits. As a result, well-targeted public investment and spending for human development have been the key drivers of the budgetary expansion. Long-term, the government established policies that ensured fiscal sustainability while also allowing for a considerable permanent rise in public spending per capita.

  • Economic resilience: social and environmental costs

Asia’s socio-economic and environmental costs and the Pacific’s obsession with economic expansion are becoming increasingly apparent. To repair and reverse the harm, high levels of income and opportunity inequality, slow progress on climate change and biodiversity targets, and diminishing life satisfaction and well-being must all be addressed. It’s never easy to stray from the beaten path, but the 2030 Agenda and its 17 Goals give a clear roadmap for elevating expectations beyond economic development. They offer not only a vision for a better world but also the tools and creative approaches needed to make that vision a reality. They emphasize the importance of rethinking how social and economic success is assessed and the urgency with which environmental costs are internalized in everyone’s everyday actions.

The bold and revolutionary 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, focused on the three pillars of “people, planet, and prosperity,” with “peace and collaboration” serving as the fundamental underpinning, will require reducing the region’s enormous economic, social, and environmental shortfalls. This will necessitate a shift in thinking away from the single-minded focus on economic growth espoused by international financial institutions, where markets take precedence over governments. The assumption that is maximizing consumption, or GDP, is comparable to maximizing well-being underpins this obsession with increasing the size of the pie – GDP. The numerous elements of well-being are ignored from a pure economist’s perspective. The economist’s practical approach, which focuses on the greatest enjoyment for the most significant number of people, overlooks that this premise is not egalitarian. “Maximizing the total of individual goods is supremely unconcerned with the interpersonal distribution of that sum,” writes Amartya Sen. (Sen, 1973). Economics, according to Keynes, is “basically a moral science.” While moral philosophy has progressed beyond utilitarianism, economics appears to have remained stuck in the past. In economic theory, welfare criteria should evaluate political and financial institutions based on their benefits to humanity’s well-being. As the foundation of society’s welfare, public policy should be based on Rawls’s (1971) difference principle, which emphasizes the freedom people require to function in critical dimensions. Sen’s capabilities approach highlights the people’s space to work in the required sizes. Growth does not guarantee adherence to resource restrictions or equal distribution on its own. Certain environmentally benign behaviours do not raise GDP; driving a polluting car increases GDP, but walking does not.

Similarly, several economic measures that promote economic growth (such as financial and economic liberalization) can also have a detrimental impact 5 Even Alan Greenspan, the former chairman of the United States Federal Reserve, agreed that the justification for free markets is based on self-interest is faulty. See the video presentation “Gillian Tett questions if banking culture has truly evolved” for more information. International financial institutions’ emphasis on growth and over-optimism about growth prospects may also be motivated by a need to justify their assistance to developing countries. When IMF programmes are on the horizon, see Ho and Mauro (2016) for overly optimistic growth estimates. This refers to East Asian economies that are fast rising, such as Hong Kong, China, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, and the Chinese province of Taiwan (Ostry, Berg and Kothari, 2018). Goals 8 (economic growth and decent jobs) and 12 (responsible consumption and production) have very few synergies, demonstrating the need to decouple economic growth from excessive resource usage and environmental deterioration, according to the analysis in Chapter 3. A moral vacuum is created by placing too much faith in markets’ ability to provide desirable outcomes for society and excessive reliance on money. Anthropologists and behavioural economists have demonstrated that cash affects intrinsic behaviour. Still, by putting markets at the centre of problem-solving, economists have overlooked more significant issues such as ethics and morality. People feel alienated and lose a sense of belonging due to a market for everything and money that can purchase anything – the lack of civil society. When money enters all aspects of culture, according to Michael Sandel, a political philosopher at Harvard University, inequality stings much more since access to education and essential services is confined to those with money (Sandel, 2012). Peace, justice, and healthy institutions may be jeopardized due to this.

  • Increasing the fiscal space to achieve the SDGs

Cross-country analyses of fiscal space have become more common as fiscal issues have become more prominent in international policy debates. New methods consider country-specific characteristics, model uncertainty, and endogenous relationships between debt levels, primary balances, and interest rates. Despite these advancements, there are still concerns regarding the effectiveness of existing fiscal space measurements in serving as a basis for cross-country comparisons, which can help policymakers formulate better policies. To strengthen fiscal space assessments even more, we will now explore four more factors that should be considered:

(a) The “sovereign-currency” issue: When analyzing fiscal space, a country’s ability to issue debt in its currency must be considered. In theory, a country with this capability can service its debt by simply creating additional money. As a result, sovereign default is unlikely. As a result of the lower risk of default, sovereign borrowing rates are lower. Market trust in the government’s ability to avoid bankruptcy, for example, explains why Japan has been able to maintain very high public debt levels for such a long time while yet enjoying low-interest rates. However, the advantage of issuing debt in local currency can be limited by a fixed exchange rate regime. Maintaining a fixed exchange rate on open capital markets limits a country’s ability to produce money by putting downward pressure on the currency’s value.

(b) the effectiveness of fiscal policy in boosting growth: The point of budgetary policy in enhancing output growth could also be considered in budgetary space analyses. Fiscal policy efficacy – measured by the size of the fiscal multiplier – adds an essential dimension to any fiscal space assessment because discussions on fiscal space are ultimately motivated by the goal of supporting growth.

(c) the chances for expanding fiscal space: A third element to consider from a forward-looking perspective is a country’s ability to expand budgetary reach. The trajectory of a country’s fiscal space is controlled not just by the government’s spending behaviour but also by the growth of its income space and – in the case of debt-to-GDP-based fiscal space measurements – the growth of GDP. Current debates about how governments might use fiscal space to engage in supportive fiscal policy have centred on how much budgetary space is still available for manoeuvring rather than wholly embracing the possibility of increased fiscal space in the future. Supportive fiscal policy — whether in the form of increased government spending or tax cuts – does not have to be associated with reduced fiscal space in one of two scenarios: (1) an increase in the government’s income base; and (2) when the growth of economic activity outpaces the rise in public debt levels.’

  • Conclusion

This article has demonstrated that countries all over the world have the financial means to support social protection and other SDGs. The five options presented in the preceding sections are as follows: I reallocating government spending; (ii) increasing tax revenues; (iii) boosting social security coverage and contributory payments; (iv) utilising fiscal and foreign exchange reserves; and (v) putting in place a more accommodating macroeconomic framework UN and international financial institution policy announcements back up all of the financing options outlined in this study. For decades, governments all across the world have utilised them to demonstrate a diverse range of revenue choices. Each country is unique. As a result, in the social dialogue of alternatives to promote national socio-economic development with jobs and social security, all options should be thoroughly examined, including the potential dangers and trade-offs connected with each opportunity. The most successful approach of expressing optimal macroeconomic and fiscal policy solutions and investments to improve jobs, social protection, women’s and children’s rights, and human rights is through national social dialogue. While some countries have developed national development strategies and financial sources through societal debate, this has not been the case in many others. In many circumstances, public policy decisions are determined behind closed doors as technocratic solutions with little or no public participation, resulting in decreased social investments, a lack of public ownership, poor social consequences, and, in some cases, civil unrest. ​​ Civil society, academics, UN agencies, and others must engage in a national tripartite dialogue to build the political will to use all available fiscal space alternatives in a country and adopt the optimum combination of public policies for inclusive growth and social justice.

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