Budgeting and fiscal policy reform support

Introducing the Social Expenditure Monitor

The Social Expenditure Monitor (SEM) is a tool to inform government decision-making on smart spending towards achieving macro-fiscal objectives and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It supports budgeting and fiscal policy choices to rebalance priorities in spending, improve transparency and minimize leakages in public finance management. The SEM can also serve as a social countercyclical tool in times of crises.

What is social expenditure? 

The notion of social expenditure depends upon a country’s progress in social development priorities. Ideally, social expenditure aims to maximize levels of human well-being through access to quality services and social protection, including areas in which the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development aims for universal access. Appropriate social expenditures are social investments that promote inclusive and sustainable growth. Any measure of social expenditure must take into consideration two guiding objectives: targeting expenditure to ensure social justice and inclusive development, reduce poverty and inequality, and improve human development; and targeting expenditure to enhance human capital and innovation, promote gender equality and foster sustainable economic growth. 

The SEM is aligned with the SDGs and provides a comprehensive measure of social expenditure in areas including:

  • Education;
  • Health and nutrition;
  • Housing, connectivity and community amenities;
  • Labour market interventions and employment generation;
  • Social protection, subsidies and support to farms;
  • Arts, culture and sports;
  • Environmental protection.


SEM and SDGs

Social expenditure is an important means of implementing several SDGs, including within the areas in which the 2030 Agenda aims for universal access.

Alignment of the seven SEM dimensions with SDGs and targets

Alignment of the seven SEM dimensions with SDGs and targets

The four main stages of the implementation of the SEM at the national level

The 4 main stages of SEM
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