The Austrian Federal Budget Reform introducing gender mainstreaming is not a one-time project, but introduces a whole new approach, establishing a new culture that will affect public administration for decades. As shown in the paragraphs above, the Reform is the result of a broad national consensus, carried by all political parties and key stakeholders. The Reform has been built to last, and this common understanding is mainly reflected in the fact that the Reform and its commitment to strengthen gender equality has been written into constitutional law, backed by a series of unanimous decisions of the Austrian Parliament. Even if the political constellations change in the future, there is no way back: The Austrian Budget Reform has been one of the biggest political reforms in decades and is a fundamentally sustainable model not only financially but also socially and politically, reached by thoughtfully involving the key players and stakeholders.
The political cultures in the fellow member states of the United Nations might be different from Austria’s, and these cultural specifics should not be ignored. A “copy & paste”-approach, imposing the Austrian Budget Reform on other political and cultural systems as is would probably be doomed to fail. However, the key elements of the Austrian Budget Reform can be transferred: Performance budgeting can lead to more efficient governance and more effective outcomes in any country.
As far as gender equality is concerned, the Austrian Budget Reform is a good example of how to embed Gender Budgeting and Gender Mainstreaming in the constitution as well as budget laws to make sure that each and every ministry has to contribute to gender equality and blind spots on this issue are minimized. Regular reports are sent to the performance management office at the Chancellery. There, the reports are collected, commented on and sent to the Austrian National Council for consideration. This process makes sure that the progress is monitored and discussed.
Especially the new approach to RIA as a standardised process and the gender impact dimension are fitting examples of integrating gender equality into legislation that could be transferred to other countries.
Furthermore, any ground-breaking reform in any political and social culture will have to gain widespread support among its stakeholders. The Austrian Budget Reform may serve as a best practice template of how to anchor gender-sensitive budgeting and of how to involve and convince the stakeholders and how to reach this national consensus necessary for a successful reform that does not lose its momentum while being carried out.
Regarding the dissemination of the initiative throughout the public service at the Austrian national level, it has already been mentioned that the Budget Reform has been fully adopted by the federal level of the Austrian government, but not yet by all federal regions (Länder) or the municipalities. In the constitution, Länder and the municipalities have an obligation to consider gender-sensitive budgeting, but there is no unified practice or regulation. Hence, some local and regional authorities introduce the new system according to the federal framework, while others go their own way and implement gender mainstreaming using a range of different methods catering their specific needs.
On the international level, the Reform has attracted a lot of attention: Several IGOs, INGOs and countries from virtually all over the world have taken a keen interest in the content and the implementation strategies of the Austrian Budget Reform regarding its gender budgeting model, on the one hand by sending delegations to the MoF or the Chancellery, on the other hand via requests and invitations to present the Reform in their respective homelands, quoting the Austrian model as a best-practice example of how gender budgeting should be realized.