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Participatory Budgeting. In this session we are going to. Learn about what participatory budgeting (PB) is Explore why PB is used in hundreds of cities across the world Learn about the PB model used in Porto Alegre, Brazil Discuss the budgeting processes currently used in your municipality

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Participatory Budgeting

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Participatory budgeting l.jpg

Participatory Budgeting


In this session we are going to l.jpg

In this session we are going to

  • Learn about what participatory budgeting (PB) is

  • Explore why PB is used in hundreds of cities across the world

  • Learn about the PB model used in Porto Alegre, Brazil

  • Discuss the budgeting processes currently used in your municipality

  • Discuss what the advantages and disadvantages of using PB in your municipality might be

  • Create a possible PB model for your municipality


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What is Participatory Budgeting

Participatory budgeting is a process of democratic deliberation and decision-making, where ordinary community members decide how to allocate part of a public budget through a series of local assemblies and meetings.

It usually features:

  • community members identifying spending priorities and electing budget delegates to represent them,

  • budget delegates transforming community priorities into concrete project proposals,

  • public employees facilitating and providing technical assistance,

  • community members voting on which projects to fund, and

  • the public authority implementing the projects.


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Why do PB?

Participatory budgeting can lead to:

  • more equitable public spending

  • higher quality of life through increased satisfaction of basic needs,

  • greater government transparency and accountability,

  • increased levels of public participation


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Increased participation

  • Opening up the budget process to direct involvement of the community is a guaranteed way of getting the community involved

  • It has been used in particular to engage and empower the poorest members of society,

  • Being involved in the budget process builds people’s capacity and interest in being involved in other government and governance processes

  • It relies on a healthy civil society and helps to maintain and build that level of civil society


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It’s about sharing power!

  • Principle involved is that citizens have the right to control the budget, because the budget is the real face of the government

  • It’s not just consultation.


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PB’s biggest strength and greatest weakness

  • The biggest strength and the greatest weakness of participatory budgeting is that it is focused on short-term tangible outcomes.

  • It appeals to people’s self interest and benefits, not just community benefit


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PB around the world

  • Participatory budgeting began in Porto Alegre Brazil, 20 years ago

  • Participatory budgeting processes are now run in hundreds of cities across the world, with the majority in Latin America and Europe.

  • A guide to participatory budgeting in the UK has just been produced, and an African regional seminar was held earlier this year.


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The Porto Alegre experience

1.5 million people

Area 476 km2

GDP $US 8 billion.

Total budget of the Porto Alegre City Hall $US1.6 billion.

Illiteracy rate of 3.4%;

Infant mortality of 14.4 deaths per 1000 births

17% of houses are in illegal settlements.


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The PA PB process

  • The Porto Alegre participatory budgeting process has been running for twenty years

  • The process directly determines the expenditure of 12% of the Porto Alegre budget – or around $US 200 million.

  • Described as a political commitment between government and civil society

  • It involves many thousands of residents and community organisations every year.

  • The people who participate are typically low income but not the lowest income, and have a reasonable level of education.


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Porto Alegre Participatory Budgeting processOrçamento Participativo


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City of Porto Alegre is divided into 17 geographic regions for the PB process

The PB process also looks at budget requests across six city-wide themes:

  • circulation, transport and urban mobility;

  • city organisation, urban and environmental development;

  • economic development, tax and tourism,

  • culture

  • health and social assistance and

  • education, sports and leisure.


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The process over the year

  • March – AprilPreparatory meetings

  • April – MayRegional and theme assemblies

  • May – JulyDelegates forums

  • July – OctoberMunicipal assemblies (held weekly)

  • September – OctoberBudget sent to City Legislative Assembly

  • October – DecemberDetailed investments and services plan is prepared. Projects begin to be implemented

  • December – JanuaryAny changes to PB process discussed and determined


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Region and theme assemblies


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Each assembly…

Each assembly is usually attended by 500 - 1000 people.

Four main items are on the agenda :

  • A report about the activities of the previous year

  • An opportunity for people to have their say on a particular issue

  • Voting by choosing four priorities from a list. The 2008 list was:

    HousingYouth

    Economic development, taxation and tourism Health

    Social assistance Culture

    Education (including childcare)Public lighting

    Basic sanitation , sewerage and drainage Tourism

    Environmental healthSport and leisure

    Accessibility and urban mobility Recreation areas

    Circulation and transport

  • Two Participatory Budget Councillors are elected.

    Each 10 participants at an Assembly entitle the region or theme to one delegate.


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The link between PB and representative democracy

  • .

  • 61% of Porto Alegre population in a survey reported that they felt PB was more important than their legislative assembly.

  • Although the PB process is highly successful at involving people, there are still groups that are not well represented – the very poor and the elderly in particular.

  • Not many people move from being actively involved in the PB process to standing for election to the city legislative assembly.

  • There is some friction between the legislature and the PB process. Some members of the legislative assembly see PB as a support – others see it as a challenge


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What happens in your municipality?

  • At your table discuss the budget processes that are currently in use in your municipality

  • What are their advantages and disadvantages?

  • Report back


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Could PB work for you?

  • What would you see the main advantages in introducing PB to your municipality?

  • What would be the main disadvantages, or the biggest barriers in introducing it?

  • What could a Misamis Occidental PB model look like?


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