Toolkit of GOOD PRACTICES on Citizen Participation!


Participatory budgeting


Country: Bosnia and Erzegovina

Context

Participatory budgeting is a process of democratic decision-making, and a type of participatory democracy, in which ordinary people decide how to allocate part of a municipal or public budget. Participatory budgeting allows citizens to identify, discuss, and prioritize public spending projects, and gives them the power to make real decisions about how money is used. When participatory budgeting is taken seriously and is based on mutual trust, local governments and citizen can equally benefit from it. Through participatory budgeting, community members decide together with elected officials how public funds should be allocated.

Measure

The main aim of this measure is to improve citizens’ cooperation and their participation in public life.

The specific objectives are:
To improve cooperation between citizens and city authorities
To involve citizens in decision-making on the financial issues of the city
To improve cooperation between city authorities and non-governmental organizations

Target Group

Different NGOs working on the city territory
City authorities
All citizens

Methodology

Participatory budgeting involves several basic steps:
Community members identify spending priorities and select budget delegates
Budget delegates develop specific spending proposals with help from experts
Community members vote on which proposals to fund
The city or institution implements the best proposals

Stakeholders

Local authorities
NGO sector
Citizens

Assessment

-

Impact

Bigger inclusion of citizens in public life and decision-making processes leads to them taking proactive role instead of reactive, which leads to bigger number of quality solutions and improvement of life conditions. Better cooperation between NGO sector and local authorities
More opportunities for improvement of living conditions in the city

Swot

1.    Strengths:
Local authorities provide an opportunity for citizens to participate in decision-making regarding living conditions
Citizens are interested to participate in the decision-making process
 2. Weaknesses:
Political influence
Lack of interest of citizens to participate in the decision-making process
Lack of interest of local authorities to cooperate with NGO sector and citizens
 3. Opportunities:
Possibility to respond to the real needs of the community
 4. Threats:
Lack of financial resources in the budget of local authorities
Manipulation of funds by political parties
Possibility of non-implementation of the actually needed measures because of citizens’ and NGO sector’ passivity

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