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Friday, May 13 • 9:40am - 9:55am
Multi-channel Participatory Budgeting LIMITED

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The experiences of ICT mediated Participatory Budgeting provide a compelling case of citizen participation. More important however, are the lessons that can be drawn from the experiences, ultimately informing the work of those who work in the field of e-participation.


Background information:

Participatory Budgeting (PB) can be broadly defined as the participation of citizens in the decision-making process of budget allocation and in the monitoring of public spending. Originating in the Brazilian city of Porto Alegre, PB has spread across the world and has received international praise as a good governance policy. In practice, the implementation of PB has been associated with desirable outcomes such as reduction of tax delinquency, increased transparency and better and innovative delivery of public services.

In a traditional PB process, citizens are invited to periodic public assemblies that are held across the city to deliberate on the allocation of public resources. In this sense, PB presents some problems in terms of the material (e.g. paying for transport) and immaterial (e.g. time consumption) costs associated with participating in the process, that is, attending the public assemblies. These costs have often been reflected in low turnout levels, where only a small percentage of the city population gets involved in the initiative.

Until 2004, this had been the case for the city of Belo Horizonte, Brazil, where participation levels in the PB stood at around 1.5 percent of the city’s electors. In 2006, alongside the traditional PB process, the city administration launched a Digital Participatory Budgeting process. In addition to the budget of $43 million (USD) allocated to the traditional participatory budgeting, $11 million was assigned to the new initiative. 

Whereas the traditional PB required citizens to attend meetings at a certain time and place, with the e-PB the city’s electors could discuss and cast their votes online during a period of 42 days, where voting was enabled by the provision of a unique electoral register number.

At the completion of the process, with a budget nearly one fourth that of the traditional (offline) PB, the e-PB attracted over six times more participants, with 173,000 inhabitants (10 percent of electors) taking part in the process. The winning projects, subsequently delivered to the communities, were of undeniable salience and benefit to the citizens. They included initiatives such as the renovation of transport systems and hospitals, the building of educational centers and the creation of ecological parks.

avatar for Tiago Peixoto

Tiago Peixoto

Tiago is a Senior Public Sector Specialist at the World Bank’s Governance Global Practice. His activities focus on working with governments to develop solutions for better public policies and services. Prior to joining the World Bank, Tiago has managed projects and consulted... Read More →

Friday May 13, 2011 9:40am - 9:55am PDT
Bossanova Ballroom 722 E Burnside Portland, OR 97214

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