Participatory budgeting is an innovative mechanism that promotes the engagement of local government, private sector and civil society alike in the allocation of municipal resources. From an experimental innovation in Brazil, participatory budgeting initiatives have been growing exponentially in many countries in Latin America, and more recently in Europe as well as Africa and Asia.
Participatory Budgeting Toolkit
In 2004, UN-HABITAT's Global Campaign on Urban Governance and its Urban Management Programme in Latin America and the Caribbean jointly produced the “Participatory Budgeting Toolkit”. This Toolkit is designed as a general introduction to the subject of participatory budgeting. It includes a conceptual framework and user-friendly components such as a digital library, technical and legal instruments, city fact sheets and a resource directory. The manual 72 Frequently Asked Questions about Participatory Budgeting , which provides direct and practical answers to the how, why, when and where of implementing participatory budgeting in an optimal way, is a key component of this Toolkit.
Participatory Budgeting in Africa - a Training Companion
In Africa, participatory budgeting is rapidly gaining attention from governments, civil society, and international development agencies as an innovative platform for strengthening citizens’ voice in budget planning and delivery of public goods and services. It is increasingly recognized that participatory budgeting is not only an effective mechanism to improve targeting of public resources to the poor, but also a new agenda in decentralization and social accountability. UN-HABITAT has received expressions of interest and requests from cities to assist them in introducing participatory budgeting in their regions.
Hence, UN-HABITAT, in partnership with Environnement et Développement du Tiers-Monde ENDA ecopop (Senegal), Municipal Development Partnership for Eastern and Southern Africa MDP-ESA (Zimbabwe), and Centro Internacional de Gestión Urbana CIGU (Ecuador), is working towards building the capacity of local governments in Africa to prepare them for the establishment of participatory budgeting as a way of realizing good governance. The above Training Companion has been designed to introduce the participatory budgeting process in African municipalities as a campaign tool for innovative local governance and to build the capacity of local actors (facilitators and decision-makers) to carry out the process in their localities. It includes concepts and illustrative examples from African cities as well as guidelines and tools. The Training Companion and elaborate roadmap for its development has been agreed upon through an Expert Group Meeting in 2005. Its development has been accompanied by national and regional sensitization as well as pilot workshops in Senegal, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Overall, the preparation of the Training Companion has been considered a process of mutual learning across languages, regions and continents. It has also has generated South-South partnership in tool development and facilitated multiple ownership of the outputs and spin-off activities.