72 Frequently Asked Questions about Participatory Budgeting(7) - 参与式工具箱 - 城市社区参与治理资源,ccpg


72 Frequently Asked Questions about Participatory Budgeting(7)

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69 Is the Participatory Budget a proposal that emerges from certain political parties? Do these parties have any particular leanings?   

Historically, the Participatory Budget has been promoted by parties of the left or centre-left. They have been, in many cities, the fruit of movements from civil society, which at the same time managed to elect mayors sympathetic to their demands. In Brazil, it was the Workers Party (PT), which saw the Participatory Budget as a tool for social justice (to redistribute public resources to those who had been denied them), fiscal justice and above all political justice (giving voice to those who had never had one). These parties have a common characteristic of promoting participatory democracy, within the given legal framework. Nevertheless, the Participatory Budget has been transformed from a political technique to a political-administrative process. In recent years, the Participatory Budget has been implemented by party alliances or parties different from those which initiated them .62 In  these cases the PBs undergo changes, sometimes significant ones .63 In  Germany, for example, all the foundations tied to political parties have made an agreement to promote the methodology of participatory budgeting.   

70 Is there a risk of considering the Participatory Budget as a panacea? As the cure for all ills?   

Yes! It is as much a serious risk for the municipality (who may come to promise too much) as for the citizenry (who may come to expect too much). In addition, Participatory Budgets only determine the designation of a limited part of the small slice of all public resources represented by municipal budgets. For this reason, the initial dialogue between the municipality and the public, to define the reach and the rules of the game, is important.


72 Does the Participatory Budget reduce corruption?   

Yes, in particular when there are citizen-based oversight mechanisms for the execution of the budget and of the respective works. The presence of the commissions of the Participatory Budget Council at the time of inviting bids for given projects greatly reduces the chance for bribery by businesses and/or public officials. Accountability on the part of the municipality and the publication of accounts avoid anon-transparent use of resources. These and similar measures also avoid, during the phase of designing the "budget matrix", clientelism and the distribution of favours which some council members are known to practice. In this sense, they can be useful even in the European context.   

The Participatory Budget reinforces transparency by sharing budgetary information and requiring accountability to the public on the part of government officials or PB delegates. These mechanisms generate trust and improve the quality of governance in the city.  


73How can the sustainability of the Participatory Budgeting process be guaranteed?   

A study of the Brazilian Popular Participation Forum indicates that during the period 1997-2000, of the 103 cases examined, over 20 per cent were suspended. This situation compels one to consider the conditions for irreversibility of the processes, in other words, mechanisms to ensure that these processes are consolida  

ted and strengthened over time, beyond the political will of one or another mayor and the activism of some citizen movements.   

It seems that, through time, the sustainability of Participatory Budgets proceeds alongside the empowerment of the population and its understanding of the importance of the process and the benefits it can bring. Such empowerment requires a clear prioritisation of consciousness-raising and educational efforts directed at the grassroots. These efforts, in the light of the teachings of Paulo Freire, call for an up-scaling of the educational perspective of PB. Another condition of irreversibility relates to the legalisation of the process, which should be sufficiently open so as not to threaten the flexible and evolutionary nature of the process and to permit its self-regulation. At the same time, this flexible legalisation should insert the Participatory Budget within a normative-legal framework which allows for its institutionalisation, beyond any particular Mayoral administration. This is, most probably, the greatest challenge.   

Finally, the Participatory Budget will be sustainable if the various actors can see that it represents an opportunity to serve their values and interests: politicians can enhance their legitimacy; technicians and public officials can improve the efficiency of their work and its social meaning; international organisations can see that the resources they contribute are better used; and citizens can contribute productively to decision-making and local management.  



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