14, November, 2011
BRIEF

Participatory Budgeting: Citizen Participation for Better Public Policies

Latin American countries pioneered participatory budgeting - an innovation to let citizens decide how public funds will be spent. First launched in Brazil in 1989, PB is now implemented in more than 2,500 local governments in 15 countries in the region.

In the last two decades, Latin American countries have implemented participatory budgeting (PB) as a way to incorporate citizen perspective into budget designation, in order to increase public policies’ impact, enhance budget transparency and comply with citizens’ right to participate in their own governance.  The Latin American experience shows that PB can achieve these impacts, but that certain conditions make success more likely. This brief analyses the region’s PB experiences and outcomes, and the factors underpinning success, all with an eye towards offering useful lessons for South Asian and Sub-Saharan African development actors.

Short URL for this page:
http://tinyurl.com/krwr9bc

Key Lessons:

  • PB can improve public policy impact and benefit poorer and more vulnerable groups by making budget allocations better reflect citizens' social priorities and needs.
  • However, to increase the likelihood of success, efforts should be made to: Push for a context in which the government is accountable, transparent and recognises citizens' right to participate; Ensure PB design is flexible and tailored to the local context; Strengthen governments' and participants' technical capacity and interest in participating

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