ELLA Policy Brief: Participatory Budgeting: Citizen Participation for Better Public Policies

Abstract

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.

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.

Citation

Oropeza, J. ELLA Policy Brief: Participatory Budgeting: Citizen Participation for Better Public Policies. ELLA, Practical Action Consulting, Lima, Peru (2011) 5 pp.

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