The second edition of the study Learning from the South: Participatory Budgeting Worldwide – an Invitation to Global Cooperation published by the Service Agency Communities in One World in May 2014 highlights a number of new trends and developments of participatory budgeting processes around the globe and confirms findings of the 2010 edition of the study. Dynamic developments and the permanent expansion of various forms of participatory budgeting over the last three years in different parts of the world called for an update of the first version.
What are the major new findings of the study worth shedding a light on? Most significant is the increase in the number of participatory budgeting procedures. It is estimated that there are currently between 1,269 and 2,778 processes around the world. At the same time different legal developments in countries such as Peru and the Dominican Republic have made the introduction of participatory budgets obligatory for local authorities. Poland as well has passed legislation fostering an intensified exchange between citizens and administrations on budgetary procedures. Also a number of francophone and lusophone countries on the African continent are now implementing participatory budgeting. Last but not least, the European Union now defines participatory budgeting as good practice example in the framework of the European Social Fund 2014-2020.
On a broader scale the study confirms the six categories of participatory budgeting procedures already analyzed in first edition. While stressing the growing number of hybrid models the six basic types are termed participatory democracy, proximity democracy, participatory modernization, multi-stakeholder participation, neo-corporatism and community development.
Another finding of the study is the augmenting importance of technocratic networks often supported by international organizations. They foster knowledge exchange and learning processes between actors of participatory budgeting. Of comparable aim and equal significance are municipal partnerships between industrialized countries and those in the Global South.
Despite the rise in sheer number and (hybrid) types of participatory budgets the authors of the study identify three global trends into which participatory budgets are moving. The most intense trend deals with participatory budgets brought about as results of combined bottom-up and top-down initiatives with a strong role for grassroots movements. They aim at fundamental societal change and a comprehensive improvement of living conditions. Examples of this type are mostly found in Latin America and Brazil and most recently in the Indian State of Kerala. In the second most intense trend of participatory budgeting the role of the initiator is held by local governments. The participatory budget is often part of a bigger reform project aspiring administrative modernization and/or decentralization. Citizens are involved via clearly defined rules and procedures. The third and least intense trend describes cases of symbolic participatory budgeting. Consultations tend to be of non-binding nature and often serve to legitimate already initiated processes.
For more information please consult: