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Seoul's Participatory Budgeting

Country

South Korea

Organization

Seoul Metropolitan Government

Type of experience

participatory budgeting

SDGs

SDG 11 SDG 16

In 2021, for the first time in the city's history, KRW 10 billion will be spent to turn proposals made by citizens from the platform entitled "Democracy Seoul" into real projects. The suggestions citizens can make are mostly about ideas on how to address inconveniences in their daily lives or urban issues. Those selected for the participatory budgeting will be included in the city's budget and finalized once the Seoul Metropolitan Council reviews and approves them.

Objectives

Such a scheme is to encourage citizens to participate in the budgeting process and reflect their voices in the municipal policies.

Description

Seoul's "Participatory Budgeting" allows citizens to propose how and where to spend a portion of the city's budget and participate in the budgeting process. The suggestions citizens can make are mostly about ideas on how to address inconveniences in their daily lives or urban issues such as transportation or climate crisis.

 

Background

 

Begun in 2012, Seoul's system of Participatory Budgeting places emphasis on open proposals and deliberation. Seoul's PB was the first to be enacted in a city of over 10 million people.

 

Progress of Seoul Participation Budget System

2012: Operation of the resident participation budget system of 50 billion won (~2016), consisting of 8 subcommittees

 

2013: Guaranteed residents' participation in the budget planning process by collecting opinions on the entire budget plan of Seoul

 

2014: Final decision of the project by adding up the vote results of 50% of resident participation budget committee members and 50% of 2,500 citizen participation groups

 

2015: Introduction of electronic voting for project selection to promote participation of many residents

 

2016: Promote into municipal administration type, regional participation type, and regional conference projects, expanding subcommittees (8 → 10)

 

2017: Expanded and reorganized resident participation budget and cooperative project to citizen participation budget, expanded operation scale to 70 billion won

  • Reflecting the implementation of municipal coordination type and ward/dong unit plan type projects
  • Subcommittee abolition and public-private budget council (11 fields) established
  • Expanding the area of citizen participation to major financial fields such as the overall budget planning process
  • Operate specialized functional divisions (6) to participate in the city's financial field

 

2018: Established a consulting group to improve the quality of the proposed project and discover a large-area business, conduct deliberate review (consolidation and abolition) in which project proponents and business departments participate, and enhance convenience so that citizens can vote at the site of each autonomous district for electronic presentation. 'Business Proposer' added to the vote reflectors

 

2019: Expanding and diversifying permanent education in budget schools to strengthen the competency of participating citizens, and promoting citizen deliberate budget (deliberate type) pilot (6 areas)

 

2020: Expanded the citizen's deliberate budget (deliberate type) (13 areas)

 



Current status of the citizen participation budget system in Seoul

This year (2021), for the first time in the city's history, KRW 10 billion will be spent to turn proposals made by citizens from the platform entitled "Democracy Seoul" (democracy.seoul.go.kr) into real projects. This effort is to realize the policies resulted from the deliberation and discussion of citizens more actively.

 

 

Citizens can make proposals anytime through the platform. Those selected for the participatory budgeting will be included in the city's budget and finalized once the Seoul Metropolitan Council reviews and approves them.

 

Categories of the proposals covered by the participatory budgeting are (i) proposals for the metropolitan area (approximately KRW 30 bil), (ii) those for Democracy Seoul (around KRW 10 bil), and (iii) those for smaller districts ("gu" or "dong") (KRW 30 bil or so).

 

Proposals for the metropolitan area are for two or more autonomous districts or the cover a wide range of the urban area. Especially the number of proposal categories for the metropolitan area will increase from 10 to 18: democracy of Seoul, women, welfare, environment, citizens' health, labor and livelihood, safety, transportation, culture, tourism and sports, housing, urban regeneration, parks, economy, smart city, education, safe water cycle, and the Hangang River.

 

Any resident of Seoul can make proposals for the metropolitan area on http://yesan.seoul.go.kr, by mail, or by visiting the Seoul Metropolitan Government from February 1 through 28.

 

Once proposals are submitted and reviewed for their legitimacy, the Public-Private Budget Review Committee will deliberate their objective, scope, content, and cost. Citizens then vote the proposals through the "mVoting" system, and the general assembly approves and makes the final decision to make them real policy projects for the 2022 participatory budgeting.

 

 

Oh Kwan-yeong, the Chairperson of Seoul Democracy Commission, said, "The participatory budgeting system is a process of participatory democracy where citizens can actively make, review and select proposals to improve the lives of their own and others' in the local community." He added, "Since the budget is allocated this year exclusively for proposals from "Democracy Seoul" for the first time, we'd like to ask for more attention and participation of citizens."

 

The Seoul Metropolitan Government will allocate KRW 70 billion for its "Participatory Budgeting" next year. (more information)

 



Sources

 - Seoul's participatory budgeting system (+) 

- Press Releases (+)

 - Participedia Study Case (+)

 - Redistribution and Deliberation in Mandated Participatory Governance: The Case of Participatory Budgeting in Seoul, South Korea by Won No (+)