Learning Forum Local finance, Inclusive governance and participatory budgeting

UCLG World Summit of Local Leaders in Bogota


The gathering of representatives from a great number of local governments throughout the world during the UCLG World Summit of Local Leaders in Bogota will enable to discuss a variety of topics, a few days ahead of the United Nations Summit on Human Settlements in Quito. The thematic of participatory budgeting, and more broadly of citizens’ participation in the local policy decision-making process is one of the key issue to renew the social contract with citizens at local level. During the last decade, participatory budgeting have spread all around the world from cities in developed and developing countries as a very important tool to strengthen both citizens commitment in public affairs and local government accountability, contributing to enhancing local democracy .

Participatory budgeting have spread through our networks and this is maybe one of the filed where local governments have come to realize the value of sharing experiences across countries and even continents, and exchange knowledge in order to optimize solutions and learn from peers experience. The issue of local governments’ accountability, dialogue and trust with the inhabitants, is a key topic shared by many cities worldwide.

It can also be more specifically linked to three main work fields of UCLG partners: UCLG Committee on Social Inclusion, Participatory Democracy and Human Rights and UCLG Committee on Local Finances, and the International Observatory on Participatory Democracy. Indeed, participatory financial management is a tool for the city’s democratic management, directly linked to budget management. It is characterized by community participation, making it a great tool to improve local governments’ accountability, to increase dialogue and transparency across stakeholders, and to better meet the real needs of the inhabitants through inclusive approach. This leads to increasing citizens’ willingness to pay taxes and user fees, which is crucial for the sustainability of local financing systems, in particular for the mobilization of fiscal resources.

Therefore this learning forum will have three main objectives:

- Promote the thematic of participatory budgeting as a key topic to be highlighted during the discussions in Bogota and Quito, and identify the local governments already involved, and those which wish to commit further, on this topic.

- Increase the knowledges around Participatory budgeting and its real impacts. gathering the main active networks in that field, through the gathering of civil society organizations, local governments and researchers

- Assess the variety of tools that are being experimented at the local level: through the participation of local elected officials, experts and other cities’ representatives from diverse countries, from open budgetary policy debates to participatory budgeting. They can be compulsory or voluntary, happen at various stages of the decision-making process, have a consultative or deliberative scope, and can represent a relatively either small of large part of the budget.

- Articulate the three themes of social inclusion and right to the city, local finance and participatory democracy, to lay the foundation for further collaborations between
the three partners, in order to discuss this issue in a more comprehensive manner.

Main questions to address:

- To what extent do participatory mechanisms improve the efficiency of public expenditures and accountability?

- How to make sure that participatory processes reach and include marginalized groups? How to include a gender approach to participatory budgets?

- How to design successful participatory budgeting methodology? Focusing on multi-channel participation (Participatory Processes that integrate In-person and digitalized means of interaction).

More information in the document attached