Participatory budgeting has been one of the most successful participatory instruments of the past 15 years. Since its invention in Porto Alegre (Brazil), it spread first in Latin America, where more than 1,000 of the 16,000 municipalities had introduced it by 2006, and then throughout Europe, where more than 100 cases exist today. China and some Asian countries have also started to experiment with this new way of participation. China is at present undergoing huge economic and social changes. The significant growth of cities is challenging the traditional concept of a harmonious society. Other Asian countries are confronted with partly similar, partly different types of challenges. In both cases, diverse actors see participation more and more as a constructive problem solving strategy. In Europe, too, the involvement of citizens has been fostered over the last decades in order to reach certain goals, for example more transparent administrations or the strengthening of democratic institutions. Even though representative democracy constitutes the overall, institutional and normative, framework of Western societies, it is confronted with an acute legitimacy crisis.
       The international conference takes this plurality of contexts as a starting point and sees it as enrichment for the further development of participatory approaches. One of the aims is to explore different ways of organizing participatory budgeting processes in different parts of the world. Experience shows that the transfer of instruments from one part of the world to another is a difficult and complex process. Too often, "best practices"are proposed as "universal"solutions that should be imitated everywhere without taking into account local conditions. In order to avoid this orientation and to stimulate a mutual learning exchange between academics and practitioners from different countries and continents, participants will get to know very different experiences of participatory budgeting and of other participatory processes.
       Three types of case studies have been selected for the common discussions at the conference. The first group represents innovative institutions that are "model-processes"within their national context and influence other processes. This is for example the case of the Chinese city of Wenling or the Berlin District of Lichtenberg. The second group contains processes that share some common features with participatory devices in the other continent and therefore stimulate the debate about mutual transfer: for example, "planning cells"or "deliberative polls", used in both Asia and Europe. The third category gathers experiences that contain interesting, procedural aspects that allow tackling some common challenges of citizen participation, even though they might not necessarily have a broad national or international visibility... [ more ]

A Guide to Participatory Budgeting
Governance Reform and Institutional Change in Brazil: Fiscal Responsibility and Tax
From Porto Alegre to Europe: Potentials and Limitations of Participatory Budgeting
Assessment of Participatory Budgeting in Brazil
Participatory Budgeting: A New Tool For Democratic Decision-Making
Participatory Democracy in the Region Poitou-Charentes
e-Participatory Budgeting:e-Democracy from theory to success?

Technical & organizational
Contact us

[1] - Case study on the e-Participatory
Budgeting of the city of Belo
Horizonte (Brazil)
- general resource site on participatory
uk/ - information on participatory
budgeting in the UK

[2] - study with cases of Participatory
Budgeting experiences in OECD countries
participatory_budget.html - PB in Brazil
- links to participatory budgeting
articles and resources
- links to participatory budgeting articles and resources
- participatory budgeting listserv
- Rete del Nuovo Municipio, the Italian
project linking Local Authorities,
scientists and local committees
for promoting Participatory Democracy
and Active Citizenship mainly by way of PB