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Authors: Françoise Barten1, Marco Akerman2, Daniel Becker3, Sharon Friel4, Trevor Hancock5, ... - page 13 / 47





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in community development planning and governance in Indonesia (Beard 2007), concludes that patterns of gender exclusion are reinforced in particular among women with lower educational attainment.

The case for participatory budgeting (PB)

A state-sponsored experience that promotes the involvement of citizen assemblies in each district of a city to determine priorities for the use of part of the city’s revenues, participatory budgeting is considered one of the most relevant innovations in Latin America for increasing participation in decision-making and local government accountability. PB started some twenty years ago in some cities in Brazil within a context of transition from a military regime to democracy, of decentralization to sub-national governments, and of increased presence of leftist parties in local governments.  Since then it has been adopted and adapted by many cities in Latin America, Europe and Asia.

It is considered a continuous educational process for all those who are taking part in it as rules, functioning and procedures are changing constantly. Participatory budgeting initiatives promoting the active participation of children and young people in the governance of their cities developed in Cotacachi, Ecuador; Barra Mansa and Icapui in Brazil, Ciudad Guayana, Venezuela (Cabannes, 2006). Souza (2001b) notes that there is no single model of PB but rather a collection of experiences that vary according to context and acquire different features.

The transfer of participatory budgeting from Brazil to Europe has been a highly differentiated process. In Porto Alegre, “this innovative methodology enabled democratization and social justice to be articulated” (Sintomer et al, 2008:164), and in particular led to the prioritisation of water and sewage provision and a marked increase in these services19. In Europe, participatory budgeting relies on multiple procedures, and Sintomer et al (2008:169)

19With regard to sanitation, figures have risen from 73% of the population having sanitary sewage collection in 1990, to 84% in 2004. In the area of sewage treatment, growth was even more outstanding; in 1989, 2% of the population was served, a figure which had increased to 27% in 2002 due to the construction of five new plants during that period. At present, DMAE has plans to build a new wastewater treatment plant which is meant to raise the treatment index to 77% in five years.  Up until 1989, DMAE served primarily downtown and affluent areas. However, when people started to discuss their demands and vote in 16 regions, investments were also made in the water and sanitation of the peripheral and shanty areas, so everyone now has access to water. As a direct consequence of this, waterborne diseases have been substantially reduced in the city.  (Maltz, 2007:30-31)

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