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News and Resources on Participatory Budgeting

Participatory Budgeting, or the process by which citizens deliberate and negotiate over the allocation of public resources, is growing into a world-wide movement. PB programs are implemented at the behest of governments, citizens, NGOs, and civil society, organizations to give citizens a direct role in deciding how and where public resources should be spent. Most citizens who participate in PB are low-income and have low levels of formal education. Historically, these groups have been excluded from budget decisions, but PB programs enable them to make choices that affect how their government acts. Participatory Budgeting was initially implemented in twelve Brazilian cities in 1989/1990. By 2005 it had spread to well over 300 municipalities in more than 40 countries, including China, Dominican Republic (see article below), Ecuador, India, Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, Serbia, South Africa, Spain, and Uruguay. To share information and resources on participatory budgeting projects around the world, the International Bugeting Project (www.internationalbudget.org) has put together a website full of resources on participatory budgeting and a monthly newsletter. This month’s newsletter includes stories about new trends in budgeting, the impact of participatory budgeting on health outcomes and the relation of budgeting to the Paris riots, among other stories. To read this newsletter (and past issues), visit www.internationalbudget.org/resources/newsletter30.htm

Amy Lang
Amy Lang is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions at the University of British Columbia. She wrote her dissertation on British Columbia’s groundbreaking Citizens’ Assembly process, and is currently doing follow-up research on the Ontario Citizens’ Assembly.

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