Participatory Budgeting: Lisbon

A notorious pioneer in social innovation, Lisbon was the first European Capital in implementing the participatory budgeting. Up to an amount equivalent to 5% of the investment budget (which until this issue has been of five million euros) the Lisbon Participatory Budget (PB) runs along a cycle with several phases. As it is completely based in deliberation, the Participation begins with Phase Proposals. For instance, this years’ proposal phase ended last June 7th.

It is followed by several steps: technical analysis of proposals, shortlist and claim period, voting, pubic announcement of winner. The impact of the projects implemented the former year is assessed before starting the cycle again.

As the Charter of Principles of Participatory Budgeting says, “the Lisbon City Council recognizes that participatory budgets are a symbol of the importance of citizens’ participation in a democratic society. The first steps in 2007, with the Devolved Public Meetings of the Municipal Executive, have demonstrated the interest of citizens to actively participate in solving the problems of the city, and extracted some lessons as to how to proceed towards a comprehensive model of citizens’ participation that will be emblematic of a new way of governing the city.”

The PB in Lisbon had its 1st edition in 2008 Since its implementation, the Participatory Budget of Lisbon has been internationally recognized:

– By UN-Habitat in 2009, as an innovative good practice at the publication “72 Frequently Asked Questions about Participatory Budgeting”;

– By Eurocities, acknowledging it as one of the three best initiatives in Participation

– By the Conference of Atlantic Arc Cities in 2010, that presented it as an example of how the European Citizen’s Initiative should be implemented in its contribution to the European Commission consultation

– By the OECD in 2010, who recognized the Lisbon PB as a municipal initiative co-production

– By the European Institute of Public Administration (EIPA), who in 2011 awarded a Certificate of Practice within the European Public Sector Award.

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