On May 15, in the framework of an expert meeting organized by the “Cyprus” analytical group, a discussion was held on the mechanism of joint management of the social space of modern cities with citizens - Participation Budget. The event was attended by representatives of the Almaty City Development Center JSC, the Almaty Public Council, Urban Forum Kazakhstan, international organizations, various analytical structures and universities.
The participation budget is used today in many cities of the world, including Paris, Seoul, and others. It was first adopted in 1988 in the Brazilian city of Porto Alegre. Its essence is that the city authorities allocate a certain share from the budget and give the citizens themselves to decide on which projects to spend this money. This approach has demonstrated its effectiveness.
In April of this year, Akim of Almaty Bauyrzhan Baybek, announced the launch of the pilot project “Participation Budget” since 2020. The project assumes that 500 million tenge will be allocated from each of the 8 districts of Almaty from the city budget. Almaty residents themselves will determine their spending through open discussion of the projects and proposals submitted by residents and voting for them.
What factors need to be considered when implementing the Participation Budget in Almaty? What will allow to fill this initiative with real content? How to achieve high-quality interaction between city and district akimats and residents at all stages of the budget process - planning, approval, execution and reporting?
All these issues were discussed by experts at the meeting. Sholpan Aytenova, co-founder and executive director of the non-profit organization “Zertteu Research Institute”, introduced the participants to the practice of participation budget in modern cities of the world. Oleg Sek, director of Almaty Development Center JSC, said that the issues of project selection, the voting mechanism for projects and other issues are currently being worked out. Irina Shumeiko, a member of the Karasu community, presented the environmental project with the participation of citizens on the example of Karasu district, Almaty.
During the discussion, the experts expressed their views on this mechanism in general, as well as on the Participation Budget of Almaty in particular. Chief scientific officers of the KazISS under the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Lesya Karataev and Berik Abdygaliuly took part in the expert discussion.
Experts noted that the participation of citizens in the development of the budget is a complex and responsible process. It requires the adaptation of leading practices, taking into account the social, economic, political and legal realities in each specific example. On the other hand, the “Participation Budget” is conditioned by the need to actively involve urban communities and experts, starting from the stage of discussing a pilot project, forms, tools and mechanisms for its implementation.