Participatory Habitat Initiative

UN-Habitat has worldwide reach and the potential to scale PB in every member state country

A valuable tool for good governance

"The participatory-Habitat Initiative is an important governance tool to improve citizen participation and discover innovative solutions for the city's most current issues" Clara Luz Flores, Mayor of General Escobedo in Mexico
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How UN-Habitat Began with PB ?

UN-Habitat has been researching and promoting PB as an revolutionary finance and good governance policy since the 1990s, back when it was being experimented for the first time in Brazil. After the 1989 first PB implementation in Porto Alegre, UN-Habitat awarded the policy with the Best Practice for Urban Management, conceded to 40 projects worldwide in the occasion of Habitat II conference in 1996. The recognition of PB by UN-Habitat was the first major step for its international recognition and expansion. Since then has developed a series of publications and activities around the promotion of PB.

What is Participatory Budgeting?

Participatory Budgeting (PB) is a process in which citizens are invited to directly decide on how to spend part of the government’s budget. They do so by creating proposals and voting for those who will bring more collective benefits. Nowadays, new technologies potentialize PB’s benefits, make it easier to implement and accessible to even more citizens who want to contribute to create a better urban future.

How can Participatory Budgeting help make cities reach the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)?

Today, UN-Habitat uses the accumulated knowledge with PB to provide technical support and experience to state members and local governments to scale up its the implementation as a means for achieving the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development. PB can be a key tool for local governments to make the necessary investments to work on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

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With humanity becoming increasingly urban, trends indicate poverty is also becoming increasingly urban. Sustainable urbanization improves the lives of people in human settlements around the world and increases prosperity.

Sustainable urbanization increases food security. The presence of cultivatable land for farming provides food for urban areas and supports agricultural productivity whilst improving the livelihoods of rural populations.

Through integrated urban planning, access to basic services, and access to decent and affordable housing, sustainable cities contribute to better health.

Inclusive and sustainable cities provide better access to education by the urban poor, women and girls. Inclusive and equitable education provides adequate skills for decent jobs and improved living conditions.

Providing women and girls with equal access to education, health care, decent work, and representation in political and economic decision-making processes nurtures sustainable economies, and helps develop inclusive and sustainable cities.

Effective urban planning and urban waste management systems ensure access to safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene, and improve the quality and sustainability of water resources worldwide.

Access to clean and efficient energy systems is crucial for the development of safe, resilient and sustainable cities, allowing them to grow and perform efficiently while reducing pollution and mitigating climate change.

Inclusive and sustainable cities are a positive and potent force for addressing sustainable economic growth and prosperity, as they drive innovation, consumption and investment.

Investment in infrastructure, industrialization and innovation are key to making cities safe, resilient, inclusive and sustainable.

Sustainable cities address prevailing inequalities through better urban planning, design and governance, providing better opportunities for employment, affordable housing and accessible transport.

Half the world's population now live in cities, and this is projected to increase to two-thirds by 2050. Cities can solve many of the challenges our world faces. Urban areas drive innovation, consumption and investment worldwide, making them a positive and potent force for addressing sustainable economic growth, urban development and prosperity.

Sustainable urbanization uses natural resources innovatively and efficiently. These sustainable patterns of production and consumption increase cities productivity and reduce negative environmental impacts.

Sustainable cities provide real opportunities to mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change, through environmentally sustainable and resilient urban design, development and governance.

Sustainable urban planning and proper management of resources can reduce the pressure coastal cities put on the environment. Proper management of waste generated by cities prevents ocean pollution and protects biodiversity.

Sustainable urbanization and better urban planning, including the development of green infrastructures and the safe management and treatment of waste, can conserve and restore terrestrial ecosystems.

Peaceful, inclusive and sustainable cities rely on the kind of institutions we build in cities. This impacts how we govern our cities as well as how we implement the process of urbanization itself.

Increasing international cooperation is seen as vital to achieving each of the 16 previous goals. Achieving the SDGs, including Goal 11, will only be possible if there are strong partnerships within and across with all the goals.

How can Participatory Budgeting help make cities reach the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)?
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Governance Benefits


PB can fit the agenda of the local government through targeting a specific thematic area (environment, mobility, education, infrastructure)


Greater Legitimacy of investment decisions, common interests and concerns and linking people for joint action


Greater transparency in public expenditure, encouraging accountability and responsibility of politicians; making investment decisions public


Citizenship benefits due to the transfer of budgetary decision-making; such as greater participation, engagement, education and increased civic responsibility

Benefits of Local Finances


Budgeting efficiency; Inclusion of citizens in determining budget investment priorities


Making public spending more equitable and efficient, serving as an instrument for social innovation


Increases in tax collection, decrease of tax delinquency; citizens can see where public budget is invested, and therefore increasing trust in their institutions


Increases understanding of the budget formulation process: citizens learn for how difficult it is when the focus has to be on the common good

What are the advantages of doing Participatory Budgeting online?

  1. Modernization and e-governance; public institutions get closer to new digital and societal reality
  2. Online participation is liberated from time and location constraints
  3. A unique quality of participation emerges ; citizen-citizen, citizen-government, citizen-government-citizen
  4. Equitable participation; inter-generational and gender justice
  5. A great solution and application for data collection
  6. User-Friendly
  7. Smartphone and computer compatible.

PB Publications

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