The Participatory-Habitat Initiative is the UN-Habitat program for the implementation of Participatory Budgeting (PB) together with the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). The Participatory-Habitat Initiative integrates the United Nations principles, values, and experience to influence the quality of participation and inclusion of civil society as well as the collection and analysis of data for smart policy decision-making, while providing an immediate and tangible tool for local governments to accelerate the implementation of the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
UN-Habitat has worldwide reach and the potential to scale PB in every member state country
The year Participatory Budgeting started • Porto Alegre, Brazil
Projects Implemented through PB • Porto Alegre, Brazil
Cities Implementing PB Worldwide
First PB focus on Environment after the last UN general assembly• General Escobedo, Mexico
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
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.
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).
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.
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
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