Every fourth municipality (15 out of 60) is implementing participatory budgeting: every eighth (8 out of 60) municipality invites its residents to decide on how to spend a part of their budget, while 7 out of 60 municipalities are preparing to do so in the near future. This is seen in the overview carried out by Transparency International Lithuanian chapter.
Since 2018, residents of Lithuanian municipalities (Alytus city, Kretinga district, Lazdijai district, Panevėžys city, Panevėžys district, Šiauliai city, Vilkaviškis district) decided on a total sum of 1 400 000 Euros, submitted 156 projects and chose the 23 winning projects. 4 winning projects have already been fully implemented (Alytus city municipality). Municipalities invite residents to suggest and vote for initiatives worth from 7 to 150 thousand Euros. Some municipalities allocate up to 300 thousand Euros to participatory budgeting initiatives per year.
Municipalities state that through participatory budgeting initiatives they seek to increase the opportunities for citizen involvement in forming the budget, stimulate debate on urban development, build communities, improve the social and living environment, and promote business creation and participation in municipal activities.
Two municipalities (Klaipėda city and Klaipėda district) are preparing to implement the participatory budgets not only at the municipal level but also in schools.
9 out of 10 municipalities state that they involve their residents in other ways as well. This is done mostly to consult with them (213 out of 316 initiatives) on issues such as the municipal budget, infrastructure, entertainment, environment, culture, quality of service in municipal institutions, etc.
Every ninth municipality (7 out of 60) (Birštonas, Biržai district, Kaišiadorys district, Plungė district, Radviliškis district, Švenčionys district and Vilnius district) did not specify any citizen engagement initiatives.
“Participatory budgets are citizens’ budgets. It is a great way to raise awareness among all of us. I’m glad more and more local leaders are becoming fans of it. I would very much like every municipality and school in Lithuania to have its own participatory budgeting initiative soon,” said Sergejus Muravjovas, CEO of Transparency International Lithuanian chapter.
This review was conducted by examining the information provided by municipalities in response to the TI Lithuania’s inquiry (August 2020), which asked about the opportunities municipality residents have of participating in the decision-making process, as well as measures used by the municipalities to promote greater activity and interest of their residents. The questionnaire sent to the municipalities can be found here.
Participatory budgeting is a way of making decisions together with citizens, during which they decide how public money should be spent by proposing ideas and voting for them. More information about participatory budgeting initiatives: www.dalyvaujamasisbisudzetas.lt.
The initiative is funded by the German Embassy in Lithuania.
More information: Ingrida Kalinauskienė, email@example.com, +370 5 212 69 51