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Participatory budgeting: useful tool or just a fad?

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International conference to celebrate 10 years of participatory budgeting in Slovakia


Is participatory budgeting merely a trend of the last few years or a process that’s useful and beneficial for everyone included? That was the question asked by the international conference in Bratislava, which took place last week from 24th to 25th June. It was organized by the Office of the Plenipotentiary for the Development of the Civil Society under the patronage of Comenius University in Bratislava. Aside from the Participation Factory team, experts on public participation from the Czehc Republic, Germany, Finland, the United Kingdom and Slovakia attended.


The first day included an exchange of experience with experts first from western Europe, namely from Portugal, Germany and Scotland, followed by middle and eastern Europe, which included the Baltic region and the Czech Republic. The day concluded with a closed discussion about opportunities and cooperation in the future.


Next day, the program focused on the needs and requirements of participation practitioners in Slovakia – these are politicians, NGOs, local administration and activists. Aside from lectures and a moderated discussion, a focus group and a debate about good practice regarding online participatory budgeting took place. Another topic was experience with PB in the context of regions, cities and schools.


The conference was closed off by a discussion about the importance of events such as this to share know-how, experience and common problems or challenges in the field of participation. Outcomes of all the debates were recorded and the organisers plan to process them in order to use them as a basis for the Slovakian chart of basic principles for participatory budgeting which will serve anyone who wishes to begin participatory budgeting.


You can find all four parts of the conference recorded here:

1st part: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ixEx9-FDH1k&feature=youtu.be

2nd part: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bJRjC7sDzPc

3rd part: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QSkWw70q1ik

4th part: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kr5F9w1r0rc