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Participatory budgeting in Belarus: checking of possibilities for decentralised cooperation

Yuri Krivorotko

Abstract: The process of decentralisation of local communities and the participative approach is one of the most challenging ones of these last years in the post-soviet countries and in Belarus, as well. Thanks to decentralised cooperation, the mutual cooperation between Civil Society and Local Governments occur and it is possible to develop projects and activities that support local democracy and economic and social development. They are also creating strong links between communities and citizens, creating dialogue and trust. One of the decentralised cooperation's ways is the public participation in local budget process where the citizens and active groups of population are setting up the local budget and include in it their projects. Thanks to participatory budgeting, citizens have the right to say how part of the public resources should be spent. The paper purposes are to develop technique, ways, and relevant tools which lead to participatory budgeting in Belarus. The paper investigates whether local participatory budgeting is an approach to reach the fiscal decentralization in countries with rigid centralized vertical power as it is Belarus. The paper analyses the results of the Vishegrad group countries' survey in the forms and techniques of participatory budgeting and presents the advantages and shortcomings of this process. The main determinants of the interest, awareness, and participation of citizens in participatory budgeting processes are explored as well.

The study's results in Belarus have shown that the main type of participatory budgeting is a re-granting model based on EU funds presented for Belarus. The developed ability of participatory budgeting within the re-granting projects in Belarus can testify to opportunities of transfer of its experience on the local budget process by citizens on the base of the participation principle. Checking of possibilities for participatory budgeting in local budget process the paper explores. Key successes factors for participatory budgeting in Belarus are concerned. The research methodology will be based on the approaches made by Manor, Nemec, Selee, Tulchin, Souza, Sedmihradska, Raulda, Rodgers, Wampler, Wilmore and other researches. Empirical studies will be linked with participatory budgeting's pilot projects in Slovakia, Poland, and Ukraine where they developed. Statistical data from official sources such as Ministry of finance, regional financial departments, NGOs and databases in this area, etc. will also be used.

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