‘My Budget’ Project Results: Residents from 25 settlements for the first time had participated in the budgeting for local development projects worth millions of lei
Thanks to ‘My Budget’ project, 135 participatory budgeting projects were carried out in 25 localities – these are among the main results of the ‘Inform, Empower and Act! Civil Society for Better Budgetary Governance in Moldova’ project. They were presented at the summing-up event organised on 25 January 2022 by ‘Expert-Grup’ Independent Think Tank, in partnership with the Institute for European Policies and Reforms (IPRE) and the Eastern Europe Studies Centre (EESC, Lithuania), with the financial support of the European Union and Konrad Adenauer Foundation.
The project hosts and partners presented the main project achievements, as well as the opportunities for ensuring the sustainability of participatory budgeting activities in the future.
Opening the event, Gintautas Baranauskas, Deputy Head of Operations of the EU Delegation to the Republic of Moldova said, ‘The EU project “Inform, Empower and Act!” promoted best practices in citizen participation and provided a platform for civil society organisations to engage in political dialogue and exchange of experience on civic engagement in the budgeting process. In the future, it will be very important that the results of this project are sustained and built upon, because budgetary transparency and citizen engagement are more important now than ever. Access to budgeting processes has the potential to empower citizens to improve their lives. Budgetary transparency is closely linked to improving socio-economic indicators and to human development, to increasing competitiveness and reducing corruption’.
In his turn, Stephan Malerius, Deputy Director and Head of the EU Projects Department of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation said, ‘We had some great partners in the project and we had considerable support from the EU Delegation in Chisinau and all the partners. Over the course of three years there have been a lot of changes as a result of this project, and the German foundation Konrad Adenauer intends to support you in the future as well. It’s not just making declarations, but contributing and having some concrete results, in order to improve resources and bring Moldova and Europe closer to each other.’
Natalia Sclearuc, head of Budget and Budgetary Policies Department of the Ministry of Finance and Dumitru Alaiba, Chairman of Parliamentary Committee for Budget and Finance, Parliament of the Republic of Moldova also made welcoming speeches, appreciating the importance of the project and supporting the idea of promoting further the principles of participatory budgeting.
Tatiana Savva, coordinator of ‘Inform, Empower and Act!’ project, presented the main outcomes and success stories, and spoke about the lessons learned in overcoming challenges related to participatory budgeting, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, the regional partners of the project, Tatiana Costev-Coșuleanu, executive director of the Institute for Rural Initiatives (IRI) (regional partner, ATU Gagauzia), Valeriu Rusu, executive director of the Regional Development Agency Habitat, (regional partner, Center region), Vasile Cioaric, expert of the CONTACT Center (regional partner, Security Zone), Rodica Frecăuțau, executive director of the Caroma Nord NGO (regional partner, North region) and Tatiana Seredenco, executive director of the AZI NGO (regional partner, South region), presented the results of three years of project implementation in 25 coalitions. The main conclusions and recommendations of the independent evaluator of the project were also presented.
Thus, among the most important project outputs highlighted at the event include the following:
- established 25 local coalitions, having approved operating regulations;
- over 750 active members of local coalitions;
- developed 50 Citizens Budgets;
- implemented 135 projects;
- invested over MDL 12 million in participatory budgeting projects;
- about 50 public hearings organised.
Speaking about the project impact, Adrian Lupușor, Executive Director of ‘Expert-Grup’, declared: ‘A community can develop on the basis of a budget that does not belong to the mayor or a narrow interest group, but rather to the community. And when the community’s budget is formed as a result of active and plenary engagement of all local stakeholders. This is the philosophy that all project team members embraced and will follow further on’
In this context, Iulian Groza, Executive Director of IPRE said: ‘Local coalitions were formed of community representatives and were intended to participate in the planning of the local budget. Coalition members set the priorities and monitored the budgetary activities at the local level, and this is an important element in the development of participatory budgeting in regions’.
During the second panel, participants discussed about the future of participatory budgeting in the Republic of Moldova. Thus, Stella Badin, deputy Mayor of Cahul municipality, Iurie Gangan, Mayor of Florești town and Nina Cereteu, Mayor of Drochia town, spoke about the prospects of implementing participatory budgeting, as well as about the challenges related to the development of local budgets. In his turn, José Manuel Ribeiro, mayor of Valongo town, Portugal, came up with examples and best practices of participatory budgeting from his country.
The main development partners also addressed the future plans for participatory budgeting implementation and opportunities to ensure continuity of project outcomes. Josip Juric, project manager at the Delegation of the European Union, spoke about the EU vision on the development of participatory budgeting in the Republic of Moldova. Elena Spînu, representative of GIZ Moldova, also presented the results of citizen engagement and capacity building under ‘Modernization of Local Public Services’ Project, and Stela Alexei, manager at USAID, presented the main aspects related to the implementation of ‘My Community’ Project. In his turn, Sergejus Muravjovas, Executive Director of ‘Transparency International’ (Vilnius), spoke about the transparency of participatory budgeting and lessons learned in Lithuania.
For more details, you can watch the recorded event here.
‘Inform, Empower and Act!’ project. The project ‘Civil Society for Better Budgetary Governance in Moldova’ was implemented in February 2019-2022 and co-funded by the European Union and the Konrad Adenauer Foundation. The project was implemented by the Independent Think Tank ‘Expert-Grup’, as lead partner, in consortium with Konrad Adenauer Stiftung e.V. (KAS, Germany), Eastern Europe Studies Centre (EESC, Lithuania) and Institute for European Policies and Reforms (IPRE).