The forum "Participatory Budgeting: Reboot", organized by the East Europe Foundation and the EGAP program, brought together participants from various fields to discuss topical issues of initiating and adapting the process of participatory budgeting/school participatory budgeting in Ukraine to the requirements of wartime.
Viktor Liakh, President of the Eastern Europe Foundation, and Andreas Huber, Director of the Swiss Cooperation Office of the Embassy of Switzerland in Ukraine, delivered opening speeches.
As a result of the great war, security challenges have become a priority, which has led to a restriction on holding PB competitions in Ukraine. Last year, only 13 competitions were held, of which 12 were supported by the DECIDE project. Compared to the previous year, when 134 competitions were held, including 12 school projects, this is a significant decrease in activity.
However, this year, communities have shown a willingness to adapt to new conditions, thanks to the support of the Swiss-Ukrainian EGAP Program. Applications for participatory budgeting competitions were submitted by 40 communities, which indicates an active interest in this tool.
Key-note speaker. Przemysław Gorski, Inspector of the Public Consultation Department of the Urban Development Department. Municipality of Łódź
The main topic of discussion at the Forum — the challenges and opportunities of the participatory budgeting process in Ukraine as an effective tool for community development is close and understandable to the ONOVA League team, as our activities are aimed at restoring communities using the best international practices.
"Digitalization of communities is one of the priority areas for the ONOVA League. Despite the ongoing war, we are actively encouraging communities to implement and use electronic tools and services in their work and life. This saves money and time, speeds up various bureaucratic procedures and facilitates the receipt of services. We consider e-democracy tools to be of particular value, in particular, the Public Budget, which is a great way to digitally transform the community as a whole. It ensures openness and transparency in the management of local affairs, including finances, and gives citizens a real opportunity to participate directly in the implementation of their own ideas and projects," said Iryna Knyshova, Digitalization Coordinator at Ukraine's Renovation League ONOVA.
We thank the organizers of the Forum for the opportunity to exchange useful experiences with other event participants and hope that the Participatory Budget will continue to help develop communities and contribute to the restoration of Ukraine step by step.