An innovative multi-dimensional approach to accelerate the 2030 Agenda through Participatory Budgeting

With the objective of providing technical support to local governments for improving governance through a participatory decision-making process of deciding public finances, the Participatory-Habitat Initiative was initiated in 2019 by UN-Habitat's Urban Economy and Finance Branch (UEFB). UN-Habitat, with this Initiative, will take PB to new locations throughout the globe to accelerate the implementation of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, and the New Urban Agenda.

The Initiative aims to offer partner governments a practical solution through a digital platform that integrates public finances, citizen participation, and available information and communication technologies (ICT). This Initiative allows citizens to create and vote online for proposals of how to use part of the public budget --meaning the concrete implementation of several projects-- in a digital participatory budgeting process. However, citizens also in person can participate.

UN-Habitat using the Initiative's digital platform has created an innovative platform through which the PB process and its many features can enhance the participatory experience of both citizens and government. Citizens can find many resources – videos, publications, and news – in the digital platform to help them create proposals connected to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. They can also interact and see what other proposals are being created by counterparts in their city. Governments can reach out to their citizens, creating a channel to exchange and receive the relevant information to improve governance and prioritize areas of investment in accordance with citizen's preferences. Additionally, as using digital technologies, the Initiative contributes to the collection and analysis of crucial data that is fundamental for evidence-based policies that are consistent with reality.

News and Stories

Clara Luz, City Manager, General Escobedo, México

“Implementing Participatory Budgeting in General Escobedo through UN-Habitat's Participatory Budgeting Initiative has been proven to be a very powerful governance tool to find innovative solutions to the current needs of the city. It has created a channel of communication between the municipal government, citizens and organizations that is presenting us to new technologies and ideas that can make our city more sustainable and in accordance to UN’s 2030 Agenda.”

Clara Luz, City Manager, General Escobedo, México

The year Participatory Budgeting started
in Porto Alegre, Brazil
Projects that have been implemented
through PB in Porto Alegre, Brazil
First PB focus on Environment after last UN GA
General Escobedo, Mexico

Related Sustainable Development Goals

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Leaving no one and no place behind

Hover over or click the icons to learn about UN-Habitat's work on social inclusion here.

Deeply rooted in UN values and following UN-Habitat’s mandate to achieve the SDGs and to implement the NUA, the Participatory-Habitat Initiative ensures that projects and programmes proposed and implemented in partner cities are in accordance to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and contributes to equal rights and opportunities, as well as greater accessibility for all.

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Promoting equal representation in decision-making and allowing women to become agents of change by giving direct input and decision power through the whole Initiative process, Participatory-Habitat raises awareness and empowers women to shape the cities they live in.

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The youth is called into action in the Participatory-Habitat Initiative; they are able to engage, create proposals, debate, share, and vote for the best ideas. Specific workshops for the youth are held in schools, improving the potential of innovative solutions to be foster by this age group as well. The initiative promotes the civic commitment of the youth. Even under the official voting age, young people where the initiative is operating can participate in the process. This initiative thus also works as a citizenship school to prepare them as responsible and participatory citizens for now and the future.

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Sustainable urban development can only be achieved if persons with disabilities are included meaningfully in decision-making and are able to access their rights. UN-Habitat partners with representative groups and individual rights holders, as well as national and local governments, relevant UN bodies and civil society to maximize impact and to meaningfully ensure that the rights including accessibility and universal design of persons with disabilities are promoted, respected and protected. 

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Donors and partners

In November 2019, the Municipality of General Escobedo in Mexico signed a two-year cooperation agreement with the UN-Habitat to launch the Initiative for two consecutive cycles: 2019-2020 and 2020-2021. In the first year, citizens will have the chance to propose and vote for ideas that tackle environment and climate change, urban mobility, and public security issues in the municipality, backed with a 25 million Mexican Pesos Budget.