As more and more municipalities, NGOs and other organizations in a democracy are getting to know participatory budgeting all over the world, some basic questions arise over the subject. What is participatory budgeting (PB)? How is it implemented? Who is it for? What are the best practices and challenges for its implementation and sustainability? An excellent place to start tackling these fundamental questions is the international PBbase-network – a place for networking and checking out manifold materials in English and other languages.
The PBbase-network is set up by the EmPaci – Empowering Participatory Budgeting in the Baltic Sea Region-project. BISER is one of the project partners working with the BSR institutions together on this project since 2019. The PBbase-network, established within the EmPaci project, is open to all interested parties, and its aim is to share information and experiences regarding the implementation of PB in different local settings. PBbase works mainly as a networking tool in bringing PB experts, municipalities and other interested parties together. Now, as the year 2021 comes to an end, the international PB-network celebrates its first year of operations.
The first year of PBbase has been a great start to the new network. PBbase has already hosted six international events on a wide range of PB-related topics, organised by experts from multiple European countries. These events have gathered together academics, municipal workers, citizens, NGO’s and other attendees interested in the multiple ways one can implement PB in different scenarios. The events have discussed themes such as implementing PB in a school setting, operating PB on a smaller scale in smaller municipalities and the evolving nature of PB. While the events have already generated noticable interest, there is always room for more attendees – everyone is welcome to join.
The one-year-old PBbase has also now solified its existence by appointing a board of experts. The board is set up to organize upcoming PBbase-events, facilitate the operations of PBbase and act as messengers on behalf of PB and PBbase. The members of the newly formed PBbase board of experts are from different countries in the Baltic Sea region. The first board of experts for the year 2022 were appointed on December 15th, 2021.
The board members in alphabetical order are:
- Jaroslav Dvorak, Klaipėda University, Lithuania
- Ellen Haustein, University of Rostock, Germany
- Annukka Heinonen, LAB University of Applied Scieces, Finland
- Magda Leszczyna-Rzucidło, Baltic Institute for Regional and European Concern BISER, Poland
- Peter Lorson, University of Rostock, Germany
- Renāte Lukjanska, Social Innovation Centre, Latvia
- Lienīte Priedāja-Klepere, Vidzeme Planning region, Latvia
- Jan Sienkiewicz, Regional Development Agency in Bielsko-Biała, Poland
- Lotta-Maria Sinervo, Tampere University, Finland
- Dmitrii Trutnev, ITMO University, Russia
“Networking on PB is important for beginners as well as experienced implementors. Studying best practice examples from different areas is an excellent way to develop and improve a strategy for designing and implementing PB. Networking and benchmarking also help to avoid risks in implementation, as well as aide one’s success.”– says Peter Lorson, newly elected chair of PBbase board of experts for 2022.
The international aspect of PBbase ensures that a variety of voices, cultures and legal settings are represented, and multiple ways of implementing PB in different settings can be brought to light. Anyone interested in implementing PB or planning on implementing it or just generally interested in the subject can join PBbase – everyone is warmly welcomed. You can find up-to-date information on past and upcoming PBbase events here:
PBbase has created great free video materials for anyone interested in PB and its different elements. The short videos are educational and translated to English. The PBbase YouTube channel can be accessed here.
A PBbase LinkedIn group for exchanging messages with other members can be entered here.
PBbase is a product of the EmPaci – Empowering Participatory Budgeting in the Baltic Sea Region – project. This EU Interreg-funded project aims to develop and implement participatory budgeting in nine municipalities in six European countries (Finland, Germany, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland and Russia). You can learn more about the EmPaci-project at http://empaci.eu/.