MFSI-II Helping Lviv Implement Participatory Budget
17 August 2016
MFSI-II Helping Lviv Implement Participatory Budget
   On 15 August, the Institute for Budgetary and Socio-Economic Research (IBSER) held a roundtable Implementation of Participatory Budget in Lviv as part of the USAID Municipal Finance Strengthening Initiative (MFSI-II) Roll-out Project. The event was conducted at the Lviv City Council and was chaired by Lviv Mayor, Andrii Sadovyi. More than 60 persons took part in the roundtable, including Deputy Mayor, Andrii Moskalenko, members of the Lviv City Council, representatives of the Ternopil, Rivne, Khmelnytskyi, and Chernivtsi city council, nongovernmental organizations, independent experts, and the media.
   Presented at the event was a Citizen Project electronic system, which is unique in Ukraine and was developed as part of the MFSI-II project. The Citizen Project is an electronic Web-based system, which allows conducting the whole cycle of budgeting activities with participation of local community in any Ukrainian city. The system provides for organization of transparent and clear participatory budgeting in cities, where citizens are able to develop and submit their own projects aimed at improving the quality of life in the community.  The project to receive the most residents’ votes will be implemented at the expense of local budget funds.
   The IBSER Director General, Vyacheslav Zubenko told the audience that the methodology and software for the Citizen Project electronic system were developed as part of the MFSI-II Project. On a competitive basis, the project has selected 14 Ukrainian citizens, which will receive the electronic system for implementation of their participatory budgets. The project team is now working with each of the cities to elaborate special conditions for introduction of their participatory budgeting and is adapting the system to suit individual cities’ specific needs.
   On 15 August, the Citizen Project system was successfully put online at the Lviv City Council website and is now available at (or “Lviv is the first city, which is implementing participatory budgeting as part of our project. The municipal leaders’ commitment and willingness to engage in an open and honest dialog with the community played the key role in this process,” Vyacheslav Zubenko said.
   In turn, the Lviv Mayor, Andrii Sadovyi stressed the importance of participatory budgeting for the development of a modern city: “I believe the citizen budget is a great opportunity for an active citizen to directly participate in managing the city. The best thing to do it is to enable control over finance. It is also important for all of this to take place in parallel with electronic governance, and it is my great wish that the residents make greater use of modern technology. Right now, it is important to bring this information to all Lviv citizens, since if a person directly participates in some undertaking, such person would feel empowered as his or her voice will be heard. We need to teach people how to work with public funds and influence the things around them.”

   Thanks to the Citizen Project electronic system, the cities which are introducing the participatory budgeting, have a unique opportunity to implement a transparent mechanism for engaging their citizens in making managerial decisions on allocation of community funds by automating all the related processes, starting with identification of project authors, through submission of their projects for evaluation, communication, and organization of offices for assisting the project authors and the voters, voting, selection of projects, and to approving their funding, as well as control over practical implementation of all citizen projects. Today, the MFSI-II Project is able to act as a comprehensive system integrator, and to quickly and effectively organize the respective processes in Ukrainian cities.