Within the scope of a project by GIZ and German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) ADWISE Consulting conducted a study on “Citizen Participation in Local Budgeting “. The objective of the project was to carry out a baseline study on citizen participation in local budgeting in Armenia focusing on the special needs of the target audience including citizens, municipal financial staff, relevant NGOs and other members of civil society. The second step was to propose recommendations on how the identified needs of the target group should be addressed so as to enhance citizen participation in local governance. Our experts interviewed municipal financial staff, citizens and NGOs in chosen municipalities across Armenia, as well as analyzed Armenian legislation, practice and international best-practices.
There are several factors that hamper active citizen participation in local budgeting, such as lack of awareness and trust, limited knowledge regarding citizen rights and responsibilities, as well as low incentives. While the budgets allocated to communities are limited, the study identified potential for improving citizen participation by improving awareness-raising, further increasing transparency and introducing citizen budgets.
The final step of the project was to present and discuss the key findings of the study during a project meeting and round-table discussions in Tbilisi, Georgia, which was carried out by our partner Ara Khzmalyan. Through discussions between experts and municipal staff from Armenia, Georgia, Ukraine and Germany plans to improve citizen participation were further refined.