Participatory budgeting in Belarus: checking of possibilities for decentralised cooperation

NGO “Lev Sapieha Foundation” expert in public finances Yuri Krivorotko prepared the paper that aims to develop technique, ways, and relevant tools which lead to participatory budgeting in Belarus. The author also holds the position of the Head of economics and accounting department at the Belarusian Institute of Jurisprudence, doctor of economic sciences degree, professor position.

Most post-soviet countries are facing the challenge of improving the functioning of their sector of public administration. Theoretically, two contrary types of reaction to this challenge exist – centralization vs. decentralization. Both of them have advantages and disadvantages. In Belarus, the preference is likely to be given to the first one. But does it mean that there are no other options? We suppose that the answer is “yes, there are”. Decentralisation involving engine of inter-jurisdictional competition could provide a sound solution for public sector efficiency issue avoiding many problems associated with the growing power of the central government.

The process of decentralisation of local communities and the participative approach is one of the most challenging ones of these last years in the post-soviet countries and Belarus as well. Thanks to decentralised cooperation, the mutual cooperation between Civil Society and Local Governments occur and it is possible to develop projects and activities that support local democracy and economic and social development. They are also creating strong links between communities and citizens, creating dialogue and trust.

One of the ways of decentralised cooperation is the public participation in the local budget process or participatory budgeting where the citizens and active groups of the population are setting up the local budget and include in it their projects. Thanks to participatory budgeting, citizens have the right to say how part of the public resources should be spent. Participatory budgeting is a tool for further civic education which leads not only to a higher awareness of public issues and related policy making.

The paper investigates whether local participatory budgeting is an approach to reach the fiscal decentralization in countries with rigid centralized vertical power as it is Belarus. The paper analyses the results of the Visegrad group countries’ survey in the forms and techniques of participatory budgeting and presents the advantages and shortcomings of this process. The main determinants of the interest, awareness, and participation of citizens in participatory budgeting processes are explored as well. The study’s results in Belarus have shown that the main type of participatory budgeting is a re-granting model based on EU funds presented for Belarus. The developed ability of participatory budgeting within the re-granting projects in Belarus can testify to opportunities of transfer of its experience on the local budget process by citizens on the base of the participation principle. Checking of possibilities for participatory budgeting in local budget process the paper explores.

Krivorotko. Participatory budgeting in Belarus - checking of possibilities for decentralised cooperation


Intensifying of citizen self-organization and participation in local self-government has been gaining relevance under the conditions in which the Belarusian society has been developing. Further improvement of the legal and organizational framework for local self-government is a fundamental factor in promoting the role of local self-government bodies in the delivery of public services.

The Belarusian Constitution (Article 117) provides for territorial public self-government as a legal and organizational form of citizen involvement in local self-government. This form of engagement in local governance was first set forth in law and began to develop in Belarus in October of 1989. However, due to a number of causes, territorial public self-government has failed to develop on a large scale or realize its capabilities.

The aim of this study is to research the evolution, formation and functioning of territorial public self-government bodies (TPSGBs), identify problems and factors inhibiting the exercise of citizens’ rights to self-government, and define a strategy for the effective and sustainable development of local communities and territorial public self-government bodies they form.

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Policy Brief on Possible Directions of Cooperation

Policy Brief on Possible Directions of Cooperation between the Council for Cooperation of Local Self-Government Bodies under the Council of the Republic of the Belarusian National Assembly and the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe was prepared by the experts of NGO “Lev Sapieha Foundation” in 2009.

Download the paper here.

On Local Government and Self-Government in the Republic of Belarus

The Law on Local Government and Self-Government in the Republic of Belarus.

Passed by the House of Representatives on December 11, 2009

Endorsed by the Council of the Republic on December 17, 2009

This Law determines the legal and organizational basis of local government and self-government in the Republic of Belarus.

The translation is not an official.

Download the translation of the Law On Local Government and Self-Government Law in the Republic of Belarus.

the Law On Local Government and Self-Government Law in the Republic of Belarus

Local Self-Government in Belarus

The publication is an overview of the materials of a number of studies in the field of public administration and local self-government in the Republic of Belarus, carried out by the expert group of NGO «Lev Sapieha Foundation» (Minsk, Belarus) during 2015−2016.

These studies of Belarusian specialists are part of the international programme «Strengthening Institutional Frameworks for Local Governance in the Eastern Partnership Countries», in the framework of the Programmatic Cooperation of the European Union and the Council of Europe.

The publication is addressed to a wide range of readers — deputies of local Councils and specialists of government bodies, activists of public associations and citizen initiatives, teachers of social sciences and students, as well as to all who are interested in local self-government and citizen’s participation at the local level.

NGO «Lev Sapieha Foundation» thanks to the European Union for helping to publish this brochure.

The content of this publication is the responsibility of its authors. The content of this publication does not reflect the position of the European Union.

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“Public Administration Reform at the Local and Regional Level in the EaP Countries (…)”

This final study report on “Public Administration Reform at the Local and Regional Level in the Eastern Partnership Countries: developments since 2012 in the field of decentralisation and recommendations for the future” is part of the Project ‘Short term high-quality studies to support activities under the Eastern Partnership – HiQSTEP, EuropeAid/132574/C/SER/Multi’, carried out by an international consortium under the leadership of Kantor Management Consultants.
The present study has been carried out to support the activities of Platform 1– “Democracy, Good Governance and Stability” – of the Eastern Partnership. In this regard, it is important to note that promoting good governance and decentralisation reform implementation have been identified as a priority area by the EaP Platform 1 “Democracy, Good Governance and Stability” Work Programme for the period of 2014-2017.
The DG NEAR and DG Regio are the driving forces in cooperation with EaP Countries on this theme. The present study has been implemented by the team under the leadership of Dr Vyacheslav Tolkovanov, Study Team Leader, and composed of Dr Juraj Nemec, Senior International Expert and the following national experts: Valentina Gevorgyan(Armenia), Samir Aliyev (Azerbaijan), Miroslav Kobasa (Belarus), Nelly Dolidze (Georgia), Angela Cascaval (Moldova) and Nataliya Kyrychenko (Ukraine). The overall supervision, quality check and management have been carried out by Przemysław Musiałkowski, Team Leader of the HiQSTEP Project. Sincere thanks go to the national stakeholders in all six countries who provided information through interviews and responses to questionnaires.

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Local Finance Benchmarking in the Eastern Partnership Countries

Local finance benchmarking (LFB) is a tool designed by the Council of Europe to contribute to improving local financial management and fiscal arrangements for local authorities in all European countries. It is based on two Recommendations of the Committee of Ministers, prepared after consultation with OECD, IMF and the World Bank. This tool has already produced good results in various other countries, such as Bulgaria, Greece, Portugal, Spain and Ukraine. Its implementation started in Eastern Partnership countries under the Council of Europe/European Union Eastern Partnership Programmatic Co-operation Framework for 2015-2017.

This Study was prepared by a team of international and local experts. National chapters of this study come up with concrete recommendations to overcome the existing drawbacks of LFB implementation. The preparation of this study is the first step of the project. It should lead to the preparation of national Benchmarks and their implementation on a pilot basis in 2016. It is expected that, like in most other countries where this tool was implemented, it will produce real-life reforms of local financial management not only in the pilot municipalities but also in other local authorities in the participating countries.

A national policy on promoting LFB and incentives to encourage local governments to reform their financial management practice, when appropriate in the light of the results of the implementation of this
tool are important elements for the success of the reform of financial regulations and practice. Financial management benchmarking, which is not yet widespread in the region, needs to be encouraged by disseminating
success stories from the region and beyond, thus exposing decision-making representatives from both the central and local level to these good practices and creating positive incentives for reforms.

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Source: Council of Europe

Challenges in financial management of Belarus

Financial management in Belarus develops according to the model of economic development oriented on social managing and market economy. Positive tendencies of development of this model substantially were defined by continuous and multilateral cooperation with Russia, deliveries of cheap raw material resources, unlimited credit resources. However, the latest events in the economy of Belarus have connected with restriction of cheap deliveries of hydro carbonic raw materials and credit limitation and as a result failures in policy of the budgetary income and investment policy, frequent inflationary splashes and devaluation processes. They caused in Belarus a serious monetary crisis in 2011. All this called into question ways, means and methods to realize the working model of economic development. Continue reading “Challenges in financial management of Belarus”

Crisis of Belarusian Banking system 2011: Challenges and Problems of Exit

The main purpose of the paper is to show the deep reasons and features of the Belarus banking crisis, anti-recessionary technique and methods of banking management, crisis lessons and the most important to show that it is necessary to do not to allow similar crisis in other transitional countries. The methodology used includes the research of set key banking indicators, data of budgetary indicators, dynamics of inflation indicators, deposition market aggregates, bank assets indicators, balance of payments components, and export indicators. Statistical data for analysis obtained from official sources, such as the State Statistics Committee, National bank, Ministries of Finance, Association of Belarusian banks and online databases of analytical centres working in this field. Analytical toolkits, such as the comparison method, a method of coefficients, index tools, and variations are used and some theoretical assumptions are made.


Information Memo On the Draft Law of the Republic of Belarus «On Local Government and Self-Government in the Republic of Belarus»

The House of Representatives of the Belarusian National Assembly is now considering Belarus’ Draft Law “On Local Government and Self-Government in the Republic of Belarus”.  The draft has been submitted to the parliament by the President of the Republic of Belarus. This draft passed the first reading by the House of Representatives of the National Assembly on June 11, 2009.

The Lev Sapieha Foundation has prepared an information memo on this draft law. It contains an analysis of some conceptual points of the draft and also an analysis of several articles as well as remarks, additions and proposals concerning these conceptual points and articles. This analysis and our vision of the prospects for the development of local self-government in Belarus form the foundation for our conclusions and proposals.

The principles and norms of the European Charter of Local Self-Government (hereinafter referred to as the Charter) are used as a reference point for the analysis. The legislation and experience of local self-government in Russia and other countries neighboring on Belarus have been also taken into consideration.

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