Today, on February 28, the Cabinet of Ministers approved the order* prepared by the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development (MoEPRD), which contributes towards the development of a centralized participatory budgeting management platform that can be used by all Latvian municipalities, thus providing citizens with the opportunity to see and submit projects not only within their municipality, but throughout Latvia. The system will be developed with the funds of the European Union Recovery and Resilience Facility in the amount of 630 000 euro, while the amount of value added tax (VAT) will be financed from the state budget.
Local Government Law notes the introduction of several citizen participation instruments in municipalities, including the implementation of participatory budgeting. Participatory budgeting as a voluntary initiative is currently being implemented in some municipalities, for example in the state cities of Riga and Jelgava, as well as in the counties of Gulbene, Saldus, Jelgava, Mārupe, Olaine, Ropaži, Valmiera and Smiltene. However, starting from January 1, 2025, participatory budgeting must be ensured in all municipalities.
In order to implement participatory budgeting in all municipalities of Latvia, a supporting digital tool or participatory budgeting information system is being created, which will provide an opportunity for all municipalities to organize participatory budgeting project idea contests online and for citizens to participate in these contests.
In order to introduce a supporting digital tool for municipalities and at the same time effectively use existing digital infrastructure, an information system already available to municipalities - Territorial Development Planning Information System - will be expanded, thus providing an opportunity for municipal development planning specialists to perform development planning processes in one place. At the same time, it is planned to create the publicly accessible section of the participatory budgeting information system in the form of an e-service on the Portal of State Administration Services - Latvija.lv.
This system will give citizens the opportunity to participate in the participatory budgeting initiative by submitting project applications or voting projects, and to view other examples of territory development projects submitted in the participatory budgeting information system.
The total cost of the project is 749 070 euro, incl. the Recovery and Resilience Facility funding of 630 000 euro and 119 070 euro from the state budget to cover VAT costs.
Considering that the functionality of the participatory budgeting information system has a direct impact on all municipalities, representatives of municipalities, associations and foundations will be involved in the process of developing and implementing the information system in order to implement the best possible solution based on the needs of municipalities.
The State Regional Development Agency is a partner within the project and the co-responsible institution for the implementation of the project and the execution of the planned activities.
*"On the approval of the development plan of the passport and centralized functions or shared services of the investment project 188.8.131.52.i. "Development and implementation of a shared platform ensuring participatory budgeting management"