Twenty-five local coalitions set up in various parts of Moldova, including in the Gagauz autonomy and the Transnistrian region, have interacted with local public authorities to promote and implement participatory budgeting tools at the community level. The actions took place as part of a project implemented with the financial support of the European Union and the Konrad Adenauer Foundation. The coalitions include about 750 members of civil society, the private sector, and representatives of local service providers.
The project has been implemented by the Independent Analytical Center Expert-Grup, in partnership with the Institute for European Policies and Reforms, and as an international partner was the Center for Eastern European Studies. At the final event of the project, Adrian Lupușor, Executive Director of Expert-Grup, stated that participatory budgeting is a relatively new element for Moldova and, for this reason, there were quite a few challenges. They were overcome thanks to the established partnerships, but also due to the enthusiasm of all the partners involved.
“The development of a locality can take place on the basis of a budget that is not of the mayor or of the Government, or of an interest group, but is of the community. And the community budget is formed only following an active and full involvement of all actors at the local level. It is the philosophy that we have all embraced within the project team and that we will continue to follow”, said Adrian Lupușor.
Gintautas Baranauskas, deputy head of the operations department at the EU Delegation to Chisinau, said the project’s implementation began at politically uncertain times and continued during the pandemic. Even so, the main goal was achieved. “The project informs, empowers, provides citizens with the skills to act. It provides a platform for dialogue and other opportunities for the budget process. The project has formed over 20 local coalitions that I hope will continue after the end of the project. A participatory budgeting platform has been created and this is an example of transparency for local budgets. It is very important that the results of the project are sustainable and that the budgets are transparent. Citizen participation is more important than ever”, said Gintautas Baranauskas.
Stephan Malerius, Deputy Director and Head of the EU Projects Department at the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, said that the partners in this project were extraordinary and that EU support was important. The German foundation will continue to provide support with concrete results for improvements, but also for bringing Moldova closer to the European Union and vice versa.
Iulian Groza, executive director of IPRE, said that those local coalitions were made up of community representatives and were meant to be involved in the process of prioritizing the budget at the local level. They set priorities and monitored budgetary activities at the local level.
The project “Inform, enable and act! Civil Society for Better Budgetary Governance in Moldova ” was implemented between February 2019 and January 2022. An information and awareness campaign was carried out within the project, and tools were developed to be subsequently used by stakeholders to participate in the budgetary process. Capacity-building activities have also been organized to empower local change agents to participate actively and effectively in all stages of the local budget process.