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  • Ethos, Accountability Lab, Ollin and Borde gathered representatives of the civil society organizations, actors of the private sector, community leaders and guarantor agencies involved in monitoring, and public policy design and/or programs that aim to foster the 2030 Agenda.  
  • They want to trigger positive narratives around the accomplished achievements for citizens and public servants in order to build bridges of trust and achieve greater citizen involvement.
  • They will socialize and promote the participatory budget topics in other legislative entities, aiming to deepen its understanding.

Tuesday, October 26th 2021, Mexico City – This morning, civil society organizations and institutions met to make public their intention to create the first Citizen Observatory for the Participatory Budget in Mexico and convened other key actors to join this initiative. 

Every year, the Local Congress of Mexico City approves the budget for the City and other Municipalities as well. A part of the budget devoted to the Municipalities is called the Participatory Budget. This budget is allocated to projects proposed by the citizens of a city or a town. This happens also in other federal entities as well. 

The funds are allocated to the following sectors: services and construction; urban infrastructure; crime prevention; recreational, sports, and cultural activities.

The intention of the convening organizations was born out of the conjunction of their objectives and their firm conviction around the necessity of strengthening and creating resilience in the communities through the better understanding of the political activity and the engagement of the citizens in the decision making. “We want the citizens to own the Participatory Budget”, Greta Ríos, President of Ollin, pointed out. 

“If citizens have access to better information about this process, better decisions and greater demands can be made regarding how this public resource is exercised.” added Ríos. 

The Observatory will also open opportunities for analysis to detect the best practices and opportunity areas. This will trigger a mechanism of open innovation. 

“As civil society organizations, the most efficient and durable way to achieve changes in public policy is through the collaboration among other key actors that pursue the same goal. Certainly, the participatory budget is a democratic exercise that proves that the joint work between authorities and citizens can result – not only in addressing specific issues – but also in the empowerment of the communities”, pointed out Liliana Alvarado, Ethos Executive Director. 

On the other hand, Mariana Niembro, Co-founder and General Director of Borde Político and Co-founder of Auna as well, highlighted the importance of understanding the needs in order to  understand thoroughly the communities reality: “We have to understand the necessities of our neighbourhoods and we need to engage in decision-making to take responsibility for the reconstruction of the social fabric.” 

The effect of low participation of citizens in Mexico can be seen in more democratic processes than just vote turnover in electoral periods. In the matter of public policy design and tax collection distribution, it is imperative that the citizens are integrated into the processes of decision-making. 

“Today, just in our country, 3% of the budgets allocated for neighbourhoods or delegations are participatory, this would mean that we, as  citizens, don’t think, don’t have any ideas or any interest; this means the government still thinks that citizens are not capable of deciding what we want”, said Vania Pérez, Counselor of the Citizen Participation Board of the Anti-corruption National System.

On the other side, open government, transparency, and civic technology specialists consider essential to take advantage of the platform PresupuestoParticipativo.org in order to trigger narratives based on data available and inspire citizens engagement in the co-creation of projects eligible to access public funds via the Participatory Budget in more entities. 

“We have been working for more than 10 years aiming to build positive conversations related to public service when it’s performed with honesty, transparency, integrity and attached – not just to the rule of law – but also taking into account the needs and claims of the citizens”, said Blair Glencorse, Executive Director of Accountability Lab.

“We recognize the transformative power of giving visibility to those who are doing the right thing and documenting in a creative and friendly way the social changes that emerge from trust and collaboration between governments and citizens”, added Glencorse, who also holds a global position on the Steering Committee of the Open Government Partnership.

The Observatory will be supported by allied and specialized organizations who will provide support in order to strengthen the actions in a strategic way and increase the viability of the working plan execution. 

“The Open Government Partnership brings together a great community of practice where experiences can be exchanged, especially the ones about participatory budgets. From the supportive unity we are ready to accompany the new Observatory along its development, and we hope this can be part of some OGP action plan in the future,” shared Pepe García, Regional Coordinator of Support to North American, Central American, and Caribbean Countries of the OGP.

The application mechanism to be part of the Citizen Observatory will open the second week of November, and it includes an application form, an explanatory memorandum, and an interview with the convening organizations. By the end of January, 2022 the members of the Observatory will be announced, and they have to deliver their working plan by March of the same year. The Observatory Coordination will be entrusted to Accountability Lab México during the ignition point, and will rotate every two years, or according to the Directive Board.

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ABOUT BORDE POLÍTICO

Borde Político is a civil society organization dedicated to propel new ways of representation through interactive tools of communication, political articulation strategies, and co-creation methodologies. Mariana Niembro is the Co-founder and General Director. www.borde.mx

ABOUT ETHOS 

Ethos is a think tank dedicated to transform investigations and experiences into clear recommendations  and concrete public policy actions that address some of the main challenges of development in Mexico. 

It relies on a multidisciplinary team of economists, lawyers, political scientists, communicators and designers, with a wide experience in government and politics, academy, and social sector, motivated to generate innovative and comprehensive investigations and proposals.

Additionally, Ethos was recognized as one of the most important Mexican and Latin American think tanks in the most recent edition of the Global Ranking of Think Tanks of the University of Pennsylvania, published in January 2021. Liliana Alvarado is the Executive Director.  www.ethos.org.mx

ABOUT OLLIN

Ollin is a civil society organization focused on inviting all citizens who are engaged with a version of Mexico, where all laws are implemented, and whose labor aims to work towards strengthening the institutions, and developing and sharing tools to support people in order for them to be able to transform their reality. Greta Ríosis is the Founder and President. www.ollinac.org

ABOUT ACCOUNTABILITY LAB

Accountability Lab is a global translocal network that makes governance work for people by supporting active citizens, responsible leaders and accountable institutions. The lab executes creative, participative and positive campaigns; designs integrity training and workshops; and works with communities to enhance inclusion and improve public service delivery. Founded by Blair Glencorse, its Executive Director as well. It has presence in more than 11 countries and has been awarded multiple times in the Accountability and Anti-corruption ecosystem. Eva Sander is the Director in Accountability Lab Mexico.  www.accountabilitylab.org 

CONTACT:

Eva Sander, Directora de Accountability Lab México

WhatsApp 5531048709

Email [email protected]