Belo Horizonte, Brazil: Co-Governance. - Case Study - Prof. Brian Wampler Rafael Cardoso Sampaio

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1 Belo Horizonte, Brazil: Co-Governance - Case Study - Prof. Brian Wampler Rafael Cardoso Sampaio

2 Belo Horizonte, Brazil: Co-Governance Seite 2 Belo Horizonte, Brazil: Co-Governance Contact: Sarah Brabender Project Manager Reinhard Mohn Prize 2011 Bertelsmann Stiftung Phone Fax Alexander Koop Project Manager Reinhard Mohn Prize 2011 Bertelsmann Stiftung Phone Fax

3 Belo Horizonte, Brazil: Co-Governance Seite 3 Index 1. Executive Summary 4 2. General Background 4 Country 4 City 5 3. Background and Purpose of the Program 5 4. Structure, Process and Activities 6 Participatory Budgeting 6 PB Regional 6 PB Digital 9 Public policy management councils and conferences Impact/Outcome 12 Influence on Political Decisions and Achievements 12 Achievements on Policy Area/Project Targets 13 Number of participants, Representativeness and Inclusion 14 Impact on Democratic Capacities Evaluation of the Project - Challenges and Lessons Learned Next Steps/Visions for the Future Transferability to German Context 17

4 Belo Horizonte, Brazil: Co-Governance Seite 4 1. Executive Summary In the last 17 years, the city of Belo Horizonte, Brazil, has institutionalized various formats to incorporate citizens voices directly into policy-making. In general, there are three principal forms of popular participation that are broadly used in Belo Horizonte: public policy management councils, municipal conferences and participatory budgeting (PB). In 2009, 41 municipal councils, 52 regional councils and 571 local councils were in place, and 16 policy-specific conferences were held. The PB program mobilized 40,000 individuals in person and 120,000 online. This complex participatory governance system allows citizens both to put their issues and themes on the agenda and to have their say in the selection and implementation of concrete public works. The extensive public participation thereby serves several objectives, such as enhancing transparency and legitimacy, using skills and resources of the population, reducing corruption and clientelism, fighting poverty and inequality, and strengthening democracy. 2. General Background Country Brazil is the largest country in Latin America and the world's fifth-largest country, both by geographical area and by population (192 million inhabitants). By 2011, Brazil had become the world s eighth-largest economy based on a diverse set of industries, including manufacturing, agriculture, mining, financial services and tourism. Brazil was a colony of Portugal between 1502 and 1815, when it became part of the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarves. The Portuguese king took up residence in Rio de Janeiro in 1808 after Napoleon invaded Portugal. Brazil is thus the only country in the Americas that had its colonizers relocate to the colony. Brazil became an independent country in The king of Portugal s son became Brazil s new emperor. The country became a republic in 1888, and slavery was abolished in 1889, making Brazil the last country in the Americas to do so. Brazil is a late industrializer and began the process of largescale heavy industrializing in the 1930s and 1940s. In 1960, the capital of Brazil was moved to Brasilia, which is located in the central-western part of the country. Brazil was ruled by a military dictatorship between 1964 and Following the return to civilian rule, Brazil held a constituents assembly to draft a new constitution. The 1988 c defines Brazil as a federal republic formed by the union of the federal district, 26 states and 5,564 municipalities. The form of government is that of a democratic republic with a presidential system. The president is both head of state and head of government of the union and is elected for a four-year term, with the possibility of re-election for a second successive term. Brazil's Human Development Index (HDI) improved to in 2007, and the country is ranked 75 th on the list released by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). To determine a country's human development levels, the UNDP takes into consideration its per capita GDP, illiteracy rates, school enrollment rates and life expectancy indicators. Although Brazil is now one of world s largest and wealthiest countries, it is still a country with deep social inequalities, ranking among the top 10 most unequal countries in the world. In the context of the developing world,

5 Belo Horizonte, Brazil: Co-Governance Seite 5 Brazil has large lower-middle and middle classes, but these remain small in comparison to those of OECD countries. City Belo Horizonte is the largest city in the State of Minas Gerais as well as its capital. The planned city was inaugurated in 1897, and it has grown to become the sixth-largest metropolitan area in the country. Belo Horizonte has a population of 2,452,617, and almost 5.4 million people live in the official metropolitan area. Belo Horizonte s HDI is 0.880, its GDP is equivalent to 16.6 billion, and its per capita GDP is 7, During Brazil s period of economic industrialization in the 1950s and 1960s, Belo Horizonte became a leading industrial location. Fiat, Mercedes Benz and Caterpillar all have large industrial factories in the metropolitan region. Belo Horizonte and Minas Gerais have long been important in political terms. At the beginning of the 20th century, Belo Horizonte and São Paulo were the key states providing support to the new democracy. Brazil experienced a military dictatorship between 1964 and During the redemocratization period of the late 1980s, the first civilian president to be elected (although by the legislature) was from Minas Gerais. The current president of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff, was born and raised in Belo Horizonte. 3. Background and Purpose of the Program There are different reasons behind the various institutions for participation used by the local government. Conferences go back to the initiative of civil society organizations (CSOs), which established them in the 1970s. The idea of these conferences was to ally with policy experts and political activists in order to identify the most important problems in public policies and to propose appropriate policy solutions. In 1988, this idea was adopted by the federal government and integrated by a constitutional act (with the passage of the 1988 constitution) as one part of participatory governance in the new health-care system. This same constitutional act also established management councils. Both the councils and conferences are meant to help meet the needs of the population better, to make the system more effective and cost efficient, and to fight against corruption. The city of Belo Horizonte now uses the formats of councils and conferences in quite a few other policy areas so as to incorporate citizens in policy management. A PB program was first launched in Porto Alegre in 1990; by 1992, it had been adopted in 12 other municipalities. Belo Horizonte adopted the program in The purpose of PB is to make the allocation of budgets transparent, to reduce high levels of structural inequality, to allow citizens to voice their opinions in public forums and to better integrate people s needs in the decision-making process. Since the particular PB process established in Porto Alegre is very cost intensive and 1 Source: The exchange rate use dis that of January 20, 2011 : 1 = R$/BRL 2.3 (Reais are the official Brazilian currency).

6 Belo Horizonte, Brazil: Co-Governance Seite 6 limited in terms of outreach, the municipality of Belo Horizonte set up an electronic process in 2006 that was specifically aimed at giving more people a chance to get involved. 4. Structure, Process and Activities As explained earlier, there are three principal forms of popular participation in the city of Belo Horizonte. Public policy management councils and conferences are now instituted at the municipal, regional and local levels, and PB is a central part of the overall governing structure. Participatory Budgeting Belo Horizonte s PB process has three main components: PB Regional, PB Housing and PB Digital. 2 PB Regional, founded in 1993, mobilizes participation in all nine city regions; its deliberations focus on the allocation of resources for public works (e.g., paving, sewage, healthcare clinics). In PB Housing, CSOs register with the municipal government; when new housing units are built, 50 percent of the new apartments are allocated to citizens affiliated with the housing núcleos. PB Digital, founded in 2006, allows citizens to vote online for specific public works from a menu of pre-selected projects. PB Regional PB Regional defines the investments in all nine administrative regions of the city of Belo Horizonte. In this modality, the public selects the public works for the two subsequent years through regional assemblies. In addition to the investments, voters designate representatives to monitor the execution of these works. This participatory process allocates roughly 4 5 percent of the city s twoyear capital expenditure (2009/2010: 47.8 million). Belo Horizonte is divided into different areas in order to structure the PB process better: Municipal level Regional level (nine regions) Local level (42 subregions) Neighborhood level Each of the nine regions is divided into 3 6 subregions, and the municipality also divided these nine administrative regions into 80 planning units (PU). The subregions and PUs are grouped according to similar characteristics and needs (e.g., number of inhabitants, socioeconomic characteristics, physical barriers, occupation patterns, proximity, etc.). 2 PB Housing, founded in 1996, mobilizes citizens who lack decent housing and have a monthly household income lower than 591. It was separated from PB Regional due to the complexity of housing-related issues (e.g., property rights issues, costs of construction and the distribution of specific housing units to private individuals).

7 Belo Horizonte, Brazil: Co-Governance Seite 7 The budget available for each of the nine regions is determined by two factors: Resources for the PB process are split between the PUs according to the Quality of Life Index (IQVU 3 ) and the number of inhabitants. Thus, the lower the quality of life (measured by the IQVU) and the higher the population in a particular PU, the more resources the region will receive. 4 The second factor relates to the level of participation. If not enough people participate in the subregional forums, the budget can be decreased. The minimum of participants in each subregion is determined by the municipality based on its population. However, regions cannot increase their budget by attaining higher participation rates than necessary. The process is divided into nine phases: Openings at the municipal and regional levels: Every interested citizen can participate in the municipal forum as well as those of the nine regions. During this first phase, the regulations and guidelines of the PB process are presented to participants, and the application forms for raising demands are distributed within the community. Citizens are also informed about current budgetary policies and investments made within the last two years. During the forums, participants also exchange ideas on how to better organize their regional communities (e.g., through improvement of schools, hospitals, roads, etc.). Forums at neighborhood level: During the second phase, in self-organized forums, citizens discuss priorities and projects they want to implement in their neighborhood. Forum organizers need to take minutes of the meetings in order to prove that a minimum of 10 people attended each forum. Depending on participant numbers, the forums take place in schools or even in private homes. After the meetings, the project proposals can be submitted to the municipal administration. The deadline to submit project proposals ends one month after the respective regional meetings took place. First approval of submitted project applications: During the third phase, the municipality and its responsible ministries approve or reject project applications. If an application does not comply with the regulations and guidelines of the PB process (e.g., projects should not only lead to individual benefits), or if a proposed project s technical and financial feasibility is questioned, its nominators (i.e., the person(s) who proposed it) will be informed and given a chance to revise the application. 3 IQVU is an index composed of 38 indicators covering 10 different variables (supply, culture, education, sports, housing, urban infrastructure, environment, health, urban services and urban security), which have different weights in the final calculation. The index measures inequality in terms of availability of goods and services, thereby identifying the areas most in need of investment. 4 In the process of distributing the resources of the PB program, the PUs are divided into two groups: Those with greater IQVU levels make up the Special Group, and the other PUs make up the Common Group. The Special Group represents around 30 percent of the municipal population and receives 10 percent of the PB program s total resources. The remaining 90 percent of the resources is slated for the Common Group, which represents 70 percent of the municipal population.

8 Belo Horizonte, Brazil: Co-Governance Seite 8 Forums at subregional level: The fourth phase takes place in the 42 subregions. During this phase, the residents in each subregion discuss the submitted projects. Project nominators lobby for their proposed projects. Before the participants pre-select the desired projects, they are informed about their subregion s budget. In total, every region can nominate up to 25 projects. Prior to the meetings, community leaders negotiate in an effort to obtain support for their preferred projects. In addition, the projects are presented to the general public during the open deliberative forums, which give citizens a chance to persuade fellow citizens to support their projects. At the end of the subregional forums, the participants can elect delegates for the regional forum. In 2010, a total of 1,700 delegates were elected in the nine regions. The number of delegates for each subregion depends on the number of people who participate in the forums. Persons need to be at least 16 to become a delegate. Second approval of submitted project applications: After a region s projects have been identified, city officials visit all the project sites to develop a technical appraisal of the viability of the proposals. Caravan of priorities: The municipality provides information on the background and costs associated with every project proposal to the delegates elected in the previous phase. The delegates will then visit the areas of the 25 pre-selected public works in their region to get a better understanding of the projects and a broader vision of the region s needs. The purpose of these visits known as the caravan of priorities is to encourage a spirit of altruism among the delegates before they decide which projects will move forward in their region. The caravan of priorities takes place on weekends. The delegates are provided with buses that take them to visit all the sites. Each delegate is given an opportunity to lobby for his or her own project. Forums at regional levels: At regional forums, the delegates discuss and select up to 14 projects per region from among the 25 pre-selected projects (making a total of 126 citywide). The regional forums take place one week after the caravan of priorities. The total budget needed to implement the 14 projects has to be within the budget assigned to the region. In 2009/2010, a total of 109 public works were approved in the regional PB process. After the selection of the projects to be implemented, the delegates elect representatives to a municipal council and to nine regional commissions who are tasked with monitoring the implementation of the projects. The number of representatives for each region depends on the number of inhabitants within the particular region. Official closing of the process at the municipal level: The regional PB process is then officially closed at the municipal level where the selected projects were presented. Implementation and monitoring: During the final phase, the regional representatives decide together with the city's representatives about the final budget to be adopted by the local council. The city and regional representatives will then jointly monitor the allocation of contracts for and execution

9 Belo Horizonte, Brazil: Co-Governance Seite 9 of the selected projects over the next two years. The representatives meet on a monthly basis. Every two months, the municipality publishes a newsletter on the regional and digital PB process. The newsletter provides information on the PB process, the selected projects and the progress of the implementation process. Before the regional PB process starts, citizens receive information via the radio, local newspapers, sound trucks, flyers and banners. However, mouth to-mouth sharing of information is also very important. Municipal representatives estimate that the costs of organizing the regional PB process can be as high as 26,000 per region (excluding staff-related costs). The openings and closing events at the municipal level cost around 43,000. PB Digital In 2006, Belo Horizonte s municipal authorities launched the "Digital Participatory Budget" (DPB) program, which, unlike the city's regional PB, did not require residents to be physically present to participate. Instead, the process took place using only online voting that residents accessed with their personal voting identification numbers. In 2006, Belo Horizonte's municipal government invested a total of 8.3 million in the digital PB projects (versus 42.7 million for its regional PB process). Through the website any citizen with a voter ID from Belo Horizonte could choose nine out of 36 projects (one project per region) that had been pre-selected by municipal authorities as well as by associations, citizens and delegates associated with the regional PB. The DPB website was developed by an agency hired by the municipality. A unique feature of the DPB was that, after making his or her selections, the voter could learn exactly how many votes each pre-selected project had been given so far. In order to minimize problems related to the digital divide, the municipal authorities set up several voting kiosks (about 170), vans and Internet access points throughout the city (e.g., in schools, in the central market and in shopping centers). The 2006 DPB website (which was completely separated from the offline PB) presented basic information about each project, such as costs, locations and pictures. In addition, online participation tools were also offered, such as and discussion forums. It was not mandatory to discuss the projects before voting. After the process started, citizens had 45 days to inform themselves about the projects, to ask government officials any questions they might have and to discuss the projects with others both on- and offline. After the close of voting, although the 2006 DPB's website remained accessible online, the discussion forum was shut down, and the messages that were posted in it were no longer viewable. Instead, only basic information about the winning projects from each region remained accessible. Testimonials from the population regarding participation in the online program were also provided.

10 Belo Horizonte, Brazil: Co-Governance Seite 10 The 2008 DPB process was very different from the 2006 one. Only one project was to be implemented for the entire city. Citizens could vote for one of five project proposals that had been selected by the municipality without the participation of any associations or citizens. Moreover, all the proposals were meant to improve Belo Horizonte's traffic situation. The municipality also reduced the days that people could vote for the project from 45 to 28. The projects of the 2008 DPB affected a larger number of people because they were far more valuable than the projects of the 2006 DPB or any of the projects of the regional PB. Each project for the 2008 DPB was worth roughly 16.5 million versus 8.3 million distributed for all the projects of the 2006 DPB. In addition to online voting, a toll-free telephone number was provided for voting in A total of 11,483 voters used the phone service, or 10 percent of the people who cast votes. Eighty percent of the rest voted online using private Internet resources, and only 10 percent took advantage of the 270 public Internet access points. To encourage citizens to participate in the voting, around 800 people were trained to provide information to interested citizens at 270 official voting kiosks. These kiosks were aimed at citizens who did not have Internet access in their homes, whereas those with reliable and fast Internet connections could participate from their homes or offices. The DPB process was also advertised via TV, radio, the Internet and banners as well as on electricity bills and payroll slips. There were also several innovations in terms of digital tools and content. A major improvement was the inclusion of pictures showing the current roads "before" and "after" reconstruction. The 2008 DPB's website also provided details on each of the projects, pointing out their impact, costs, benefits and beneficiaries. Another innovation was the use of virtual maps to identify project locations and the public Internet access points for voting. Finally, participatory tools were expanded. In addition to reactivating the discussion forum, two new features were introduced. The first one was the possibility of posting online comments and messages for each project without having to register. The second feature was a chat function that could be used on pre-scheduled dates. During these chat sessions, representatives of the city s Planning, Budget and Information Office took questions, suggestions and criticisms from citizens. A total of four chat sessions were held. After the vote, the forum and chat functions were shut down. Although the discussions that took place are not accessible on the current website, the comments that were posted on it before the vote can still be accessed. It is not possible to post new comments. The implementation of the DPB-selected projects are monitored by the same delegates charged with monitoring the regional PB projects. Information on the implementation process is provided by bimonthly newsletters and online. Public policy management councils and conferences Councils function in thematic public policy areas (e.g., there is an education council, a health-care council and a housing council). The councils are granted two principal responsibilities: First, council members have the authority to approve new programs and the annual budgets for the

11 Belo Horizonte, Brazil: Co-Governance Seite 11 corresponding agencies. Second, council members are responsible for oversight, such as verifying that resources are properly allocated, that bureaucratic units are following rules and that outside service providers are adhering to their contracts. This oversight mechanism helps to guarantee accountability. These two sources of authority allow the councils to get engaged at different points in the policy cycle, such as when policies are proposed and government programs are monitored. Council seats are allocated to five types of actors: civil society actors (whether individuals or representatives of organizations), labor union officials, government officials, service providers and policy experts (often university faculty members). Not all councils include all five types, but representatives of civil society, labor unions and the government are active in most of them. Representatives may be elected (e.g., civil society organizations compete with each other while unions hold internal elections for their guaranteed seats) or appointed (e.g., the government selects officials to represent the mayor) for terms lasting between one and four years. For most councils, the number of seats allocated to each group is determined by the formal legislation that created the council or the internal rules governing the council. All council members need to have an interest in and specific knowledge related to the activities of their particular council. Council members are not paid for their participation. Many councils hold meetings on a biweekly or monthly basis, during which they have an opportunity to present information, question government officials and debate current issues while government officials have a chance to provide council members with information. Since all council meetings are open to the public, they must be announced five days in advance. Much of the detailed policy work of the councils is carried out at the subcommittee level. These committees conduct research, draft policy proposals and engage in oversight activities. They then report back to the larger council in order to advance the council s work. In the better-organized councils, there are multiple subcommittees tasked with specific problems. Complementing the public policy management councils are policy-oriented thematic conferences, which are held at the municipal, state and federal levels of government. Most conferences take place over one or two days every one to four years and are attended by interested citizens and community leaders. In 2010, the longer conferences (e.g., those related to housing and health care) each had over 1,000 participants. A key responsibility of the participants is to propose, discuss, debate and then vote on general policy proposals. This helps government officials determine which policy programs they might want to address. Many conferences are linked to the public policy management councils in the thematic areas. At weekend-long conferences, participants deliberate over policy options and seek to define clear agendas for specific policy areas. For example, in one year, a health-care conference may focus on mental health, thereby encouraging the government to pay greater attention to the issue. In another year, the health-care conference may decide that the most pressing issue is family health and work with the government to strengthen related programs. Councils and conferences are often interconnected in two ways: First, the representatives for the councils are often elected during the annual or biannual conference meetings. Second, the

12 Belo Horizonte, Brazil: Co-Governance Seite 12 councils develop the content and the agenda for the conferences. Thus, the key co-governance institutions are linked together in the hope of creating a more unified policy-making process. 5. Impact/Outcome The extensive co-governance system in Belo Horizonte has had many impacts. These impacts are wide-ranging and include the direct incorporation of citizens votes into governmental policy, the building of public infrastructure and the involvement of thousands of citizens in public policymaking processes. Influence on Political Decisions and Achievements The Workers Party (PT) and the Brazilian Socialist Party (PSB) have jointly managed the city of Belo Horizonte as part of a coalition since Since then, the political coalition has been reelected four times. One of the pillars of their governing strategy has been using participatory institutions to guide their policy-making strategies. The government is based on a co-governance strategy, whereby a broad number of access points allow citizens and community leaders to influence the shape of policy outcomes. Thus, at the level of representative democracy and the governing strategies of the elected governments, we can say that participatory governance institutions are being taken seriously to a significant degree. These different participatory institutions help legitimate the policies of the government. Citizens involved in co-governance believe that their voices directly affect policy-making. This legitimacy is championed by government officials, who claim that their policies are based on public decisionmaking processes that reflect the will of the people. The legitimacy is also championed by participants, who return to their communities and inform its members that the latter have influence over public decision-making. Of course, given the differences in their rules, we should expect that the three types of participatory institutions have different impacts on political outcomes. What we find is that the thematic conferences provide opportunities in the policy-making process for CSO leaders to raise broader thematic issues, to make contact with each other and to chart out political strategies with government officials. They can also serve as important forums for influencing the general outlines of policy debates and demonstrating the numbers of individuals interested in the topic. Finally, PB programs focus on specific, incremental policy-making and allow citizens and CSO leader to focus on selecting and implementing public works. In these processes, citizens choices directly influence government action. The clearest examples of direct political impact can be identified in the PB process, in which citizens make decisions that directly affect how public resources are allocated. Between 2006 and 2010, the government of Belo Horizonte coordinated a national network of PB programs. For example, it helped strengthen the flow of information between these different municipalities in order to allow them to support each other. The government s involvement as the lead coordinator in the national network demonstrates its support for co-governance.

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