2022 Award "Best Practice in Citizen Participation"
Belém: “Tá Selado” - Permanent Forum of Popular Participation
Belém, an Amazonian municipality founded on the shores of the Guajará Bay in 1616, is the second largest metropolis in northern Brazil in terms of population. Stage of the Cabana Revolution (1835), our citizens still keep the fighting spirit alive, engaging in the pursuit of justice and reduction of socioeconomic inequalities. In order to respond to these aspirations at an institutional level, the Municipality of Belém launched the program “Tá Selado!” in 2021, the Permanent Forum of Popular Participation.
Between 1997 and 2004, the Municipality of Belém carried out exemplary undertakings in terms of strengthening participatory democracy, which, unfortunately, were not continued in subsequent administrations. The capital of Pará at the time had the City Congress, in which public policies, budgets, demands were discussed and supervision of the activities of the Municipal Executive was carried out. As an update and resumption of these initiatives, the “Tá Selado!” was created. In order to innovate this mechanism, there is a hybridization of the activities of the Forum, which takes place both in face-to-face meetings and in public consultations conducted via an online platform.
As a foundation, the project “It's Sealed!” seeks to horizontalize relations between public power and citizens, develop a growing awareness of the functioning of the city and its conflicts, stimulate the search for solutions on the part of individuals and groups, promote popular participation in the use and control of the municipal public machine.
Methodologically, the “It's Sealed!” it is built by the representation of citizens for each administrative sector of the capital - 8 districts, composed of 71 neighborhoods and 39 islands -, as well as several thematic sectors. At first, District Delegates are elected based on criteria of proportionality (population density) and gender parity, forming the basic level of the Forum. From them, the district representatives are elected who will form the Council of Belém, the highest decision-making body. Once the Councilors' considerations are made, the proposals, works and popular demands are carried out for approval by the City Council, the Municipal Legislative Power. Once the budget is sanctioned for forwarding the planned activities, the resources will be channeled to the Municipal Secretariats responsible for the execution.
The inclusive character of “Tá Selado!” is also highlighted. Axes such as “Youth”, “Women” and “LGBTQI+” have their own folder, through the definition of thematic segments. Thus, not only is the participation of these groups viable, but specific resources are allocated to assist them. It is through this mechanism, attentive to the diversity of our people, that the common citizen is given a voice.
Throughout the three phases of “Tá Selado!” for the year 2021, more than 42 thousand people actively participated in the Assemblies and Plenary Sessions. Of all the proposals submitted, 120 were approved by the City Council members of Belém, corresponding to around 44 million reais (US$9 million). The budget ranged from proposals for reforms, revitalizations and paving to the implementation of permanent campaigns for the inclusion of ethnic-racial, gender and sexuality minorities. Funds were also intended to serve the sectors of security, veterinary care, urban mobility, inclusion of young people and the elderly, as well as generating employment and income for indigenous people living in Belém.
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