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Tallinn to implement participatory budget in 2021

Tallinn city government.
Tallinn city government. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

Tallinn city authorities are planning to hold the first ever participatory city budget in 2021 with an estimated €800,000 investment fund.

Tallinn's participatory budget aims to see at least one project proposed and supported by residents in each district. The budget aims to include residents in the development of urban environment and public services, boost active citizenship, cohesion between city districts and to invite residents to think and act together.

Mayor of Tallinn Mihhail Kõlvart (Center) said the city's participatory budget will provide opportunities for resolving bottlenecks and give all residents a chance to contribute towards this goal.

"We want to turn the participatory budget into a tradition that sees new projects created in the urban space based on residents' ideas over the subsequent years," he said.

The total sum of the participatory budget will be confirmed by the city council during the adoption of the corresponding year's city budget. 75 percent will be distributed equally between city districts and 25 percent will be distributed proportionately based on the number of district residents as of July 1 of the ongoing year.

A project eligible for the participatory budget should see a new public object built or an existing one repaired, improved or expanded in the city's administrative territory. The public object must be usable free of charge for the majority of time by city residents, improve the urban environment and support the city's development goals. 

During the handling of the participatory budget, everyone's ideas are welcome. All submitted ideas will be weighed by an expert committee, and a city district representative will be included in each discussion concerning a specific district. The results of analyses and assessments of ideas will be published on the website of the city of Tallinn. 

Ideas approved by the expert committee will be put to a vote in each city district. Participants in the vote must be at least 14 years old and registered as Tallinn residents in the population register. Each resident will be able to vote for two ideas planned for their city district. 

In each district, the idea that has garnered most support will be carried out from the funds in the participatory budget. The implementation of the ideas will either be organized by the city government or a cooperation agreement for implementing the idea will be signed with the idea's author.

The regulation is to take effect pursuant to general procedure after its publication in the Riigi Teataja gazette.

Tartu City Government also carries out a participatory budget each yeah where ideas to improve the city are put forward by residents. The top 25 are then narrowed down and residents vote for their top two their favourites which are then implemented. Tartu has an investment fund of €200,000 and each idea must cost no more than €100,000. Voting takes place online or in person for anyone over the age of 14.

Tallinn to draw up 2022-2030 environmental sustainability development plan

Tallinn city government has submitted to the city council a draft decision seeking to initiate a development plan for environmental improvement of the capital city for 2022-2030 and establish the terms of reference for drawing up the plan.

Deputy mayor of Tallinn Kalle Klandorf said the development plan will address in detail activities relating to atmospheric air, water protection, noise, biodiversity and environmental sustainability.

"The city doesn't currently have a valid development document addressing the area of environmental sustainability in sufficient detail," Klandorf said. "Issues relating to environmental sustainability were included in the development plan for environmental protection for 2013-2018 and the city's environmental strategy remains valid until 2030, but we wish to describe the activities in greater detail in the development plan."

The development plan will be drawn up by June 2021 and the presentation and public discussion thereof will take place in August and September 2021.

"As is known, Tallinn was among the four finalists competing for the European Green Capital Award 2022, and the city has set an objective to become a pioneering green city in Europe and serve as a role model to others," Klandorf said. 

"In view of this, we must also take into consideration developments in the European Union and the European Commission. With three-fourths of EU residents living in cities, city governments are expected to guarantee that residents' living environment be as healthy as possible with clean air and water, low noise levels and plenty of nature and that residents be environmentally conscious. All these aspects will be taken into consideration during the drafting of the environmental sustainability development plan," he added.

The European Commission has presented the European Green Deal and its biodiversity strategy until 2030. Both documents are reflected in the new development strategy for Tallinn until 2035 and also serve as basis for the environmental sustainability plan.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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