Ministry of Space was the place of the meeting: ducks everywhere. We.Budget – Belgrade Meeting Report The second WeBudget prototype meeting in Belgrade developed the prototype’s tools and processes. On January 17th to 21st 2018, the second WeBudget meeting took place in Belgrade, hosted by Iva Čukić, from Ministarstvo Prostora (Ministry of Space). This local CSO, founded in 2011 with the aim of monitoring future urban development of Belgrade and other Serbian cities, became famous for being one of the main actors in the resistance against an illegal construction in Savamala —an urban neighborhood of Belgrade. This is the battle in which the “Yellow Duck”, used during these protests, became a symbol of civil resistance. The WeBudget meeting was attended by Iva Čukić (Ministry of Space, Belgrade), Ale González (wwb, Seville), Sandor Lederer (K-Monitor, Hungary), Francesco Saija (PWI, Italy) and Branko Stanic (Institute of Public Finance, Croatia). Taking place at the Ministry of Space’s office, an electric atmosphere was cultivated due to the preparation for a municipal election campaign, in which Ministarstvo Prostora has its candidates running for the Belgrade Assembly. I WeBudget meeting preparation (Francesco Saija, Iva Čukic, Branko Stanic) The meeting was very productive and fruitful, and in accordance with the principles of the CitizensLab. The workflow started with a check-in session in which we decided to reflect on our story to familiarize ourselves as a group through specific practical tasks. The first task was to collectively answer the questions asked by the management team of CitizensLab, helping them to organize their next meeting. We used this process to help us define why we are working on budgets in a transnational perspective and what connects these budgets to local issues and active citizenship. Through this, we confirmed that our project has to be very connected to the local context in order to achieve a deep penetration of budget issues, that can underline which goals the municipal government intends to reach with the money and how. We are distinct as we advocate for transparency of local, public expenditures in order to generate monitoring processes and public debate on the choices made at the municipal level while at an early stage. In fact, transparency ex-post can allow citizens to allocate responsibility for corruption disasters. Otherwise when transparency exists, timeliness suddenly appears as the precondition for corruption prevention and co-creation which are the main streams to increase richness – and in the wider sense of justice, trust, care of the commons, inclusion of the differences and redistribution – in our societies, generating savings and increasing social capital. II Current frontend of the platform showing random generated data for Belgrade We first had our technical session about the digital platform we hoped to build. It included a tour through the platform to help the team better understand the different developments done on its frontend and its proposed editorial workflow since the last time we met. The outcome of this session, besides establishing a common ground around the technicalities of the process, was a further discussion on how to visualize the data we are going to gather, and how to intertwine this feature with advocacy, citizen storytelling and participatory processes in local contexts. III Second technical session (Iva Čukic, Francesco Saija, Branko Stanic) We understand that WeBudget faces the difficulties of working on a transnational scale, specifically due to the fact that budget categories, legislation and documentation are quite different in the local contexts of different countries. From a technical point of view, this is an issue we have been aware of since the last meeting and for that reason, we decided to use an international standard called COFOG (Classification of the Functions of Government), in the categorization scheme of the digital platform. Our intention was to work on this in our second technical session. In this session we discovered that the budget of some of the implementation locations for the first stage of WeBudget cannot be described in COFOG terms. This simple fact was an unexpected game-changer, which made it necessary to have a completely different approach to the platform we hoped to develop. We understood that more than a centralized website, we need to build decentralized software that can adapt to different national and local contexts. This was a difficult decision as it disrupts a large part of the work done until now, but nonetheless we think it is necessary. We concluded the session by debating about indicators that have to be embedded in this software structure to aggregate the data. IV Starting the second day with a good mood (Iva Čukic, Sandor Lederer ) The next morning we scheduled a session on the “process” issues, as tools are just the beginning of the cycle. We started by answering to the call “Advocate Europe”. This was an exercise of collective writing and coordination, and we submitted the proposal just two minutes before the final deadline! What emerged from the call is that the process has to take the form of a school of citizenship. The tool has to be an educational instrument that leads participants to understand the budget form, in addition to state perceived problems and concerns about their urban environment, link them to the budget item analysis, compare their priorities with the official political agenda funded by the budget, understand problems in the way service delivering is managed etc, and in the end, stimulate the creation of possible solutions. In the end, the citizens discover that it is not only an effort of imagination but that there is an important method that can be implemented to prove their idea’s fruition: participatory budget! We all agreed and we reached an internal coherence of purposes. We spent the rest of the day imagining a school of citizenship and grasping how a draft of the process can be designed, despite the differences in legislation. The group decided to build national case studies for future further discussions. The rest of the meeting was dedicated to defining the next steps and seizing opportunities to fund our work. V Meeting with Uroš in Nova Iskra (Francesco Saija, Uroš Krčadinac, Ale Gonzalez, Iva Čukic, Sandor Lederer ) The last day we had a tour in Belgrade around alternative and community spaces near the Waterfront – a place of conflicting urban planning, wherein the Ministry of Space has been an active agent against the plans. We scheduled a meeting about the planning problems in a co-working space named Nova Iskra with Uroš Krčadinac, an expert in data visualization. In our last meeting, the insights from Michelangelo Secchi, an external expert, served as a good end to our gathering. We focused on the platform features, utilizing the data visualization skills of Uroš. It was an interesting meeting that confirmed some of our insights. Uroš explained that, in his opinion, the storytelling capabilities of the platform have to be prominent, and not only the exploratory features that the data visualization enables, as we discussed in our ‘technical sessions’. He showed some excellent snapshots of his own work that were quite inspiring, especially a game to teach children about the participatory construction of the city. Something quite interesting for our platform: introducing gamification as a feature. Maybe in the future! Conclusion At the end of each day, we merged with Belgrade. This marvelous city, which sometimes reminds me Berlin or New York, has, in fact, a unique touch. All the political storm that passed through here in the last century and in recent years revealed the strong character of the city and its inhabitants and the factors that, if valorized and kept alive, can make the enduring fortune of this European Capital: a jewel of non-homologation, full of self-started initiatives that build, with their own experience, a little part of the world to come. This is the fight that the yellow duck is conducting here, for everyone.