Background on the Open Government Measures Adopted by the Brazilian Government2
The Brazil’s 1988 Constitution is a milestone for the guarantee of civil rights and for the government’s duty to account for its activities. The Constitution guarantees, for example, citizens’ right to submit bills to the National Congress and the right of access to public information as well the mechanisms to repair and protect citizens from civil rights violations.
Since 2000, the Brazilian Government has taken a number of legal and institutional measures to promote transparency based on best practices and international standards. Some of the key measures taken during this initial period refer to ongoing enhancement of the Integrated Financial Administration System (Sistema Integrado de Administração Financeira – SIAFI) and the development of the ComprasNet
Portal, through which information on government procurement processes and suppliers is provided and electronic reverse bidding procedures are conducted.
In 2004, the Transparency Portal (Portal da Transparência
) was launched by the Office of the Comptroller General of Brazil, the official body charged with, among other duties, internal control activities, promotion of transparency and the implementation of corruption prevention measures within the Federal Executive Branch. The Portal provides online information on the execution of the federal budget in clear and understandable language without requiring usernames or passwords to access the pertinent information and data. As of 2010, the Transparency Portal is updated daily, meaning that all of the expenditures executed on a given day are published and available for consultation by Brazilian citizens the following morning.
After the enactment of Complementary Law n. 131
in 2009, all levels of government must disclose in real time on the internet their budgetary execution data, which is being gradually implemented by state and municipal governments.
Brazil has adopted a number of other important transparency initiatives, including the Resource Transfer Agreements and Contracts Portal (Portal de Convênios e Contratos de Repasse – SICNOV
); the Brazil Portal (Portal Brasil
), offering citizens a variety of online services; the National Health Establishments Database (Cadastro Nacional de Estabelecimentos de Saúde – CNES
), providing data on firms and professionals engaged in the delivery of health services; the National Registry of Debarred and Suspended Companies (Cadastro Nacional de Empresas Inidôneas e Suspensas – CEIS
), a tool designed to give publicity to the sanctions applied by the Union and sub national governments to companies found to have engaged in fraud and corruption or to have failed to meet their obligations under the pertinent procurement procedures or administrative contracts.
In regard to preventing and combating corruption, Brazil is party to three key anti-corruption conventions: i) the Inter-American Convention against Corruption (OAS); ii) the Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD); and iii) the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC). In addition, Brazil actively participates in a number of other leading forums on the issue, including the Partnering against Corruption Initiative (PACI
) and the Global Agenda Council on Anti-Corruption
of the World Economic Forum; the International Association of Anti-Corruption Authorities (IAACA
) and the G-20
’s Working Group against Corruption.
In regard to social participation as a democratic value, it is worth noting that social participation in public policy-making in Brazil has greatly increased through the instruments of National Conferences and Councils. National Conferences are public and democratic spaces for collective deliberation on guidance for the elaboration and implementation of public policies by the federal government, as well as the follow-up of its own resolutions. Conferences are organized in municipal, regional, state, free, virtual and, finally, national levels, in which contributions from society to the elaboration and implementation of public policies are build up, further developed and strengthened.
National Councils are sectorial or thematic institutional organizations, with consultative and/or deliberative characteristics, created for the purpose of producing and following up on federal public policies. In the most expressive Councils, approximately 60% of its members are representatives from civil society, which leads to a democratic space for society participation.
The country has also secured progress in the public consultation process in connection with the draft bills prepared by the Executive Branch for submission to the National Congress. Examples in this area include the reform of the copyright law
and the crafting of the Internet rights statute
An important instrument for civic participation must be mentioned as well: the citizens’ right to submit bills to the National Congress, established by Brazil’s 1988 Constitution. A very strong example of the use of this instrument is the Clean Records Law (Lei da Ficha Limpa
), which determines that criminally convicted people cannot be candidates in elections and run for political offices. The law was enacted in 2010 and its draft proposal was sent to the Congress with a public petition comprising more than one million signatures supporting the measure.
In 2006, Brazil implemented an electronic system to enable citizens to file their income tax returns directly with the Brazilian Federal Revenue Department (Secretaria da Receita Federal), simplifying the procedures for submitting the required information and strengthening oversight and enforcement efforts.
In regard to the Judicial Branch, Brazilian citizens are today able to gather information on judicial proceedings, decisions, and precedents handed down by the courts on the official Web sites of each judicial court. In 2009, the Judicial Branch launched the electronic judicial proceeding system aimed at reducing the time spent on bureaucratic and ancillary aspects of ongoing judicial proceedings and devoting, in this way, greater energy toward deciding cases and, by extension, resolving disputes.
This brief background reveals Brazil’s firm commitment to improving service delivery to the population, enhancing the management of public resources, increasing transparency, incentivizing and promoting citizen participation, and preventing and combating corruption. Through its participation in the Open Government Partnership, Brazil reaffirms its commitment to continue moving forward in these areas.
2 A document with more detailed information on the open government measures already adopted by Brazil will be published to complement the background section of the action plan.