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Argentina Design Report 2019-2021

Argentina’s fourth action plan was the result of a meaningful co-creation process, stemming from the lessons learned from previous action plans, in the context of a relatively healthy civic space and with solid, articulated and active participation from civil society. The plan incorporated public input, although participation varied across the commitments, and strategic inclusion of thematic stakeholders remains a challenge. While the plan is compact and consistent, it is also cross-cutting horizontally – engaging the Legislature – and vertically – engaging subnational levels. It is more ambitious than previous plans; yet, the accountability dimension remains virtually absent from the plan.

Table 1. At a glance

Member since: 2012

Action plan under review: Fourth action plan

Type of report: Design

Number of commitments: 16

Action plan development

Is there a Multi-stakeholder forum? Yes

Level of public influence: Collaboration

Acted contrary to OGP process: No

Action plan design

Commitments that are:

Relevant to OGP values: 16 (100%)

Transformative: 4 (25%)

Potentially starred: 4 (25%)

The Open Government Partnership (OGP) is a global partnership that brings together government reformers and civil society leaders to create action plans that make governments more inclusive, responsive, and accountable. The Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM) monitors all action plans to ensure governments follow through on commitments. Argentina joined OGP in 2012. Since, Argentina has implemented four action plans. This report evaluates the design of Argentina’s fourth action plan.

General overview of action plan

With a relatively healthy civic space, Argentina’s context was favorable to develop the open government processes. Its civil society is well organized, articulated and active, and committed to advancing democratic governance and various thematic agendas. In the past few years, and partly due to the implementation of previous action plans, Argentina made progress in terms of government openness, especially with regards to open data and transparency, budget openness, and regulatory advances in the anti-corruption agenda. In an effort to address the country’s most pressing needs, the design of Argentina’s fourth action plan process was based on an assessment that identified the most relevant themes that responded to historic demands by civil society and were linked to international commitments or actions that were not fully implemented in previous action plans.

The co-creation process was led by government and civil society stakeholders within the National Open Government Roundtable, the multi-stakeholder forum that leads the process. Building on a collaborative assessment that identified strengths and weaknesses of the previous co-creation experience, the process was divided into two groups: one that led an assessment and ideation of open government solutions – in the form of public dialogue – and a more specialized group that focused on drafting the commitments to include in the action plan. Civil society collaborated in the process, not only by proposing thematic areas, but also prioritizing and defining commitments. Public participation was overall significant, although it varied across commitments and it was unsatisfactory in certain cases. Diversification of civil society through strategic engagement of thematic and geographic stakeholders remains a challenge.

Changes made to the co-creation process influenced the quality of the resulting action plan, which is more ambitious than previous plans and with fewer quality variations among commitments. Thus, four out of 16 commitments of the plan are potentially starred and several others can potentially significantly open the government.

The plan includes various commitments relevant to the rights agenda at the national level (human trafficking, sexual and reproductive health, and gender inequality at the workplace), themes that are relevant to OGP’s global agenda (water and sanitation, and indigenous peoples’ rights), themes relevant to the historic agenda of the most active civil society organizations (public works, budget transparency, access to justice) and themes linked to international commitments (transparency of extractive industries, budget transparency). The plan also seeks to extend openness policies beyond the Executive Branch at the national level by i) including openness practices in provincial and municipal governments through the Federal Open Government Plan, and ii) incorporating a commitment to draft a National Open Congress Plan.

The majority of commitments are relevant to the values of transparency, access to information and, peripherally, citizen participation[i]. Like previous action plans, accountability is virtually absent.

Tabe1 2. Noteworthy commitments

Commitment description Moving forward Status at the end of the implementation cycle
Commitment 3: Transparent budget

Objective: Disclose budgetary information in an open data format and with maximum disaggregation for the public to understand the details of all payments

Adapt the implementation to the COVID-19 pandemic context and its emergency measures, and ensure that information about budget processes and payments to vendors continues even when institutional controls are most needed. This will be assessed at the end of the action plan cycle.
Commitment 9: Citizens monitoring audit recommendations

Objective: Enhance citizen monitoring to ensure compliance with the recommendations made by the Nation’s General Audit to increase their impact

Develop a strategy to reach a broader civil society, encouraging CSOs specialized in various thematic areas (gender, health, education, disabilities, etc.) to use the monitoring platform to advance their agendas This will be assessed at the end of the action plan cycle.
Commitment 12: Federal Open Government Program

Objective: Develop a joint approach among national, provincial, and municipal governments to promote the co-creation and implementation of open government policies at the provincial and municipal levels

Design support mechanisms to foster the creation of relevant and ambitious local initiatives, as part of the Federal Program, include participatory mechanisms to monitor progress, and establish open learning spaces stemming from the implementation experience. This will be assessed at the end of the action plan cycle.
Commitment 16. Open Congress Action Plan

Objective: In a participatory manner, design a legislature openness plan to institutionalize the values of open government in the National Congress

Co-create the Open Congress Action Plan by building on a previously set agreement that guarantees the inclusion of a set of minimum contents around the open government principles: transparency and access to information, citizen participation, and accountability, respecting best practices. This will be assessed at the end of the action plan cycle.
Commitment 4: Open information on public works contracting

Objective: Improve the public works contracting system by disclosing information and documentation, as well as engaging civil society in the regulatory framework modification

 

 

Ensure that civil society has the opportunity to participate meaningfully in the intersectoral working group. Enhance efforts to implement the EDCA This will be assessed at the end of the action plan cycle.

Recommendations

The IRM recommendations aim to inform the development of the next action plan and guide implementation of the current action plan. Please refer to Section V: General Recommendations for more details on each of the below recommendations.

Table 3. Five KEY IRM Recommendations

Design a strategy to engage social stakeholders to enhance diversity and quality of participation
Strengthen collaboration and coordination mechanisms among government agencies and offices
Focus commitments on issues that can be addressed with government solutions
Focus on accountability, with emphasis on response mechanisms
Design procedures that further incentivize the design of ambitious commitments

 

[i] This element was highlighted by the civil society as a positive step from previous plans, as the inclusion of participatory spaces was a goal set by the National Roundtable before the plan design.  Cf. Joaquín Caprarulo, written comment, 07/06/20

 

 

 

 

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