Armenia Transitional Results Report 2018-2020
The The Open Government Partnership (OGP) is a multi-stakeholder initiative focused on improving government transparency, ensuring opportunities for citizen participation in public matters, and strengthen... More (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. Action plans are at the core of a government’s participation in OGP. They are the product of a co-creation process in which government and civil society jointly develop commitments to open governmen... commitments may build on existing efforts, identify new steps to complete ongoing reforms, or initiate an entirely new area. OGP’s The Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM) is OGP’s accountability arm and the main means of tracking progress in participating countries. The IRM provides independent, evidence-based, and objective ... monitors all action plans to ensure governments follow through on commitments. Civil society and government leaders use the evaluations to reflect on their progress and determine if efforts have impacted people’s lives.
The IRM has partnered with Tatevik Margaryan, independent researcher, to carry out this evaluation. The IRM aims to inform ongoing dialogue around the development and implementation of future commitments. For a full description of the IRM’s methodology, please visit https://www.opengovpartnership.org/about/independent-reporting-mechanism.
This report covers the implementation of Armenia’s fourth action plan for 2018–2020 and was prepared in November 2020, with relevant updates incorporated during the pre-publication period in March 2021 and during the public comment period in May 2021. In 2021, the IRM will implement a new approach to its research process and the scope of its reporting on action plans, approved by the IRM Refresh. The IRM adjusted its Implementation Reports for 2018–2020 action plans to fit the transition process to the new IRM products and enable the IRM to adjust its workflow in light of the COVID-19 pandemic’s effects on OGP country processes.
Action Plan Implementation
The IRM Transitional Results Report assesses the status of the action plan’s commitments and the results from their implementation at the end of the action plan cycle. This report does not re-visit the assessments for “OGP commitments should be clear and specific enough to enable measurement of their progress. Verifiable commitments include specific activities that can be monitored. Following an action plan’s subm...,” “According to the OGP Articles of Governance, OGP commitments should include a clear open government lens. Specifically, they should advance at least one of the OGP values: transparency, citizen partic...” or “Potential Impact.” The IRM assesses those three indicators in IRM Design Reports. For more details on each indicator, please see Annex I in this report.
General highlights and results
Among the 11 commitments in Armenia’s fourth OGP action plan (2018–2020), seven saw either substantial or complete implementation. This was a slight improvement from the results of the previous action plan (2016–2018), in which four out of eight commitments were substantially or completely implemented. One reason for this positive progress is that some of the commitments were already on the government’s agenda. For example, OGP commitments are promises for reform co-created by governments and civil society and submitted as part of an action plan. Commitments typically include a description of the problem, concrete action... 3, on Disclosing beneficial owners — those who ultimately control or profit from a business — is essential for combating corruption, stemming illicit financial flows, and fighting tax evasion. Technical... More disclosure, was an extension of the government’s commitment regarding transparent ownership of mining companies under the Applying open government values of transparency, participation, and accountability to extractive industries can decrease corruption, safeguard community interests and needs, and support environmental ... According to OGP’s Articles of Governance, transparency occurs when “government-held information (including on activities and decisions) is open, comprehensive, timely, freely available to the pub... More Initiative.
The ability to secure financial resources constituted another decisive factor in successful implementation, while lack of resources served as a main reason for limited implementation of Commitment 7 on social services. The 2020 COVID-19 pandemic also slowed decision-making processes and awareness-raising activities, as the government reshuffled priorities. In addition, in contrast to Armenia’s previous action plans, many commitments in the fourth plan incorporated legislative amendments. The law mandated these be posted online for public consultation, thus providing more possibilities for public input beyond multistakeholder forum (Working Group) participation.
The changes achieved through the fourth action plan are mostly relevant to access to information. Notably, Commitment 3 saw the development of a beneficial ownership register, which the government piloted for mining companies in the country. Moving forward, the government plans to expand the mandatory disclosure requirement to cover a larger scope of Armenian companies. It also plans to publish the data in a machine-readable open format. Commitment 8 resulted in a new platform that provides information on all schools and the opportunity to leave feedback. It also enables online enrollment in schools, which could significantly reduce the existing prevalence of informal and corrupt mechanisms of enrollment.
Other commitments saw improvement to civic participation opportunities. For example, Commitment 10 resulted in the creation of an online platform for citizens to submit petitions, while Commitment 11 saw the creation of a pilot dashboard for citizens to provide feedback on state-provided services. The impact of all these commitments has yet to be seen. Most require large public awareness-raising campaigns and further monitoring to ensure full implementation and/or usage and assess more tangible results.
By the end of the action plan, commitments to develop a database on water resources (Commitment 5) and a land cadastre (Commitment 6) had seen only limited Implementers must follow through on their commitments for them to achieve impact. For each commitment, OGP’s Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM) evaluates the degree to which the activities outlin.... Thus, they did not result in significant changes in access to information. The Ministry of Environment created the water database and populated it with approximately 85 percent of the necessary information. However, technical delays linked to COVID-19 prevented full interoperability between the databases of various state agencies. In addition, at the time of writing this report, there are no ongoing processes to make the water database open for public access. For Commitment 6, the Cadastre Committee completed most of the data input for the land cadastre, but the connection to and input from other databases is still in progress.
COVID-19 Pandemic impact on implementation
The COVID-19 pandemic moderately affected implementation of the action plan in 2020, as some milestone activities were delayed. For example, approval of the amendments to state grant procedure, public awareness raising for the health platform, and completion of the water cadastre database were delayed due to the pandemic. The pandemic also prevented the OGP Working Group from meeting in 2020, which coincided with the second year of the action plan’s implementation period.
The Governments are working to increase access to and quality of government services, improve transparency, and create opportunities for participation by using information and communications technologies ... platforms, including those set up within current and previous OGP action plans, have gained increased attention and usage during the pandemic. The Accountability within the public education system is key to improving outcomes and attainment, and accountability is nearly impossible without transparent policies and opportunities for participation ... and health platforms set up in the framework of the current action plan (Commitments 8 and 9, respectively) were particularly timely. They enable citizens to obtain information on and sign up for public services in those sectors while minimizing face-to-face communication.
In the context of open government values, COVID-19 brought challenges for public participation and access to information. Civil society organizations had to limit their engagement to participating in online platforms and issuing statements, while being deprived of consultative bodies, hearings, protests, and other participation channels. The government proactively published little information in the first month of the pandemic, and it delayed responses to many information requests. Later, the Ministry of Health established a special information platform to provide information on COVID-19 and protection measures. There, it also published updates on the number of people infected, along with an interactive map of the virus’ spread. In addition, the government published COVID-related decisions, including emergency regulations, travel restrictions, economic and social assistance programs. An emergency call center was established in March 2020 to provide immediate support to citizens and responses to questions on COVID-19.
 For more information, see “IRM Refresh,” Open Government Partnership, https://www.opengovpartnership.org/process/accountability/about-the-irm/irm-refresh/.
 Open Government Partnership, IRM Armenia End-of-Term Report 2016–2018, https://www.opengovpartnership.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Armenia_End-Term_Report_2016-2018_EN.pdf.
 Decisions of emergency commandant, The Government of the Republic of Armenia, https://www.gov.am/en/commandant-decisions/; COVID-19 Travel restrictions, The Government of the Republic of Armenia, https://www.gov.am/en/covid-travel-restrictions/; Programs to address the economic impact of COVID-19, The Government of the Republic of Armenia, https://www.gov.am/en/covid19./; Programs to address the social impact of COVID-19 The Government of the Republic of Armenia, https://www.gov.am/en/covid-19-cragrer./