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Basque Country Design Report 2018-2020

The Basque Country’s first action plan was developed with participation from seven government agencies of three levels (the Basque Government, the three provincial councils and municipalities of the three provincial capitals). Both the design process and the content of the plan are considered positive. The plan included a variety of civil society groups and promoted their participation, but their ability to make recommendations was lower than that of government agencies.

Table 1. At a glance


Participating since: 2018

Action plan under review: First

Report type: Design

Number of commitments:  5

Action plan development

Is there a multi-stakeholder forum? Yes

Level of public influence:  Collaborate

Acted contrary to OGP process: No

Action plan design

Commitments relevant to OGP  values   5 (80%)

Transformative commitments:               0 (0%)

Potentially starred:                         0 (0%)

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. Euskadi joined OGP in 2018. This report assesses the Basque Country’s first action plan.

General overview of the action plan

Leveraging the Basque Government’s fiscal and political autonomy from Spain, it has promoted open government policies in the past ten years. As a result, the Basque Country is well-positioned in various transparency, open data and overall government quality rankings. It was selected by the Open Government Partnership to create its first action plan, as part of the OGP Local support program.

The action plan was developed with direct collaboration of public institutions and civil society groups, through a series of forums. The creation and subsequent implementation of the plan is led by a promoting group, comprised of eight entities – seven of which include the regional executive, provincial and main cities. Additionally, a multi-stakeholder forum that includes institutional and civil society representatives is where stakeholders deliberate, create and monitor the action plan.

Although civil society representatives participated in the design of the plan and in the forums where it was created, their influence has been limited. The seven government agencies promoting the plan have stronger technical, organizational and coordination capacities, while the heterogeneous and uncoordinated civil society group lacks these abilities.

The action plan included five commitments. The first two (1. Accountability through the design of mandate plans and 2. Open data Euskadi and Linked open data) seek to improve access to information and empower the citizenry to advance effective accountability. Commitments 3 and 4 (3. i-lab in Euskadi and 4. Open Eskola) aim to enhance citizen participation in public affairs through public innovation and capacity building. Commitment no. 5 (5. Basque Integrity System) focuses on strengthening and standardizing public integrity systems of the Basque Country’s public administrations.

Table 2. Noteworthy commitments

Commitment description Next steps Status at the end of the implementation cycle
Commitment 1. Accountability through mandate plans

Develop, collaboratively and by consensus with the citizens, basic and advanced standards for information disclosure (what, how, when and under which principles) for mandate commitments of Basque institutions (different levels of government – autonomous and other local levels).

To advance accountability, future commitments should include mechanisms to strengthen the citizens’ ability to demand accountability from their political representatives, as well as punishment for unsatisfactory work. Note: this will be assessed at the end of the action plan cycle.


Commitment 4. Open Eskola (Open schools for citizens)

Develop an open school model for citizens to meet and learn as a way to promote a more publicly active citizenry, and more open and transparent authorities, with shared values of participatory culture and responsibility for continuous improvement.


To enhance the potential impact of Open Eskola, the government could work with interested individuals in real participatory processes. This would entail helping them in these processes and promoting reflection upon them, rather than solely offering standardized content.

Making a connection between Open Eskola and lessons facilitated by the i-lab could also strengthen the potential impact of this commitment.

Note: this will be assessed at the end of the action plan cycle.



The IRM recommendations aim to inform the development of the next action plan and guide implementation of the current action plan.

Table 3. Five key IRM recommendations

1 Strengthen, within the multi-sectorial forum and the Open Forum, the role of civil society in the design and monitoring of the action plan, engaging additional organizations with a proven ability and setting up internal coordination mechanisms
2 Increase the role of the media in the design and monitoring of the plan
3 Include open government commitments that address sectorial policies of relevance to the citizens: health, education, budgets, etc.
4 Increase the ambition level of accountability mechanisms
5 Create at least one commitment with potential transformative impact and major qualitative change



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