Bosnia and Herzegovina Transitional Results Report 2019-2021
- Action Plan: Bosnia and Herzegovina Action Plan 2019-2021
- Dates Under Review: 2019-2021
- Report Publication Year: 2022
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 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 Elma Demir 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 Bosnia and Herzegovina’s first action plan for 2019–2021. 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
Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) state-level institutions used this first action plan to focus on government priorities in open government and good governance. By the end of the implementation period, Commitments 1 (By opening up data and making it sharable and reusable, governments can enable informed debate, better decision making, and the development of innovative new services. Technical specifications: Polici... on Transparency in the procurement process can help combat corruption and waste that plagues a significant portion of public procurement budgets globally. Technical specifications: Commitments enhancing ... in BiH), 2 (developing a web platform for online drafting of integrity plans), and 5 (involving civil society organizations in policy-making processes) had 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.... Commitments 3 (developing online training modules on integrity plans for civil servants) and 4 (increasing availability, openness, and use of official statistical data) had substantial completion, and Commitments 6 (improving 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 in BiH institutions) and 7 (drafting a Budget for Citizens) were fully completed.
Before the start of the action plan implementation, institutions had already begun implementing Commitments 3, 4, and 6. These commitments already had funding and were less impacted by COVID-19 delays. 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 also demonstrated close collaboration between civil society and public institutions to develop the content of training materials on integrity plans.
Civil society noted that a lack of external funding (e.g., international foundations) led to limited completion of Commitment 2, and that funding will likely be an important factor in implementing future action plan commitments. The IRM suggests stakeholders consider whether commitments have adequate funding to be implemented for future action plans.
The IRM design report identified Commitments 1, 5, and 7 as noteworthy commitments. Restrictions on freedom of assembly due to COVID-19 delayed activities for Commitment 5 to the extent that it had only limited completion by the end of the implementation period. Limited implementation of Commitment 1 was due to legislative amendments not passing in parliament, which would have otherwise opened the door to full implementation. The responsible institution for implementing Commitment 1 aims to continue work on opening public procurement in future action plans. Commitment 7 on the other hand, completed the activities for developing the Budget for Citizens. While it did gain limited media attention, more could have been done to actively disseminate the information to the public beyond publishing it on the website. Only Commitment 7 is examined in further detail in Section 2.3.
COVID-19 pandemic impact on implementation
The COVID-19 pandemic significantly impacted commitment implementation as well as the operations of the Advisory Council. From March through to the summer of 2020, all institutions, including those on the state level, were focused on mitigating the crisis. This meant facing new modes of operations and adjusting procedures to online and remote work. Since public institutions did not have such practices in place prior to the pandemic, it took significant time to adjust to these changes.
Furthermore, the pandemic affected institutional capacity—from illness as well as increased workloads. For example, the Agency for Public Procurement of BiH conducted additional monitoring and evaluations of public procurement related to the COVID-19 pandemic, which created new workloads for its employees. Accusations of corruption in public procurement became an issue during 2020 as instances surfaced of profiteering and inflated prices in the purchase of ventilators and other pandemic-related items.
The pandemic also significantly delayed workshops and trainings as part of commitments under the Ministry of Justice, Public Administration Reform Coordinator’s Office of BiH (PARCO), and the Agency for Statistics of BiH, some of which were later held online. Despite these challenges, the Advisory Council managed to meet at least four times during the year, initially online and then later with in-person meetings.
 For more information, see: https://www.opengovpartnership.org/process/accountability/about-the-irm/irm-refresh/.
 Leila Bičakčić (Center for Investigative Journalism (CIN)), interview by IRM researcher, 6 Dec. 2021; Danira Karović and Darko Brkan (Association “Why not?”), interview by IRM researcher, 8 Dec. 2021.
 Agency for Public Procurement, “Draft Work Program of the Agency for Public Procurement of BiH for 2022”, 21 Jul 2021, https://ekonsultacije.gov.ba/legislativeactivities/details/113066
 Belma Sečibović and Dario Kihli (Agency for Public Procurement of BiH), interview by IRM researcher, 7 Dec. 2021.
 Aida Djugum, Edib Bajrovic, and Andy Heil, “How Did A Bosnian Raspberry Farm Get A State Contract To Acquire 100 Ventilators?” (Radio Free Europe –Radio Liberty, 5 May 2020), https://www.rferl.org/a/bosnia-ventilators-scandal-covid-19-raspberry-farm-multimillion-deal-procurement/30594315.html.
 Vildan Hadžihasanović (Min. of To address barriers that prevent citizens from having their justice needs met, OGP participating governments are working to expand transparency, accountability, and inclusion into all systems of justi... of BiH), interview by IRM researcher, 6 Dec. 2021; Vedrana Faladzic and Mubera Begic (PARCO), interview by IRM researcher, 6 Dec. 2021; Alen Mrgud (Agency for Statistics of BiH), interview by IRM researcher, 7 Dec. 2021.