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Costa Rica Design Report 2019-2021

Plan after plan, Costa Rica continues to improve its co-creation processes. This time participation improved in terms of quantity and quality, as it engaged more organizations and achieved greater ownership from them throughout the process. The funds allocated to execute the co-creation process made a difference, especially in terms of the information that was available at every one of its stages. The thematic areas included in the plan are relevant to the national context,  but increasing the level of ambition and citizen participation in the development of the commitments remains a challenge.

Table 1. At a glance

Member since: 2012

Action plan under review: IV

Type of report: Design

Number of commitments: 8

Action plan development:

Is there a multi-stakeholder forum? Yes

Level of public influence: Involve

Acted contrary to OGP process: No

Action plan design


Relevant to OGP values                          8 (100%)

Transformative                                       1 (13%)

Potentially starred:                                  1 (13%)

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. Costa Rica joined OGP in 2012. Since, Costa Rica has implemented three action plans. This report evaluates the design of Costa Rica’s fourth action plan.

General overview of action plan

The new action plan included eight commitments that address issues relevant to a large portion of the national population, such as safety, unemployment, economic downturn and environmental degradation. However, the proposed initiatives lack ambition and its potential impact to make significant progress in addressing the identified issues is low.

The plan is considered an Open State plan, since, in addition to the Executive Branch, it engaged the Judiciary; later on, the Legislature would be included. The plan was developed through the most participatory process ever undertaken. The process included two in-person workshops, with participation from 139 participants; a launch event; and workshops hosted outside the metropolitan area, with participation from 93 attendants. In addition, the process included an online component, whereby dozens of proposals and comments were received.

The process was adequately documented and information was shared promptly. At every stage, input gathered by the public was systematized and published in the national open government portal.

The National Open Government Commission (CNGA in Spanish) led the co-creation process, with support from a technical team, which consisted of civil society organization ACCESSA and the open government team. ACCESA received a grant from the World Bank and the Open Government Partnership to execute the process, which brought about significant improvements. The deliverables proposed to receive the funds included reports about resource execution and lessons learned throughout every stage of the co-creation process, which helped improve the documentation of this open government cycle.

It remains a challenge to ensure that commitments respond to the level of ambition expected and proposals conveyed by the civil society. In the opinion of civil society organizations, the commitment drafting process was largely led by implementing and government agencies. Thus, in many cases, commitments do not adequately reflect the proposals put forward by the public during the co-creation process.

Table 2: Noteworthy commitments

Commitment description Moving forward Status at the end of the implementation cycle
Commitment 8: Judiciary Observatory

Objective: Develop a Judiciary Observatory to monitor and oversee the judiciary management

Generating information to allow users of the Judiciary to understand the status of their cases and have access to average times to process cases with similar characteristics and in the same judiciary circuit would make a significant difference. In addition to giving users confidence, it would represent a key input for monitoring by the observatory and the citizenry. Note: This will be assessed at the end of the action plan cycle.
Commitment 7: Sowing Safety

Objective: Together with civil society, strengthen the Sowing Safety strategy to address safety issues more effectively

The commitment would benefit from including an accountability component after its implementation, and not relying solely on publishing information as described in the commitment as it is written. 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. Please refer to Section V: General Recommendations for more details on each of the below recommendations.

Table 3. Five KEY IRM Recommendations

Refine the methodology to include commitments in the action plan that better align with the proposals put forward by civil society.
Leverage the momentum of the co-creation processes and achieve continuity between the public participation in these processes and the implementation of the action plan, empowering the CNGA and its participating CSOs.
Include indicators to assess commitment completion.
Strengthen commitments by better linking their activities with the issues they seek to address.
Implement strategies to create and manage the institutional open government expertise gained throughout the years.



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