Costa Rica Mid-Term Progress Report 2015-2017
It is worth noting the government of Costa Rica’s effort to institutionalize open government as a national public policy. Building from this, the government can drive and improve implementation of its commitments. Additionally, in their next action plan, the National Commission for Open Government (CNGA) has the challenge to broaden representation from civil society and other stakeholders to co-create ambitious commitments.
The Open Government Partnership (OGP) is a voluntary international initiative that aims to secure commitments from governments to promote transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption, and harness new technologies to strengthen governance. Costa Rica has been a member of OGP since January 2012. The Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM) conducts biannual assessments of the activities undertaken by every OGP member.
The Deputy Minister of Political Affairs and Citizen Dialogue, who is part of the Presidency Ministry, took on the responsibility, leadership, and coordination of national open government initiatives, including this second national action plan. Furthermore, the National Commission for Open Government (CNGA) was created in 2015 to facilitate and coordinate the implementation of the open government process in Costa Rica. Members of the CNGA include representatives of various ministries, civil society, and the private sector.
OGP members are required to conduct a consultation process during the development and implementation of the action plan.
Costa Rica’s draft action plan was subject to public consultation in two instances: an open invitation for comments sent through email and a two-week period validation consultation open to observations. Representatives of Abriendo Datos and Costa Rica Integra, civil society organization members of the CNGA, stated that they were not informed about how the observations were processed. CNGA has operated as an ongoing consultation space during the implementation of the action plan. However, civil society organizations outside CNGA have noticed a lack of representation of other tangential sectors such as the environmental and municipal sectors.
As part of their participation in OGP, countries are required to establish two-year commitments in their action plan. Costa Rica’s action plan contained 23 commitments. Table 1 summarizes each commitment, the level of completion, potential impact, whether it falls within the planned schedule, and the next steps for the commitment in future action plans. Similar commitments are grouped together and reorganized for ease of reading.
Note that the IRM updated the star criteria in early 2015 to raise the bar for model OGP commitments. In accordance with these criteria, commitments must be measurable, relevant to open government values, have transformative potential impact, and substantial or complete status. Costa Rica’s action plan contained two starred commitments (commitments 9 and 10).
This report was written by Israel Aragon Matamoros, an independent researcher.