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El Salvador Design Report 2018-2020

El Salvador’s fourth action plan is aligned with the country’s national priorities, including fiscal transparency, accountability, and human rights. The co-creation process included a broad, open consultation and the Government responded to the input presented by civil society organizations and the public. However, the process did not entail meaningful collaboration of civil society organizations, in part due to a lack of resources and to the electoral context in which the plan was designed. Moving forward, the IRM researcher recommends strengthening the multi-stakeholder forum to promote an iterative dialogue with civil society to support the design and implementation of commitments.

Table 1. At a Glance

 

Member since: 2011

Action plan under review: 2018-2020

Type of report: Design

Number of commitments:  5

 

 

Action plan development

 

Is there a multi-stakeholder forum? Yes

Level of public influence:  Involve

Acted contrary to OGP process: No

 

Action plan design

 

Commitments relevant to OGP values: 5(100%)

Transformative commitments: 1(20%)

Potentially starred: 1(20%)

Action plan implementation

 

Starred commitments: N/A

Completed commitments: N/A

Commitments with major DIOG: N/A

Commitments with outstanding DIOG: N/A

 

*DIOG: Did it Open Government

Open Government Partnership (OGP) is a voluntary initiative that aims to secure concrete commitments from governments to promote transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption, and harness new technologies to strengthen governance. The Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM) conducts yearly assessments of each OGP member’s activities to ensure that governments comply with their commitments. El Salvador joined OGP in 2011. Since then, El Salvador has implemented three action plans. This report assesses the design of the country’s fourth action plan.

Action plan overview

The design of El Salvador’s action plan happened during a major political milestone: the election of a new president. Nayib Bukele, the candidate representing the Great Alliance for National Unity political party, was elected in February 2019. The interviewed CSOs and public agency representatives agree that, in part, this context influenced the design of the action plan and resulted in the creation of a plan with fewer commitments, as compared with previous plans.

Unlike in previous action plans, the Government of El Salvador and the Open Government Observatory (OGA in Spanish) were not able to conduct a national-level consultation process. However, organizations outside the OGA put forward 16 commitments, 2 of which were incorporated in the action plan. In addition, the Secretariat for Transparency, Participation and Anticorruption (STPA) responded and provided feedback to 95 of the 98 proposals submitted by citizens via the online consultation. This had not occurred during previous action plans.

The 2018-2020 action plan includes commitments with clear milestones and is aligned with the country’s national priorities, including fiscal and integral transparency, environmental protection, accountability, and human rights. The action plan includes the commitment to collect files related to the armed conflict and one to strengthen the fiscal transparency portal. These represent important milestones but were not identified as part of a broad, systematic co-creation process. Unlike in previous action plans, the participation of organizations in the OGA was weak, confirming the need to strengthen the multi-stakeholder process to ensure clear and meaningful participation of its member institutions.

Table 2. Noteworthy commitments

Commitment description Next steps Status at the end of the implementation cycle
1.  Increased citizen participation in public finances via the fiscal transparency portal

Enhance the educative component of the fiscal transparency portal to strengthen citizen participation in public finances.

To secure better implementation of this commitment, the IRM researcher recommends establishing additional partnerships with universities and expert institutions to better promote the use of the portal.

The IRM researcher also recommends promoting open, unrestricted, inclusive, and diverse participation of the group of journalists that were invited to the first training on fiscal education, as well as considering broadening the invitation of OGA CSOs and other specialized organizations to participate in fiscal controllership processes.

Note: this will be assessed at the end of the action plan.
4. Recovering the historic memory of the armed conflict events

Documentation of human rights violations will offer insights and create safeguards to prevent conflict from repeating itself and to raise awareness about the armed conflict.

For this commitment to be substantially or completely implemented, the Human Rights Office of the Presidency should identify a clear mechanism to search and identify files, establish reforms to the general archive and draft guidelines for the new policy for the preservation of the heritage. Note: this will be assessed at the end of the action plan.

 

Recommendations

The IRM recommendations aim to inform the design of the upcoming action plan and guide the implementation of the current plan.

Table 3. Five KEY IRM recommendations.

Create a binding mandate to promote the sustainability of the Open Government Partnerships process.
Strengthen civil society organization participation in the multi-stakeholder forum.
Systematize and draft a methodology for the design of future plans.
Engage public institutions beyond the Executive Branch.
Secure a budget line for the OGP process in the Nation’s General Budget for 2020.

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