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El Salvador End-of-Term Report 2016-2018

During the implementation stage, El Salvador achieved better coordination between the civil society organizations that make up the Open Government Observatory (OGA in Spanish) and public agencies in charge of commitments. While most commitments were completely or substantially implemented, it remains a challenge to improve their design and increase their levels of ambition and potential impact.

Table 1: At a glance
Midterm End-of-Term
Number of commitments 14
Level of Completion
Complete 0 5
Substantial 1 5
Limited 13 4
Not started 0 0
Commitments that are of…
Clear Relevance to OGP Values 14
Transformative Potential Impact 0
Substantial or Complete Implementation 1 10
All three (✪) 0 0
Did it Open Government?
Major 1
Outstanding 0
Moving Forward
Number of commitments carried over to next action plan 0

The Open Government Partnership (OGP) is a voluntary international initiative that aims to secure commitments from governments to their citizenry to promote transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption, and harness new technologies to strengthen governance. The Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM) carries out annual reviews of the activities of each OGP-participating country. This report summarizes the results of the period June 2016 to June 2018.

In El Salvador, the institution in charge of developing, implementing and monitoring the 2016-2018 action plan was the Secretariat for Participation, Transparency and Anticorruption (SPTA for its acronym in Spanish), created during the administration of president Salvador Sanchez Ceren. Civil society organizations (CSOs) participate via the Open Government Observatory (OGA for its acronym in Spanish), space that allows them to engage in dialogue, submit recommendations and oversee the completion of commitments. Levels of implementation improved over the second year of the action plan cycle, partly due to the effective coordination between the CSOs and public agencies that were in charge of commitments.

El Salvador published its self-assessment report on time, in September of 2017. The SPTA created an online space for public consultations[1]. Until the moment of writing this report, El Salvador had not yet submitted a new action plan, but the STPA indicated that they are working on its publication.

Consultation with Civil Society During Implementation

OGP participating countries are required to conduct a consultation process with civil society for the development and implementation of their action plans. Since 2016, El Salvador established the OGA, a non-binding multi-stakeholder forum and permanent dialogue space, which is of advisory nature. This space is made up of 25 CSOs[ii] that participated via three working groups: civil society, academia and government, the latter one integrated by public agencies. During the design and implementation of the action plan, the OGA offers feedback and monitoring to the process and assesses implementation of commitments. Institutions interested in participating in the OGA can do so openly or by invitation. To this effect, they must formally submit a request to the STPA and participate in monthly meetings.

In contrast with the previous action plan, the STPA and OGA encouraged ongoing dialogue and coordination between the CSOs and public agencies in charge of commitments. Thus, the OGA did not exclusively communicate with the STPA. Instead, each OSC monitored and provided feedback directly to the public intuitions in charge of commitments. During the implementation process, the OGA held several meetings, both internal and with public institutions. The IRM researcher consulted OGA representatives about the number of meetings but, until the writing of this report, did not receive a response.

Table 2: Consultation process during implementation

Multi-stakeholder Forum Midterm End-of-Term
1.     Did a forum exist? Yes Yes
2. Did it meet regularly? Yes Yes

Table 3: Level of public influence

The IRM has adapted the International Association for Public Participation (IAP2) “Spectrum of Participation” to apply to OGP. The table below shows the public influence in the action plan. The stages shown in the table are cumulative, from bottom to top. In the spirit of OGP, most countries should aspire for “collaborate.”

Level of Public Influence During Implementation of Action Plan Midterm End of Term
Empower The government handed decision-making power to members of the public.
Collaborate There was iterative dialogue AND the public helped set the agenda.
Involve The government gave feedback on how public inputs were considered.
Consult The public could give inputs.
Inform The government provided the public with information on the action plan.
No consultation No consultation

According to representatives of the CSOs Iniciativa Social para la Democracia (ISD), Sistema de Asesoría y Capacitación para el Desarrollo Local (SACDEL), Asociación de Educación Popular “Ciazo” (CIAZO) and Fundación para la Democracia y el Desarrollo Social (FUNDASPAD), who closely monitored the majority of commitments, the public agencies showed great openness to receive recommendations and address the barriers that limited the completion of commitments. They also indicated that select commitments, including 11 and 15, showed strong performance due to existing coordination between CSOs and public agencies, which did not occur in previous plans.

With regards to the level of influence during implementation, representatives of the consulted CSOs (ISD, CIAZO, SACDEL and FUDASPAD) stated that, while they received feedback from the majority of participating agencies – except about commitments whose implementation was discontinued – in very few occasions there was an iterative dialogue for the establishment of the agenda. Feedback consisted in informing CSOs about barriers, identifying potential solutions and integrating comments by CSOs, as well as the reasons why certain recommendations were not adopted.

Overall, these CSOs claim that, in comparison with the previous action plans, bilateral meetings with public agencies contributed to closer inspection and allowed them to submit recommendations. In addition, it allowed coordination with responsible institutions and to understand the reasons that explained slow progress in commitment implementation. This mechanism has not yet been institutionalized, but, according to SPTA and OGA representatives, in the next action plan this approach will still be pursued.

[1] During the public consultation process, the citizenry presented comments via the website: http://alianza.gobiernoabierto.gob.sv/2016-2018/documents/discussion  Last accessed: September 30, 2018.
[ii] Institutions that make up the OGA are: Asociación Atlacatl Vivo Positivo,  Asociación Centro de Capacitación y Promoción de la Democracia,  Asociación de Educación Popular “Ciazo”,  Asociación de Lisiados de Guerra de El Salvador,  Asociación de Radios y Programas Participativos de El Salvador, Asociación de Sistemas de Agua Potable y Saneamiento, Asociación Nueva Vida Pro Niñez y Juventud / Red + VOS,  Asociación para el Desarrollo Integral de la Juventud,  Asociación para la Salud y el Servicio Social Intercomunal en El Salvador,  Asociación Salvadoreña Promotora de la Salud,  Asociación Solidaria para impulsar el Desarrollo Humano,  Foro Intersectorial por la Reforma Democrática,  Fundación de Estudios para la Aplicación del Derecho,  Fundación Salvadoreña para la Democracia y el Desarrollo Social, GENS International, Iniciativa Social para la Democracia,  Jóvenes Contra la Violencia, Jóvenes en Acción Política, Juventudes Socialdemócratas de El Salvador, Sistema de Asesoría y Capacitación para el Desarrollo Local, Unidad Ecológica Salvadoreña, Universidad Cristiana de las Asambleas de Dios, Universidad Francisco Gavidia, Universidad Politécnica de El Salvador and Universidad de El Salvador (UES).

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