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Estonia Results Report 2020-2022

Estonia’s fifth Open Government Partnership (OGP) action plan saw strong results in lobbying transparency, and in participation in central and local government. The commitments with the strongest results had both active leaders among public officials and committed partners or networks to assist implementation. Like the previous plan, the implementation of this action plan benefited from having targeted commitments that were manageable over two years.

Early Results

Estonia’s fifth action (2020-2022) plan included three commitments. The first two focused on improving public participation and co-creation at the central and local government levels and the third sought to increase government transparency and prevent corruption. For the purposes of assessment, the IRM un-clustered the third commitment into two separate commitments – one on lobbying transparency and the other on whistleblower protection.[1]

One commitment achieved major early results. Specifically, Commitment 3.1 increased lobbying transparency as central government institutions started, for the first time, to publish quarterly information on ministers’ and higher public officials’ meetings with lobbyists. Civil society stakeholders already use the data to track which interest groups have influenced policy processes.

Commitments 1 and 2 had marginal early results. Some of their outcomes included improved public officials’ skills in participation, new or improved models for citizen engagement, and more municipal open government action plans. These positive outcomes have not yet led to a comprehensive or sustained shift in the government’s approach to policy-making and citizen engagement. Nonetheless, their results could shape government practice further, particularly in the forthcoming roadmap for fostering open government at the central and local levels (an activity in the sixth action plan). Commitment 1 also advanced a long-term reform over several OGP action plans to institutionalize the concept of co-creation in policy-making, though the results will be visible once the digital co-creation tool is finished and it is made mandatory for all public institutions (as planned in the future).


Three of the four commitments were implemented fully or substantially, although several were completed a few months after the end of the action plan term. The level of completion continued to be strong but was slightly lower compared to the fourth action plan (2018-2020), where all six commitments were fully completed.[2] Delays occurred due to planning issues and unexpected events. For example, several open government workshops for local municipalities planned under Commitment 2 were postponed because local officials were assisting Ukrainian refugees after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.[3] The Ministry of Justice completed its commitment to develop a good practice on government institutions’ relations with lobby groups. This included requirements to regularly publish data on meetings with lobbyists. This commitment has already led to visible improvements in the government’s practice of publishing lobbying data, despite lacking legal enforcement mechanisms. At the same time, the ministry’s commitment to create a secure digital tool for whistleblower reporting (Commitment 3.2) ran into obstacles as the Parliament did not adopt the national whistleblower regulation. Nevertheless, even if some milestones were not achieved by the end of the action plan, most commitments have begun delivering early results.

Participation and Co-Creation

The Government Office continues to coordinate the OGP process and chair the Open Government Development Committee. The committee serves as a multi-stakeholder forum (MSF) of governmental and non-governmental stakeholders, overseeing the development and implementation of OGP action plans. The MSF met regularly during the action plan term to discuss commitment progress, Estonia’s participation in the OGP Steering Committee, and the co-creation of the next action plan. Ministries also contracted several CSOs to carry out specific activities within commitments. CSOs therefore made a significant contribution to action plan implementation. Moving forward, civil society members would like MSF meetings to focus less on formal decision-making and more on substantial debates around open government issues.

Implementation in context

Overall, the fifth action plan saw high levels of implementation. However, three main external factors hindered the implementation of some activities. First, lack of political agreement in the Parliament prevented the implementation of Commitment 3.2, which intended to support the enforcement of whistleblower protections regulations that the Parliament was to adopt by 2022.[4] Second, the COVID-19 pandemic delayed the open government workshops that the Ministry of Finance planned for local municipalities under Commitment 2.[5] The same commitment also suffered the consequences of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. By mid-March 2022, some 22,000 Ukrainian refugees were seeking shelter in Estonia[6] – this is 18 times more asylum seekers than had arrived in Estonia in total in the previous 20 years.[7] In the months following Russia’s invasion, many local municipalities were arranging assistance to Ukrainian war refugees and officials lacked time to participate in the workshops. As the ministry had set strict targets on the minimum number of participants to ensure the participation of as many local officials as possible, the contractor postponed several workshops from spring 2022 to late 2022 and the first months of 2023 to be able to meet the requirements.[8] The plan is to have one workshop in every county and to have participants from every local government.

[1] Open Government Partnership, Estonia Action Plan Review 2020-2022,

[2] Open Government Partnership, Estonia Transitional Results Report 2018-2020,

[3] Kaie Küngas (Ministry of Finance), interview by the IRM, 9 December 2022.

[4] Kätlin-Chris Kruusmaa (Ministry of Justice), interview by the IRM, 21 December 2022.

[5] Kaie Küngas (Ministry of Finance), interview by the IRM, 9 December 2022; Liia Hänni and Kristina Reinsalu (e-Governance Academy), interview by the IRM, 15 December 2022.

[6] Estonian Public Broadcasting, Estonian local governments requesting additional support for refugees, 16 March 2022,

[7] Estonian Refugee Council, Pagulased Eestis,

[8] Liia Hänni and Kristina Reinsalu (e-Governance Academy), interview by the IRM, 15 December 2022.


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