Latvia Transitional Results Report 2019-2021
- Action Plan: Latvia Action Plan 2019-2021
- Dates Under Review: 2019-2021
- Report Publication Year: 2022
The The Open Government Partnership (OGP) is a multi-stakeholder initiative focused on improving government transparency, ensuring opportunities for citizen participation in public matters, and strengthen... More 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. Action plans are at the core of a government’s participation in OGP. They are the product of a co-creation process in which government and civil society jointly develop commitments to open governmen... commitments may build on existing efforts, identify new steps to complete ongoing reforms, or initiate an entirely new area. OGP’s The Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM) is OGP’s accountability arm and the main means of tracking progress in participating countries. The IRM provides independent, evidence-based, and objective ... monitors all action plans to ensure governments follow through on commitments. Civil society and government leaders use the evaluations to reflect on their progress and determine if efforts have impacted people’s lives.
The IRM has partnered with Indra Mangule to carry out this evaluation. The IRM aims to inform ongoing dialogue around the development and implementation of future commitments. For a full description of the IRM’s methodology, please visit https://www.opengovpartnership.org/about/independent-reporting-mechanism.
This report covers the implementation of Latvia’s fourth action plan (2019–2021). In 2021, the IRM will implement a new approach to its research process and the scope of its reporting on action plans, approved by the IRM Refresh. The IRM adjusted its implementation reports for 2018–2020 action plans to fit the transition process to the new IRM products and enable the IRM to adjust its workflow in light of the COVID-19 pandemic’s effects on OGP country processes.
Action Plan Implementation
The IRM transitional results report assesses the status of the action plan’s commitments and the results from their implementation at the end of the action plan cycle. This report does not re-visit the assessments for “OGP commitments should be clear and specific enough to enable measurement of their progress. Verifiable commitments include specific activities that can be monitored. Following an action plan’s subm...,” “According to the OGP Articles of Governance, OGP commitments should include a clear open government lens. Specifically, they should advance at least one of the OGP values: transparency, citizen partic...,” or “potential impact.” The IRM assesses those three indicators in IRM design reports. For more details on each indicator, please see Annex I in this report.
General highlights and results
Latvia’s fourth OGP action plan included six commitments focused on procurement According to OGP’s Articles of Governance, transparency occurs when “government-held information (including on activities and decisions) is open, comprehensive, timely, freely available to the pub... More, By opening up data and making it sharable and reusable, governments can enable informed debate, better decision making, and the development of innovative new services. Technical specifications: Polici... access, Lobbying transparency allows the public to ensure that there is diversity of participation and contribution to public decision-making. Technical specifications: Policies and actions affecting lobbying..., open government in local governments, corruption prevention, and Giving citizens opportunities to provide input into government decision-making leads to more effective governance, improved public service delivery, and more equitable outcomes. Technical specificatio... in reform processes. Commitments on procurement transparency, open data, and lobbying transparency build upon previous action plan commitments.
The level of implementation improved compared to the previous plan—two commitments (33%) were implemented completely and four (67%) were implemented to a substantial level. This may be due to a smaller number of overall commitments and more achievable objectives and activities. For example, OGP commitments are promises for reform co-created by governments and civil society and submitted as part of an action plan. Commitments typically include a description of the problem, concrete action... 2 focused on specific datasets and set a specific goal of assessing and evaluating their potential to be opened. The evaluation was then completed and some datasets have already been opened as a result.
The design report highlighted three commitments as noteworthy: public procurement, lobbying transparency, and open government in local government. Commitment 1 (Transparency in the procurement process can help combat corruption and waste that plagues a significant portion of public procurement budgets globally. Technical specifications: Commitments enhancing ...) led to more information being published on procurement risks, although it is too soon to tell what further impact this has had on procurement processes. Commitment 4 (open local governments) brought legislative reforms for greater openness. Some municipalities started to implement these on 24 November 2020, despite the publishing obligation not beginning until January 2022.
The other noteworthy commitment was Commitment 3 on lobbying transparency. It included the broad aim of supporting a new lobbying framework. Besides the commitment being implemented, meaningful developments have also occurred outside the scope of the action plan and a proposal on a new lobbying framework is being drafted in Latvia’s parliament (“Saeima”) as of December 2021. The Open Lobbying working group in the Saeima’s committee on Defense, Internal Affairs and Corruption Prevention (established October 2019) met regularly. They drafted basic principles for developing a draft lobbying law, which they published for public consultation in January 2021. Since then, drafting the law has continued and should conclude by early 2022 when the draft would be presented to the Saeima.
COVID-19 pandemic impact on implementation
Latvia declared a state of emergency on 12 March until 10 June 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, restrictions requiring working from home, social distancing, limiting passengers on public transportation, wearing masks, and a ban on large gatherings have been adapted depending on the epidemiological data.
Interviews with civil society and government members of the multistakeholder forum indicated that while the public and private sectors in Latvia were affected significantly and negatively by the COVID-19 pandemic, it did not significantly impact implementation of the fourth OGP action plan. However, stakeholders said adapting to working online and moving in-person activities online required a rather steep learning curve for some.
Nevertheless, both civil society and government emphasized the positive effects of the pandemic on implementing the action plan. The pandemic forced public sector bodies to adapt to working online, which in turn highlighted the importance of digitization, transparency, and open data (such as Commitment 2).
 For more information, see https://www.opengovpartnership.org/process/accountability/about-the-irm/irm-refresh/.
 Indra Mangule, Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM): Latvia Design Report 2019–2021 (OGP, 6 Nov. 2020), https://www.opengovpartnership.org/documents/latvia-design-report-2019-2021/.
 Information on the group’s activities and meeting agendas can be found here (accessed 28 Nov. 2021): https://aizsardziba.saeima.lv/darba-grupa-lob%C4%93%C5%A1anas-atkl%C4%81t%C4%ABbas-likuma-izstr%C4%81dei.
 Principles for the development of a lobbying opening framework are available here (accessed 28 Nov. 2021): https://interesuaizstaviba.lv/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Interesu-parstavniecibas-atklatibas-regulejuma-pamatprincipi.-Publiska-apspriesana-pirms-likumprojekta-izstrades-Saeima.pdf.
 Inese Helmane, “Sabiedriskajai apspriešanai nodod lobēšanas atklātības regulējuma pamatprincipus” [The basic principles of the regulation of openness of lobbying have been submitted for public consultation] (accessed, 28 Jan. 2021), https://lvportals.lv/norises/324281-sabiedriskajai-apspriesanai-nodod-lobesanas-atklatibas-regulejuma-pamatprincipus-2021.
 Inese Voika Member of Parliament (Open Lobbying working group at Saeima’s committee of Defense, Internal Affairs and Corruption Prevention), interview by IRM researcher, 25 Nov. 2021.
 For a full list of government decisions regarding COVID-19 related restrictions in Latvia, see State Chancellery, “Aktualitātes” [Spotlight] (10 Feb. 2022), https://covid19.gov.lv/aktualitates?category%5B19%5D=19&page=0.
 Inese Kušķe (State Chancellery), interview by IRM researcher, 16 Nov. 2021; Iveta Kažoka (PROVIDUS), interview by IRM researcher, 18 Nov. 2021; Toms Ceļmillers (Ministry of Environment and Regional Development), interview by IRM researcher, 23 Nov. 2021; Didzis Meļķis (ManaBalss), interview by IRM researcher, 24 Nov. 2021; Ieva Rubeļska (Ministry of Defence), interview by IRM researcher, 25 Nov. 2021; Inese Voika MP (Open Lobbying working group at Saeima’s committee of Defense, Internal Affairs and Corruption Prevention), interview by IRM researcher, 25 Nov. 2021; Elīna
Virtmane and Baiba Ruķere-Lenkeviča, Procurement Monitoring Bureau, interview by IRM researcher, 25 Nov. 2021; Kristīne Kinča (The Latvian Association of Local and Regional Governments), interview by IRM researcher, 26 Nov. 2021; Inta Salinieka, Agnija Karlsone- Djomkina and Līga Reinfelde (Court Administration), interview by IRM researcher, 26 Nov. 2021; and Kristine Kuprijanova and Agnese Rācene-Krūmiņa, Ministry of To address barriers that prevent citizens from having their justice needs met, OGP participating governments are working to expand transparency, accountability, and inclusion into all systems of justi..., interview by IRM researcher, 29 Nov. 2021.
 Ieva Rubeļska (Ministry of Defence) and Kristīne Kinča (The Latvian Association of Local and Regional Governments), interview by IRM researcher, 25 Nov. 2021.
 Inese Kušķe (State Chancellery), interview by IRM researcher, 16 Nov. 2021; Toms Ceļmillers (Ministry of Environment and Regional Development), interview by IRM researcher, 23 Nov. 2021; Didzis Meļķis (ManaBalss), interview by IRM researcher, 24 Nov. 2021; Diāna Rasuma (Ministry of Environment and Regional Development), interview by IRM researcher, 26 Nov. 2021; Daiga Reihmane and Mārtiņš Brencis (Central Finance and Contracting Agency), interview by IRM researcher, 29 Nov. 2021; Irina Dobelniece (The Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau), interview with IRM researcher, 1 Dec. 2021; and Inese Taurina and Agnija Birule (TI Latvia ‘Delna’), 3 Dec. 2021.