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Lithuania End-Term Report 2016-2018

Lithuania’s third action plan focused on the openness of the public sector, preventing corruption and promoting transparency, and improving civic participation. While the action plan addressed major open government issues in Lithuania, the commitments themselves were limited in scope and most saw low levels of completion. However, the Office of the Government did establish a multi-stakeholder forum during the second year of the action plan and, for the first time, created guidelines on how to improve public consultations in Lithuania.

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 a review of the activities of each OGP- participating country. This report summarizes the results of the period from May 2016 to August 2018, and includes relevant developments up to September 2018.

The Office of the Government is the lead coordinating institution for Lithuania’s participation in OGP. Aside from OGP-related activities, it assists the Prime Minister in implementing policies and coordinates the work of the ministries. A significant number of the commitments were carried out by the Office itself and the ministries. To gather the expertise for drafting and implementing the commitments, the Office of the Government also formed a working group of public officials, academia and civil society.

Lithuania’s third action plan largely continued the themes of the previous two, namely increasing access to open data, increasing civic participation, and reducing corruption. While several commitments sought to address important open government issues in Lithuania (i.e. to encourage greater civic participation or reduce corruption in the healthcare system), the limited implementation time and scope of activities inhibited them from opening up government in a major way. Although the third action plan aimed to address national issues, it largely focused on capital-based institutions and public officials. Though they could set the tone for the others, activities had no major links to Lithuanian regions or local public sector institutions.

The third action plan had nine commitments, none of them starred. One of them – to create a public consultation mechanism – for the first time offered specific guidelines for public sector institutions on how to organize public consultations and thus address the problem of low civic participation in Lithuania. As the guidelines had to be tested, more citizens had the chance to participate in the decision-making process compared to previous action plans in Lithuania.

The Office of the Government did not publish a self-assessment report for the second year of implementation but planned to deliver it by December 2018.

At the time of writing this report (September 2018), the fourth action plan is still in the draft stage. The Office of the Government confirmed they would recommend the government to continue working on five commitments from the third action plan, namely the open data portal, consultation mechanism, e-platform for public sector’s financial data, NGO database and NGO register. This recommendation would also need support from the working group.

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Filed under: IRM Report

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