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Malta Transitional Results Report 2018-2020

The Open Government Partnership 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 plan commitments may build on existing efforts, identify new steps to complete ongoing reforms, or initiate an entirely new area. OGP’s Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM) 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 Soledad Gattoni, an independent researcher, 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

This report covers the implementation of Malta’s third action plan for 2018-2020. 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.[1] 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 “Verifiability,” “Relevance” 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

Malta’s third action plan featured five commitments, covering the areas of inclusion, public service delivery, and mobile and blockchain technologies.[2] Only two out of five commitments were clearly relevant to OGP values, the same rate as the previous action plan (2015-2017).[3] The previous action plan saw two of five commitments reach substantial implementation (with the other three seeing limited completion). However, for the current action plan, the IRM was only able to establish that limited implementation occurred for three commitments.

The end of 2019 saw protests and a political crisis following the uncovering of alleged links between government officials and the assassination of investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia. The resignation of Prime Minister Joseph Muscat led to Robert Abela becoming Prime Minister in January 2020. The subsequent government reshuffle and changes to ministries meant that the lead ministry for OGP in Malta, the Ministry for European Affairs and Equality, ceased to exist. Since then, there has been no permanent or temporary point of contact in the Maltese government to OGP, nor has a new ministry taken up responsibility for the OGP process in the country. Malta has also not established a dedicated multi-stakeholder forum to oversee the OGP process. Non-government stakeholders in Malta contacted by the IRM were mostly unaware of any implementation of the commitments, and the country lacks an online repository to track commitment progress. Thus, there was insufficient evidence for the IRM to ascertain whether any commitments led to early results or changes in government practice.

In February 2020, OGP’s Criteria & Standards Subcommittee placed Malta under a procedural review for having been found acting contrary to OGP process for two consecutive action plan cycles.[4] Due to the lack of response to this procedural review, a group of five civil society organisations (CSOs) in Malta sent an open letter in June 2021 to the Prime Minister, requesting the government establish a multi-stakeholder forum for OGP and urging it to recommit itself to OGP.[5] At the time of writing this report (September 2021), the government has not responded to this letter, and no progress has been made to begin co-creating a new action plan.

For Malta, there is clear room for improvement in several open government areas, including journalistic freedom, civic space, open data, and whistleblowing. From 2017 to 2020, Malta fell more than 30 places in Reporters Without Borders’ World Press Freedom Index.[6] In 2019, CIVICUS considered civic space in Malta “narrowed”, noting that civil society believed that the authorities have failed to ensure justice for journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, two years after her assassination.[7] Although Malta launched a national open data portal in 2019, the 2020 European Open Data Maturity Report placed the country in the “Follower” category (at rank 31 out of 35 countries).[8] In addition, as of January 2021, Malta has not started the process to transpose the EU’s 2019 whistleblowing directive into national legislation.[9]

COVID-19 Pandemic impact on implementation

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Malta imposed a mandatory quarantine on travelers and those who were in contact with others who traveled abroad.[10] From April 2020 onwards, when cases rose to 52, the government imposed a mandatory lockdown on those over the age of 65 and/or suffering from chronic health conditions. The government adapted restrictions to freedom of assembly over the course of 2020 by limiting and imposing fines for breaking the restrictions on the total number of people allowed to gather in public spaces.[11] One year later, Malta has reported more than 34,000 confirmed cases and 423 deaths.[12] The vaccination process is in progress with more than 70 percent of the Maltese population fully vaccinated against the virus.[13] However, it is unclear how the pandemic has affected implementation of the action plan, and there is no information available for the IRM to assess how the pandemic has changed OGP priorities in the country or affected engagement with CSOs.

[1] For more information, see:

[2] Open Government Partnership, IRM Malta Design Report 2018-2020,

[3] Open Government Partnership, IRM Malta End-of-Term Report 2015-2017,

[4] Open Government Partnership, Malta Letter Under Review,

[5] These included the Daphne Caruana Galizia Foundation, the aditus foundation, SOS Malta, Integra Foundation, Kopin and Repubblika,

[6] Reporters Without Borders, A long road to justice,

[7] Civicus, Monitor, Tracking Civic Space, Malta,

[8] Open data maturity 2020, Malta,

[9] Polimeter, Malta,

[10] Times of Malta, As it happened: Lockdown for 118,000 people,

[11] EU Fundamental Rights Agency, Coronavirus pandemic in the EU – Fundamental Rights Implications, 3 November 2020,

[12], Novel coronavirus – English,

[13] Malta COVID-19 vaccination,


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