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Norway Design Report 2019-2021

Norway’s fourth action plan focuses on the openness of public administration, open data, and anti-corruption. Notably, the action plan continues a commitment to establish a public register of ultimate beneficial owners of Norwegian companies. In future action plans, Norway could work towards greater lobbying transparency and improve commitment design by including milestones with measurable outcomes and clear outputs.

Table 1. At a glance
Participating since: 2011
Action plan under review: Fourth
Report type: Design
Number of commitments: 8
Action plan development
Is there a multistakeholder forum: No
Level of public influence: Consult
Acted contrary to OGP process: Yes
Action plan design
Commitments relevant to OGP values: 7 (88%)
Transformative commitments: 1 (13%)
Potentially starred commitments: 1
Commitments

The Open Government Partnership (OGP) 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. The Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM) monitors all action plans to ensure governments follow through on commitments. Norway joined OGP in 2011. Since, Norway has implemented three action plans. This report evaluates the design of Norway’s fourth action plan.

General overview of action plan

Norway continues to perform among the top countries in the world on measurements of good governance, transparency, and anti-corruption. The fourth action plan continues some priorities of previous plans, such as improving the openness of public administration and beneficial ownership transparency. The action plan also focuses on improving access to data on energy revenue statics and cultural data, as well as fully digitalising Norway’s public procurement system.

The co-creation process of Norway’s fourth action plan mainly involved one in-person consultation meeting in June 2018 where stakeholders could discuss potential topics for inclusion. While the process saw greater levels of civil society engagement compared to the previous plan, the government provided limited feedback to stakeholders on how proposals were integrated into the action plan. Following the submission of the fourth action plan, the Ministry of Local Government and Modernisation (KMD) formed a new OGP Council to help facilitate civil society’s involvement during implementation.

While several commitments in the fourth action plan address relevant topics in Norway, many lack milestones with measurable outcomes and clear outputs. This makes it difficult to determine the level of ambition of the action plan or the intended changes that will result from the commitments. Notably, the action plan continues a commitment from the third plan (2016-2018) on establishing a publicly available register of ultimate beneficial owners of companies in Norway.

Table 2. Noteworthy commitments

Commitment description Moving forward Status at the end of implementation cycle
Commitment 8: Establish a publicly available register of ultimate beneficial owners of companies registered in Norway Once Norway’s ultimate beneficial ownership register is in place, the IRM recommends ensuring the data is published in open format, using the Beneficial Ownership Data Standard. The IRM also recommends introducing mechanisms to verify the accuracy of the information presented on the register. Note: this will be assessed at the end of the action plan cycle.

Recommendations

IRM recommendations aim to inform the development of the next action plan and guide implementation of the current action plan. Please refer to Section V: General Recommendations for more details on each of the below recommendations.

Table 3. Five KEY IRM Recommendations

Provide additional opportunities for stakeholders to jointly discuss and define the scale and scope of draft commitments. Publish the reasoning behind how proposals and comments were considered.
Consider formalising the OGP Council meetings in order to oversee stakeholder engagement in the OGP process, including during co-creation.
Improve commitment design by including milestones with measurable outcomes and clear outputs.
Take initial steps towards establishing an open register on lobbying.
Continue expanding archiving obligations for the state-level public authorities and municipalities.

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Filed under: IRM IRM Report

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