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Paraguay End-of-Term Report 2016-2018

Implementation of the third action plan focused on further understanding the law on access to public information, mechanisms for citizen complaints (like the platform to report corruption), and citizen participation for poverty alleviation. Moving forward, Paraguay should focus on creating accountability commitments, as well as strengthen citizen participation mechanisms, and open government at regional and local levels.

Table 1: At a Glance
  Mid-Term End of Term
Number of commitments       10
Level of completion:
Complete 0 0
Substantial 3 6
Limited 7 4
Not started 0 0
Commitments that have:
Clear relevance to OGP values 10
Transformative potential impact 2
Substantial or complete implementation 3 6
All three () 2 2
Did it open government?
Major 2
Outstanding 0
Moving forward
Number of commitments carried over to the next action plan 4

Open Government Partnership (OGP) is a voluntary initiative that aims to secure concrete commitments from governments to promote transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption, and harness new technologies to strengthen governance. The Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM) conducts yearly assessments of each OGP member’s activities. This report assessed Paraguay’s results between June of 2016 and June of 2018.

The Open Government Directorate of Paraguay’s Technical Planning Secretariat was the agency in charge of the OGP process and commitments in Paraguay. This agency leads the open government agenda of the Executive Branch. The Government created the Joint Committee to follow up on the action plan commitments, with representatives from public agencies and civil society organizations.

Implementation of the Republic of Paraguay’s open government third action plan helped strengthen an understanding of the law on access to public information, as well as mechanisms for citizen participation via the corruption claim portal.

Additional highlights of the third action plan include openness of the health system and medication supply, and the advancement of the Development Councils as spaces for dialogue and coordination between the Government and civil society.

The Government published its final self-assessment report in September of 2018, opening it up to public comments from September 10 to September 24, 2018.

Paraguay’s fourth open government action plan (2018-2020) includes four commitments that provide continuity to the activities presented in this plan, including the creation of a national open data policy, the implementation of the accountability manual, strengthening the Development Councils as mechanisms for citizen participation, and providing access to environmental data.

 

 

Consultation with civil society during implementation

OGP member countries are expected to consult with civil society during the development and implementation of their action plans.

As part of the consultation process carried out during the implementation of the third action plan, the Government created two forums to facilitate civil society participation. First, the Open Government Joint Committee meetings, in which the public agencies and civil society organizations engaged in the plan participated. Second, meetings dedicated to monitoring and evaluation of commitment progress in which agencies and organizations in charge of each commitment participated. The IRM researcher, Maria Jose Garcia, attended various meetings of the Open Government Joint Committee as an observer.

The process faced both internal and external challenges. In late 2017, for instance, journalistic investigations uncovered corruption allegations that implicated a Senator of the Republic[1]. This brought about disagreement among the Joint Committee members with regards to the positioning that the open government community would take. This situation affected the operations of the Joint Committee, especially the participation of various civil society organizations in the country’s fourth action plan in July of 2018.[2]

In terms of the internal open government process, civil society stakeholders repeatedly requested a more integrated coordination and increased influence in the Joint Committee. A representative of a civil society organization that has participated in the Joint Committee since its inception indicated that the Committee requires increased institutionalization and that there is a need to agree on clear guidelines for its operation and further strengthen its achievements to date.

To this end, civil society organizations recommended the creation of an Executive Secretariat or collegiate body, which would be responsible for enabling communication and securing meaningful participation of civil society organizations.

 Table 2: Consultation process during implementation

Multi-stakeholder forum Midterm End of term
1. Was there a forum? Yes Yes
2. Did it meet regularly? Yes Yes

Table 3: Level of public influence

The IRM adapted the International Association for Public Participation (IAP2) “Spectrum of Participation” to apply to OGP. The table below shows the public influence in the action plan. The stages shown in the table are cumulative, from bottom to top. In the spirit of OGP, most countries should aspire for “collaborate”.

Level of Public Influence During Implementation of Action Plan Midterm End of Term
Empower The Government handed decision-making power to members of the public.    
Collaborate There was iterative dialogue AND the public helped set the agenda.    
Involve The Government gave feedback on how public inputs were considered.  
Consult The public could give inputs.  
Inform The Government provided the public with information on the action plan.    
No consultation No consultation    

 

[1] Resulting from a journalistic investigation, allegations of corruption against Senator Oscar Gonzalez Daher emerged. The Senator resigned in August 2018. He is currently facing two judiciary processes and is confined by the police. More information can be found at: https://www.ultimahora.com/en-el-ojo-la-tormenta-quien-es-oscar-gonzalez-daher-n1124168.html; http://www.abc.com.py/nacionales/ogd-se-formaliza-la-renuncia-1735677.html; http://www.abc.com.py/nacionales/cao-audios-preliminar-en-febrero-2019-1772668.html;  y http://www.abc.com.py/edicion-impresa/politica/ogd-con-chicanas-traba-avance-de-sus-procesos-1779312.html.

[2] The following civil society organizations did not participate in the design of the fourth action plan: Asociación Trinidad: Ciudadanía + Cultura + Desarrollo; FEDEM; Fundación Libre; Asociación Tesai Reká Paraguay; Instituto de Derecho y Economía Ambiental; y Semillas para la Democracia.  

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