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Romania 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 Ioana S. (Hanna) Deleanu 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 Romania’s fourth 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

Romania’s fourth action plan focused a variety of policy areas that aimed to strengthen public participation and government transparency, extend social services, and promote open data. Out of the 18 commitments, eight were either substantially or fully completed. Overall, this was similar to the performance registered in implementing the previous action plan (2016-2018).[2] Implementation was stalled for commitments that included drafting normative acts (created to improve either the implementation of laws or to complement them) because they were stalled in Parliament (sometimes by more than two years) or received a negative vote.

Commitment 8 led to the large-scale dissemination of information on how Romanian citizens can request and receive consular services, and helped the users utilize them. In the context of lockdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the continued digitization of consular services under this commitment proved particularly important. Under Commitment 18, Romania built on previous successes in opening data by publishing 700 new datasets of public interest based on efforts to understand which datasets the public administration should (continue to) open and which are most relevant to the public. The commitment also created new functions on Romania’s open data portal for the public to rate the quality of each opened dataset and to request the opening of datasets.

However, several commitments identified as noteworthy in the IRM Design Report saw only limited completion, and thus did not achieve their intended results. These included improving the transparency in allocations and acquisitions from national investment funds (Commitment 10), the management of seized assets (Commitment 13), and the education system (Commitment 16). For Commitment 1, the General Secretariat of the Government (SGG) developed proposals that would have standardized public consultations across the public administration, but the government had not approved them by the end of the action plan period.

Romania has carried over several commitments and policy areas from the fourth action plan into the fifth plan (2020-2022).[3] For example, Commitment 2 in the fifth action plan will continue carrying out consultations with youth groups and create youth advisory councils, and Commitment 3 will continue the adoption of open government action plans at the local level. In addition, Commitment 6 carries forward the goal of improving transparency in allocations and acquisitions from national investment funds, and Commitment 12 aims to further expand open data publishing and improve the functionalities of Romania’s open data portal.

COVID-19 pandemic impact on implementation

According to the point of contact to OGP, COVID-19 did not significantly impact implementation of the fourth action plan. Instead, it aided the co-creation of the fifth action plan (2020-2022), as it was easier to form, organize, and attend working groups on new commitments.[4] According to the OGP repository, only Commitments 8, 11, and 12 were affected. However, Commitment 11 did not directly promote the OGP values as designed, and one milestone of Commitment 8 was negatively affected. Moreover, Commitments 11 and 12 were delayed due to issues with the EU co-funded project that supported them.

Romania has created a COVID-19 dashboard using open-source technologies, which includes a map of the spatial distribution of all officially confirmed COVID-19 cases and shows the evolution by days.[5] In addition, Romania’s fifth action plan includes a commitment to produce recommendations for health units based on an analysis of their handling of the pandemic and publish open data on COVID-19 infections, collected from the public health system.

[1] For more information, see: https://www.opengovpartnership.org/process/accountability/about-the-irm/irm-refresh/

[2] Open Government Partnership, Romania End-of-Term Report 2016-2018, https://www.opengovpartnership.org/documents/romania-end-of-term-report-2016-2018/

[3] Open Government Partnership, Romania National Action Plan 2020-2022, https://www.opengovpartnership.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Romania_Action-Plan_2020-2022_EN.pdf

[4] Interview with Larisa Panait, General Secretariat of the Government – Open Government Partnership point of contact (OGP contact), 3 December 2020.

[5] Romania’s COVID-19 dashboard, https://covid19.geo-spatial.org/?map=cazuri_active

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