Seychelles Transitional Results Report 2019-2021
- Action Plan: Seychelles Action Plan 2019-2021
- Dates Under Review: 2019-2021
- Report Publication Year: 2022
The The Open Government Partnership (OGP) is a multi-stakeholder initiative focused on improving government transparency, ensuring opportunities for citizen participation in public matters, and strengthen... More 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 plans are at the core of a government’s participation in OGP. They are the product of a co-creation process in which government and civil society jointly develop commitments to open governmen... commitments may build on existing efforts, identify new steps to complete ongoing reforms, or initiate an entirely new area. OGP’s The Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM) is OGP’s accountability arm and the main means of tracking progress in participating countries. The IRM provides independent, evidence-based, and objective ... 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 independent researchers Mark Odaga and Eva Okoth 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 Seychelles’ first action plan for 2019-2021. In 2021, the IRM implemented a new approach to its research process and the scope of its reporting on action plans, approved by the IRM Refresh. 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 “OGP commitments should be clear and specific enough to enable measurement of their progress. Verifiable commitments include specific activities that can be monitored. Following an action plan’s subm...,” “According to the OGP Articles of Governance, OGP commitments should include a clear open government lens. Specifically, they should advance at least one of the OGP values: transparency, citizen partic...” 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
In 2019, Seychelles took the notable step of submitting its first ever action plan to OGP. The action plan included four commitments that aimed to open different areas of government (i) Strengthening Giving citizens opportunities to provide input into government decision-making leads to more effective governance, improved public service delivery, and more equitable outcomes. Technical specificatio... in the budget process; (ii) Implementation of the Access to Information Act; (iii) Implementation of the Fisheries According to OGP’s Articles of Governance, transparency occurs when “government-held information (including on activities and decisions) is open, comprehensive, timely, freely available to the pub... More Initiative (FiTI); and (iv) Creation of an e-Engagement portal to increase citizen responsiveness.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic and 2020 presidential elections inhibited implementation of the action plan. Seychelles’ October 2020 election led to the first change in government since 1977. This political transition led to a reshuffle of high-level officials and change in budget priorities. The pandemic added additional budget constraints and limited in-person activities. The change in government and the pandemic were the main barriers to implementation of commitments 1, 2, and 4. As a result, OGP commitments are promises for reform co-created by governments and civil society and submitted as part of an action plan. Commitments typically include a description of the problem, concrete action... 4 was not started, commitment 2 saw limited Implementers must follow through on their commitments for them to achieve impact. For each commitment, OGP’s Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM) evaluates the degree to which the activities outlin..., and commitment 3 saw substantial implementation. Only commitment 1 was completed.
Commitment 3 is noteworthy as it strengthened government transparency in the fisheries sector through the production and publication of FiTI reports. The FiTI report process and its final recommendations prompted the Seychelles’ Fishing Authority to increase the amount of fisheries information publicly available. Publication of data – such as vessel numbers, license fees, and payments by vessel type – has helped to inform public debate and parliamentary discussion on fair and sustainable fisheries practices.
Seychelles’ lack of an online Access to relevant information is essential for enabling participation and ensuring accountability throughout the OGP process. An OGP repository is an online centralized website, webpage, platform or ... with information on the co-creation and implementation of OGP action plans means that the country is currently acting contrary to OGP process.
The Seychelles is currently in the process of strengthening its national OGP processes and structures. The IRM encourages continued efforts to engage civil society and formalize national OGP processes to ensure sustainable and inclusive open government efforts. In particular, the IRM recommends:
- Create a publicly accessible OGP website and repository, such as a webpage or Google Drive, with information on the Regular dialogue between government and civil society is a core element of OGP participation. It builds trust, promotes joint problem-solving, and empowers civil society to influence the design, imple..., the latest action plan, and evidence of the design and implementation of OGP commitments.
- Communicate a clear value proposition that demonstrates to civil society how participation in OGP processes can advance their policy goals. Explore how civil society’s policy priorities, such as climate policy, can be advanced through OGP participating governments are working to create governments that truly serve all people. This includes many historically oppressed groups such as persons with disabilities, women, lesbian, gay, bi... in the next action plan.
- Formalize the multi-stakeholder forum (MSF) and seek equal representation of civil society and government to oversee the development and implementation of OGP action plans.
- Collaboratively develop the MSF’s mandate with civil society members and publish the mandate, proceedings, and membership on the repository.
COVID-19 pandemic impact on implementation
Just as has been the case globally, the COVID-19 pandemic altered the Government of Seychelles’ plans in early 2020. Seychelles saw few COVID cases in the spring of 2020 in part due to a swift government response. However, 70 new cases were reported in the month of June 2020, and since then more positive cases have continued to be detected in an upward trend. The onset of COVID-19 led the government to declare a public health emergency and channel greater attention to curbing the disease. As elsewhere, Seychelles locked down schools and workplaces, and closed its international borders. Tourism, which accounts for approximately 24 percent of the country’s gross domestic product, declined by 61 percent. The Finance Minister, Hasaan Noodir, reported that the effect was a reduction in tax revenue from $566 million to $519 million in the 2021 budget.
Noting the adverse impact of COVID-19, the government reorganized its priorities to protect its most vulnerable citizens. The government made an extra provision of RS 30 million for welfare assistance and RS 10 million for the unemployment relief scheme in its annual budget. Resultantly, little to no provision was made for funding the activities stipulated under the four commitments.
Movement and health restrictions also hindered the implementation of activities that required in-person meetings. As an example, both government and civil society cited COVID-19 restrictions as a barrier to the effective implementation of commitments 1, 2, and 3. In the case of commitment 4, the limited budgetary allocation appeared to be a key impact of the effects of COVID-19. CSOs envisioned to participate in implementation of the commitments, such as the Citizen Engagement Platform Seychelles (CEPS), focused their efforts on assisting the government as volunteer workers to directly fight the virus. CEPS is a platform representing most CSOs in the Seychelles, which receives government funding. CEPS was the main CSO engaged in OGP processes in the Seychelles under the first action plan.
Furthermore, in the wake of the pandemic, the government presented a revised budget themed “New Priorities in A New Reality”, which was substantially different from the original one, whose theme was “Equitable Results-Shared Prosperity.” The new budget’s spending priorities included healthcare, food security, social protection, infrastructure, and improved security. Therefore, the government and CSOs shifted attention and resources away from the reforms envisioned in the 2019 action plan toward addressing the immediate effects of the health crisis.
 For more information, see: https://www.opengovpartnership.org/process/accountability/about-the-irm/irm-refresh/
 Republic of Seychelles, Ministry of Health, Seychelles records first cases of COVID-19, https://www.health.gov.sc/index.php/2020/03/16/seychelles-records-first-cases-of-covid-19/
 Voluntary National Review 2020, Republic of Seychelles. http://www.finance.gov.sc/uploads/files/Voluntary%20National%20Review%202020%20-Seychelles.pdf p. 109
 Reuters COVID-19 Tracker – Seychelles, https://graphics.reuters.com/world-coronavirus-tracker-and-maps/countries-and-territories/seychelles/
 Reuters, Seychelles tourism revenues down 61% in 2020 due to COVID, finance minister says, https://www.reuters.com/article/seychelles-economy-idUSL8N2KM4G7
 Voluntary National Review 2020, Republic of Seychelles, p. 110
 Voluntary National Review 2020, Republic of Seychelles, p. 112
 Voluntary National Review 2020, Republic of Seychelles, p. 112
 Voluntary National Review 2020, Republic of Seychelles, p. 113