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Sierra Leone Design Report 2019-2021

Sierra Leone’s third action plan continues commitments in access to justice, addressing gender-based violence, access to information, and records and archives management. The plan offers new commitments on tax, beneficial ownership transparency, and open parliament. The reorganization and reinvigoration of OGP leadership in Sierra Leone promises to improve implementation provided that momentum for the open government agenda continues.

Table 1. At a glance
Participating since: 2013
Action plan under review: Third
Report type: Design
Number of commitments: 8

Action plan development
Is there a multistakeholder forum: Yes
Level of public influence: Collaborate
Acted contrary to OGP process: No

Action plan design
Commitments relevant to OGP values: 7 (88%)
Transformative commitments: 0
Potentially starred commitments: 0

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. Sierra Leone joined the OGP in 2013. Since 2013, Sierra Leone has implemented two action plans. This report evaluates the design of Sierra Leone’s third action plan.

General overview of action plan

The third national action plan was developed under the newly-elected President Julius Maada Bio’s administration. The action plan seeks to implement long-sought open government aims, such as comprehensive implementation of the Right to Access Information Act and the National Anti-Corruption Strategy. The plan’s alignment with government policy priorities increases the likelihood of successful implementation. However, the government will need to remain flexible and dedicate adequate resources to ensure commitments are implemented in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sierra Leone failed to implement the majority of commitments from its second national action plan and did not submit an action plan in 2018. However, reinvigorated high-level support and reorganization of national OGP leadership resulted in a collaborative co-creation process for the third action plan. Regional meetings, public awareness campaigns, and cabinet involvement also contributed to a strong commitment design process.

Sierra Leone’s improved design process resulted in fewer, more targeted commitments than in past cycles. Commitments carried over on access to justice and gender-based violence are more verifiable than in the second action plan.

The third action plan covers a broad range of open government policy areas that have been continuously reflected in previous action plans, particularly in the areas of access to justice, access to information, records management, and anticorruption. Six of the eight commitments have a moderate potential impact, and the remaining two have a minor potential impact.

Table 2. Noteworthy commitments

Commitment description Moving forward Status at the end of implementation cycle
Beneficial ownership (4): Require and publish beneficial ownership information for all corporate entities. Expand disclosure requirements to cover information on the shareholding of politically-exposed persons. Require beneficial ownership transparency for companies, providing public procurement in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Note: this will be assessed at the end of the action plan cycle.
Access to information (5): Increase proactive disclosure of information, specifically focusing on improved access to information for women and girls and timely and accurate reporting on the SDGs. To maximize impact, include citizens in identifying data needs, particularly women and girls. Create space to discuss and address COVID-19 data needs. Design a dissemination plan for the reports on women’s access to information that includes simplified versions for wider public consumption. Note: this will be assessed at the end of the action plan cycle.
Gender (6): Pass the Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment Policy and produce gender disaggregated data by district. Involve women in designing the plan to publish and disseminate gender disaggregated data, particularly data related to COVID-19. Develop a strategic public information campaign to inform women about the policy, specifically educating women and girls on their rights. Note: this will be assessed at the end of the action plan cycle.
Open Parliament (7): Increase proactive publication of parliamentary documents. Create a platform to improve public participation in parliament. Target marginalized communities in outreach and opportunities for participation. Work with citizens, particularly women and disabled people, to identify priorities and means to ensure equal accessibility to parliamentary documents and the physical space. Collaborate with CSOs to create the platform for parliament-CSO engagement and publicly disclose all related materials. Ensure continued public participation in the legislative process during the pandemic and in any virtual parliamentary processes. 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

Formalize and publicize the OGP Steering Committee’s collaborative mandate
Establish an expanded OGP repository that includes reasoned responses in regard to commitment selection
Prioritize co-creation discussion around key national issues, such as citizen participation in the National Records and Archives Department
Create a standing consultative platform on Open Government for Women
Prioritize co-creation discussion around key national issues such as, a functioning anti-corruption tracking instrument, whistleblower protection and disclosure of anti-corruption measures

 

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