Sierra Leone Transitional Results Report 2019-2021
- Action Plan: Sierra Leone Action Plan 2019-2021
- Dates Under Review: 2019-2021
- Report Publication Year: 2022
The Open Government PartnershipThe 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 planAction 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 Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM)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 Maria Emilia Mamberti 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 Sierra Leone’s third action plan for 2019-2021. 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. 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 “VerifiabilityOGP 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...,” “RelevanceAccording 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
Sierra Leone showed moderate progress in the implementation of its third action plan during the period between August 2019 and August 2021. Four commitments were substantially implemented (commitments 5, 6, 7, and 8) and resulted in positive changes in open government. However, three commitments only achieved limited implementation (commitments 1, 2, and 4), and there is no available evidence regarding the implementation of CommitmentOGP 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... 3 on taxPlacing transparency, accountability, and participation at the center of tax policy can ensure that burdens are distributed equitably across society. Technical specifications: Commitments related to c... benefits. This represents marginal progress as compared with the implementation of Sierra Leone’s previous action plan, for which the country showed substantial or full implementation of only two of its ten commitments, while the rest were limited or had not been started.
This report focuses its analysis on the open government early resultsEarly results refer to concrete changes in government practice related to transparency, citizen participation, and/or public accountability as a result of a commitment’s implementation. OGP’s Inde... for three commitments (commitments 5, 6 and 7), all of which the IRM reported to be noteworthy due to the ambitionAccording to OGP’s Articles of Governance, OGP commitments should “stretch government practice beyond its current baseline with respect to key areas of open government.” Ambition captures the po... of its activities and were substantially completed during the two-year action plan implementation cycle. However, within this same implementation timeframe, the commitments only achieved marginal results in terms of opening the government.
According to the research conducted for this report, factors that contributed to positive progress in implementation of some commitments include sustained political support throughout the action plan timeframe and close engagement with civil society organizations working on a given policy area. Factors that hindered implementation include staff turnover in government, the wide variety of milestones included under some commitments, lack of coordination among different areas of governments, low participation of high-ranking authorities in relevant spaces, lack of budgetary allocations and de-prioritization of commitments, and the absence of analysis of the feasibility (e.g., the financial viability) of commitments and on how different milestones interact with each other.
Challenges to implementation have been particularly noticeable regarding Commitment 4 on beneficial ownership transparencyDisclosing beneficial owners — those who ultimately control or profit from a business — is essential for combating corruption, stemming illicit financial flows, and fighting tax evasion. Technical..., which was initially coded as noteworthy but around which only very limited progress was made. As a starting point, the government reduced the scope of the commitment to only include extractive sector companies rather than all companies, to which it had already committed under another framework (the “EITI Initiative”), arguing lack of logistical and financial capacity. The government also considered that the commitment had design flaws, stating that there were problems with the logic of some of the commitment’s milestones and understanding that without an amendment in legislationCreating and passing legislation is one of the most effective ways of ensuring open government reforms have long-lasting effects on government practices. Technical specifications: Act of creating or r... (which it had not managed to achieve at the time of writing this report), other milestones could not be pursued.
Where implementing agencies managed to overcome the described challenges, completionImplementers 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... of commitment milestones led to important changes in open government practice. Overall, the IRM found that commitments that yielded better results:
- Almost always relied on close collaboration and cooperation with civil society organizations and other stakeholders, and in some cases showed successful coordination among different areas of government. This was the case for Commitment 6 on genderOGP participating governments are bringing gender perspectives to popular policy areas, ensuring diversity in participatory processes, and specifically targeting gender gaps in policies to address gov..., for which members of parliament helped support discussions around a bill developed by the executive under its OGP commitments.
- Already counted with preexisting interest and mobilization (as well as funding and political support) around the issues addressed by a commitment or milestone (for instance, around the sustainable development goalsOGP countries are experimenting with open government innovations to accelerate progress on the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly SDG 16+ which includes peaceful, just and inclusive societies...).
- Were designed with concrete and feasible milestones that could be achieved within the two-year implementation cycle. These milestones tend to clearly lay out the outputs and outcomes expected and frame them within a broader strategy.
As a result of positive advancements, consultation and validation meetings with stakeholders have been consolidated as a good practice and routine procedure, providing relevant channels for citizens’ feedback and participation. More information on government has been created, although not always made fully accessible to the public. OGP actions have helped to create awareness on the substantive issues in the action plan.
Finally, it is worth noticing that there was insufficient public information on implementation of Sierra Leone’s action plan and its results. Although the country has a website dedicated to the OGP process, there is no evidence on the repository to account for the implementation of any commitment. Therefore, the IRM found that the country acted contrary to process (see Section 3.2 for more information). The country did not publish a self-assessment report.
COVID-19 Pandemic Impact on Implementation
The COVID-19 pandemic affected roughly two-thirds of the implementation time of Sierra Leone’s third national action plan. Due to the pandemic, the work of OGP’s multi-stakeholder forumRegular 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... had to be paused for some months, then moved to a virtual format. While valuable, remote participation has proven challenging due to lack of digital culture and internet access in many parts of the country, including within the government. The fact that Sierra Leone does not publish information on commitments’ implementation on an online repositoryAccess 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 ... makes virtual work even harder.
Furthermore, COVID-19’s impact on the economy negatively affected implementation of some commitments, especially those that entailed creating new entities with significant financial costs, such as Commitment 1. Sierra Leone’s fiscal deficit almost doubled in 2020, because of concurring revenue shortfalls (stemming from restrictions that impacted agriculture, mining, and services) and spending increases to support the pandemic response. However, COVID-19 also brought opportunities to apply OGP values. For instance, the National COVID-19 Emergency Operations Center partnered with data science organizations to produce population and infrastructure data to enhance the government’s response to the pandemic. Moreover, an International Budget Partnership survey found that the government offered some transparency around COVID-19 emergency funding.
 For more information, see https://www.opengovpartnership.org/process/accountability/about-the-irm/irm-refresh/
 See https://www.nacced.gov.sl/ogp-repository/, accessed February 17, 2022.
 See World Bank, “Sierra Leone’s Economy is Recovering from COVID-19 Contraction Although Uncertainties Persist,“ https://www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2021/08/05/sierra-leone-s-economy-is-recovering-from-covid-19-contraction-although-uncertainties-persists.
 For a general reference, see https://www.data4sdgs.org/news/press-release-sierra-leone-fights-covid-19-using-innovative-geospatial-data-and-technology.
 2021 COVID Module Country Dataset. “Sierra Leone.” https://internationalbudget.org/covid/.
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