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South Korea End-of-Term Report 2016–2018

The Korean government has continued to show its strong determination and dedication in carrying out the third national action plan’s (NAP3’s) 13 commitments, of which 10 commitments have been assessed as complete, and three commitments as substantially completed. Many of the commitments that were assessed as complete focused in areas of open data, e-government, anti-corruption, and citizen participatory projects. Future action plans would benefit from clearer formulation of the commitments and their intended results.

Table 1: At a Glance
Mid-term End of term
Number of Commitments 13 (14)
Level of Completion
Completed 6 10
Substantial 7 3
Limited 0 0
Not Started 0 0
Number of Commitments with…
Clear Relevance to OGP Values 11 11
Transformative Potential Impact 0 0
Substantial or Complete Implementation 13 13
All Three (✪) 0 0
Did It Open Government?
Major 2
Outstanding 0
Moving Forward
Number of Commitments Carried Over to Next Action Plan 2

The Open Government Partnership (OGP) is a voluntary international initiative that aims to secure commitments from governments to their citizenry to promote transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption, and harness new technologies to strengthen governance. The Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM) carries out a review of the activities of each OGP-participating country. This report summarizes the results of the period October 2016 to June 2018 and includes some relevant developments up to October 2018.

The Ministry of the Interior and Safety (MoIS) is the leading office responsible for coordinating South Korea’s OGP commitments, after changing its name from Ministry of Interior (MoI) during the first year of implementation. In June 2017, Kim Boo-Kyum became the Minister of Interior and Safety,[1] and thus the new executive leader of OGP. Intragovernmental participation in OGP was limited to a handful of executive ministries and agencies as well as several independent commissions. In August 2017, after the development of the third action plan and during the first year of implementation, the government developed a new multistakeholder working group called the OGP Korea Forum. The forum consists of 11 civil society organizations (CSOs) and 11 government officials.[2]

The third action plan comprised commitments focused on improving access to information and open data. While the Forum Korea has diverse CSO representation, it was established 11 months after the implementation of the action plan and had little opportunity to influence the development. At the time of writing this report, an official version of the government self-assessment in Korean is currently available on the MoIS website for public comments. The government has noted that the self-assessment report in English had been released soon after the public comment period has ended.  

South Korea had presented the fourth national action plan as of 14 September 2018, consisting of 12 commitments. None of the commitments from the third action plan were carried over to the fourth, though two commitments with relevance to open data and civic participation had similarity to Commitments 2a and 3a from the third action plan, respectively. The government also leveraged the OGP platform to advance ongoing reforms initiated by the Moon administration’s 100 Policy Tasks, the five-year plan of the Administration of State Affairs,[3] which will be detailed in the NAP4 Design Report.

Consultation with Civil Society during Implementation

Countries participating in OGP follow a process for consultation during development and implementation of their action plan.

Government officials responsible for each commitment and members of the OGP Korea Forum participated in the consultation process during implementation, which took place at the National Intelligence Agency and was led by the Ministry of Safety and Interior (MoIS), in accordance to the rules and frequency stated by the OGP Participation & Co-creation Standards Manual. All agencies responsible for the commitment provided responses and comments in both verbal and written form, which was distributed to all members at the meeting. This meeting was announced to only OGP Korea Forum members. All OGP Korea Forum members (i.e., CODE, Korea nongovernmental organization (NGO) Council for Overseas Development Cooperation, Open Net, Solidarity for Justice, Transparency International Korea, and The Center for Freedom of Information and Transparent Society) consistently monitored progress on the implementation, and had the opportunity to raise concerns and questions in response to the mid-term self-assessment report provided by the government, in accordance to the frequency that is cited by the OGP Participation & Co-Creation Standards Manual.[4] The multistakeholder forum met at least once a quarter to discuss the implementation. Although no specific members were officially designated to monitor certain commitments, CSOs that worked in a related field to certain commitments or those with more relevant expertise had more input in monitoring. In the November meeting, all government officials provided comments in response to the concerns raised in written form. The two meetings were held on 19 October 2017 and 7 November 2017, which the IRM researcher also attended. In addition, the IRM researcher also attended the third meeting, known as the New Year’s Meeting, which was held on 5 January 2018. The self-assessment report[5] in the administrative language includes a review of consultation process during and after the action plan development, and the public comment period was open for two weeks, in accordance to OGP policy. In 2018, the government temporarily opened an Innovative Government People Forum[6] website, which is no longer active. On this website, citizens were able to access the OGP action plan, self-assessment reports, and the IRM report.

Table 2: Consultation during Implementation

Regular Multistakeholder Forum Midterm End-of-Term
1. Did a forum exist? Yes Yes
2. Did it meet regularly? Yes Yes

Table 3: Level of Public Influence during Implementation

The IRM has adapted the International Association for Public Participation (IAP2) “Spectrum of Participation” to apply to OGP.[7] This spectrum shows the potential level of public influence on the contents of the action plan. In the spirit of OGP, most countries should aspire for “collaborative.”

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] In April 2019, Chin Young succeeded Kim Boo-Kyum as Minister of the Interior and Safety.

[2] At the time of publication in November 2019, the OGP Korea Forum was rebranded as the Open Government Forum Korea that consists of 11 CSOs and seven government offices.

[3] Sohn JiAe, “President Moon unveils five-year policy agenda”, Korea.net, 19 July 2017, http://www.korea.net/NewsFocus/policies/view?articleId=148013.

[4] The researcher participated in all events and confirmed in consultation of phone exchange with the Korean Point of Contact (PoC), Yu Jin Lee, MoIS. The dates of the meetings were the following: 19 October 2017 (Briefing Meeting); November 23 2017 (Briefing Meeting); 5 January 2018 (New Years Meeting).

[5] “South Korea Mid-Term Self-Assessment Report 2016–2018”, Open Government Partnership, 17 November 2017, https://www.opengovpartnership.org/documents/south-korea-mid-term-self-assessment-report-2016-2018.

[6] “Home”, Innovative Government People Forum, http://www.innogov.go.kr.

[7] “IAP2’s Public Participation Spectrum”, International Association for Public Participation, 2014, http://www.iap2.org/resource/resmgr/foundations_course/IAP2_P2_Spectrum_FINAL.pdf.

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