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Tunisia Action Plan Review 2021-2023

This product consists of an IRM review of Tunisia’s 2021-2023 action plan. The action plan is made up of 13 of commitments. This review emphasizes its analysis on the strength of the action plan to contribute to implementation and results. For the commitment-by-commitment data see Annex 1. For details regarding the methodology and indicators used by the IRM for this Action Plan Review, see section IV. Methodology and IRM Indicators.

Section I: Overview of the 2021-2023 Action Plan

Most commitments in Tunisia’s fourth action plan are incremental steps of modest ambition that aim to consolidate long-term open government reforms. Tunisia continues to prioritize government transparency, while public accountability remains an area of opportunity. Opening up Tunisia’s audit system is one such opportunity that may yield ambitious results. However, political instability and incapacitated democratic institutions will require strategic reconsideration on how to achieve open government objectives.


Participating since: 2014

Action Plan under review: Fourth

IRM product: Action Plan Review

Number of commitments: 13

Overview of commitments:

  • Commitments with an open gov lens: 12 (92%)
  • Commitments with substantial potential for results: 1 (8%)
  • Promising commitments: 4

Policy areas carried over from previous action plans:

  • Access to information
  • Open data
  • Budget transparency
  • Audit transparency
  • Extractive transparency
  • Local-level open government
  • Online civic participation
  • Youth participation

Emerging in this action plan:

  • Asset transparency
  • Open government strategy

Compliance with OGP minimum requirements for co-creation:

  • Acted according to OGP process: Yes

Tunisia benefits from an engaged OGP team in government, as well as an active civil society and international partners. As a result, Tunisia has worked towards broader open government reforms through successive action plans. For the fourth action plan, Tunisia undertook a co-creation process with online public consultations to gather proposed themes and then draft the action plan. Coordinators also held webinars and regional consultations and reached out to relevant ministries.

The action plan contains achievable commitments that reflect government and civil society priorities. Key areas include fiscal and resource transparency, public participation, open government at the local level, and digitizing public services. Two new areas include transparency of public officials’ assets and developing a national open government strategy. The temporary suspension of the main national anti-corruption body’s activities (INLUCC) may complicate the implementation of Commitment 3 (public sector asset transparency). However, commitment 8 (develop a national open government strategy) promises to identify indicators, set priorities, and align national open government efforts.

Most commitments in this action plan represent an incremental step in pursuit of ambitious reforms started under previous plans. Therefore, most commitments are evaluated as having modest ambitions. The IRM acknowledges that reinforcing ongoing open government reforms is valuable for sustainability beyond the implementation period. To raise the level of ambition in future action plans, the IRM recommends that stakeholders strategically design commitments to address obstacles that previously inhibited implementation. The IRM also recommends identifying windows of opportunity for commitments to change the “rules of the game,” thereby institutionalizing open government practices.

Additionally, most commitments in this action plan focus on government transparency. Citizen access to information is vital, but should be viewed as a step towards more ambitious reforms that increase opportunities for civic participation and public accountability. Creating channels for citizens to better hold their government accountable remains an area for opportunity for open government reform in Tunisia. On a positive note, this action plan includes various activities to strengthen opportunities for citizens to participate in policymaking as recommended in the 2018-2020 IRM Design Report.[1]

Open government reformers often face difficulties implementing commitments when faced with Tunisia’s political and economic instability. Moreover, the political events in the summer of 2021 – such as the dissolution of the parliament,[2] replacement of the Prime Minister,[3] and closure of the central anti-corruption body[4] – will likely present implementation challenges and require a reevaluation of how to pursue the open government policy objectives identified in the plan. The absence of a high-level OGP point of contact from the Government of Tunisia also presents a challenge to OGP processes in the country. The IRM analyzes four promising commitments (2, 8, 10, and 11), based not only on their potential for results, but also the possibility of implementation within the current political context. The following section provides further information on the selection and analysis of the promising commitments.

Section II: Promising Commitments in Tunisia’s 2021-2023 Action Plan

The following review looks at the four commitments that the IRM identified as having the potential to realize the most promising results within the current national context. This review will inform the IRM’s research approach to assess implementation in the Results Report. The IRM Results Report will build on the early identification of potential results from this review and contrast them with the outcomes at the end of the implementation period of the action plan. This review also provides an analysis of challenges, opportunities, and recommendations to help support the implementation process of this action plan.

IRM evaluation of the promising commitments considers their ambition as stated in the action plan, along with their potential to achieve results within the current political context. Around one-third of the commitments in this action plan represent important activities of modest ambition to continue existing open government reforms. Most of these commitments seek to further consolidate government transparency by strengthening access to information institutions (Commitment 1), simplifying budget information (Commitment 4), and continuing open data efforts (Commitments 5 and 6). Commitment 9 aims to increase civic participation through the e-participation website. These commitments are important to consolidate open government efforts. However, they are not evaluated as promising, as they do not represent significant changes in government practice. Commitment 13 lacks a clear open government lens as written in the action plan and is therefore evaluated to have an unclear potential for results.

Commitment 12 on increasing fiscal transparency at the local level is evaluated to be modest, as it would require voluntary participation by municipalities. Ms. Mouna Mathari of the Federation of Tunisian Municipalities adds that more foundational work is required to review policies around municipal fiscal and asset management and autonomy before pursuing fiscal transparency.[5] The government expects a sufficient number of municipalities to voluntarily participate in the reform to improve fiscal transparency across Tunisia.[6]

The Government of Tunisia intends to modify Commitment 4 to include milestones for publishing the executive budget audit report, as required by OGP eligibility criteria.[7] Tunisia is currently under procedural review due to its failure to publish the executive budget audit report in a timely manner for two consecutive years.[8] Tunisia’s status within OGP is dependent on timely publication of the audit report next year.

Implementation of Commitments 3 and 7 faces particular uncertainty under the current political context. Commitment 3 on public sector asset transparency contains ambitious milestones and addresses an important domestic issue. However, at the time of writing, the temporary suspension of Tunisia’s main anti-corruption institution (INLUCC) responsible for this commitment makes the path forward for implementation unclear. Should the Asset and Interest Declaration Unit within INLUCC resume operations, Commitment 3 could institutionalize important open government reforms. Moreover, the dissolution of parliament and reforming of the Cabinet of Ministers could impact milestones requiring decree laws and government decrees in both commitments. As a result, neither commitment is evaluated as promising at this time. Tunisia’s OGP multi-stakeholder forum will need to consider what activities are possible and what changes need to be made to work towards open government objectives in the current context.

The IRM evaluated four commitments of modest or substantial ambition that are least impacted by the current political context as promising (Commitments 2, 8, 10, and 11). Three of these commitments promise to create new opportunities for civic participation in government decision-making. These include Commitment 2 on public audits, Commitment 8 on a national open government strategy, and Commitment 10 on municipal level youth action plans. Commitment 11 promises to increase citizens’ access to open data and information on municipal action plans and projects. Commitment 2 is evaluated to have a substantial potential to increase transparency and participation in audit reports and recommendations. The remaining three promising commitments are evaluated to have a modest potential for results; although important, they are merely an incremental expansion of ongoing open government reforms.

A common characteristic of the promising commitments is strong support from domestic and international partners and implementing agencies. Three of the promising commitments (8, 10, 11) are supported by technical and financial resources from OECD and GIZ. The E-Government Unit, which is at the center of open government work in Tunisia, is overseeing the implementation of two promising commitments (8 and 11). Three of the commitments (2, 10 and 11) are supported by engaged civil society organizations: the Tunisian Association for Public Auditors, ONSHOR, and the National Federation for Tunisian Municipalities among them. Table 1 below summarizes the commitments evaluated to be promising.

Table 1. Promising commitments

Promising Commitments
Commitment 2: Enhancing transparency and accountability regarding audit reports: Increased civilian access and monitoring of public audit reports and recommendations promises to strengthen citizens’ ability to hold their government accountable overspending.
Commitment 8: Defining the Open Government strategic priorities in Tunisia: Collaborative development of a national open government strategy promises to identify indicators, set priorities, and align efforts for long-term open government reforms.
Commitment 10: Enhancing the role of youth in designing and monitoring public projects at the local level: The development of youth action plans in 12 municipalities promises to continue to expand opportunities for youth participation in local government.
Commitment 11: Entrenching OGP principles at the local level: Opening up municipal level data and developing communication plans promises to increase citizens’ access to information in the 8 municipalities implementing open government action plans.

[1] “Tunisia 2018-2020 IRM Design Report.” Open Government Partnership. 2021.

[2] “EU urges Tunisia’s president to reopen parliament.” Reuters. 20 October 2021.

[3] “Tunisia’s president names new government, 11 weeks after power grab.” France24. 11 October 2021.

[4] “Tunisia: Authorities close Anti-Corruption Authority headquarters after evicting employees.” Middle East Monitor. 21 August 2021.

[5] Mounia Mathari, Director of the Department of Communication, Member Relations and FNCT Advocacy, National Federation of Tunisian Municipalities. Interview with IRM Researcher. 30 September 2021.

[6] Information submitted by the Government of Tunisia to the Independent Reporting Mechanism during the report’s pre-publication comment period. December 2021.

[7] “OGP Eligibility Criteria.” Open Government Partnership. 7 June 2021.

[8] “Notice of Under Review: Tunisia.” Open Government Partnership. 12 July 2021.


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