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Bosnia and Herzegovina

Open Official Statistics (BA0004)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Bosnia and Herzegovina Action Plan 2019-2021

Action Plan Cycle: 2019

Status: Active

Institutions

Lead Institution: Agency for Statistics of Bosnia and Herzegovina

Support Institution(s): NA

Policy Areas

Access to Information, Capacity Building, E-Government, Education, Environment and Climate, Gender, Health, Labor, Marginalized Communities, Open Data, Public Participation, Public Service Delivery

IRM Review

IRM Report: Bosnia and Herzegovina Design Report 2019-2021

Starred: Pending IRM Review

Early Results: Pending IRM Review

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information , Civic Participation

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion: Pending IRM Review

Description

Which public issue will be addressed by this obligation?
Official statistics is a basic source of information about a country that provides to its social and economic structure, on an impartial basis, the numerical and representative data and information about the massive economic, demographic and social phenomena, as well as on developments in the field of labour and the environment.

The problem addressed by this obligation is the inadequate use of statistical data in decision-making processes, programming, policies, and inability to easily measure results by stakeholder organizations and citizens.
By increasing the availability and openness of a series of high quality and reliable data sets, we can expect progress in a large number of areas, as well as creating new products and services, development of innovations, increasing transparency and more.

What is the obligation?
Through the activities of the Agency for Statistics of BiH, we plan to increase the availability, openness and use of official statistical data in a way that all the data published by the Agency will be free, in a machine-readable form under the open license and constantly available at http://www.bhas.gov.ba consistent with the five-star implementation scheme. In addition to the above-mentioned activities and high-quality promotion that includes events and the development of educational materials, we want to boost the use of data and the development of innovative solutions.

How will the fulfilment of the obligation contribute to the solving of the public problem?
By opening data from different areas (gender, criminality, culture and art, education, social protection, population, labor market, national accounts, prices, foreign trade, construction, industry, investment, business statistics, tourism, agriculture, forestry, environment, energy, traffic, communications, etc.) we are encouraging the service improvement, economic growth, technological development and transparency.
In order to achieve this, it is necessary to improve the data infrastructure, overcoming the legal and organizational barriers and establish a sustainable and up-to-date open source information system on permanent web links. In order to make the most of the information we have available, we need active interaction with the users in order to understand their needs on one hand and to provide education to the users with the aim of making proper use of data and strengthening their skills.

Data opening improves their quality by influencing the methodology of collecting and computing through user reactions. Data users are business entities and their associations, state bodies and bodies of local self-government units, cultural, educational and scientific institutions as well as the wider public, and therefore it is important to have timely available, high quality, accurate, objective and independent quantitative information required for quality estimates and decisions.
Due to the broad spectrum of different users, for the purposes of education, it is necessary to produce various educational tools in the form of short animated films, brochures, presentations and infographics, with the aim of encouraging the development of innovative solutions, organizing competitions with symbolic prizes (eg. the most interesting application created on open data).

Why is this obligation relevant to OGP values?
Transparency
Obligation means publishing more information, improving the quality of published information, and improving public access to information.

Citizen Participation
The obligation implies improving the possibility and ability of the public to influence the decision-making process by increasing the availability of data that is the basis for the argumentation.

Responsibility
The obligation implies an improvement of the measurement mechanism and a kind of impact indicator that will increase the public officials' responsibility to the public.

Additional information
An additional budget for this obligation is not required. The statistics serve as a basis for calculating many SDG indicators.

Goals/activities
Establish user-friendly interactive web portal bhas.gov.ba
Creating data sets from different areas and publishing under Open License in accordance with the five-star implementation scheme
Creating educational tools, interaction with users, and promotional events

IRM Midterm Status Summary

4. Increase availability, openness and use of official statistical data

Main Objective

"Through the activities of the Agency for Statistics of BiH, we plan to increase the availability, openness and use of official statistical data in a way that all the data published by the Agency will be free, in a machine-readable form under the open license and constantly available at http://www.bhas.gov.ba consistent with the five-star implementation scheme. In addition to the above-mentioned activities and high-quality promotion that includes events and the development of educational materials, we want to boost the use of data and the development of innovative solutions."

"By opening data from different areas (gender, criminality, culture and art, education, social protection, population, labor market, national accounts, prices, foreign trade, construction, industry, investment, business statistics, tourism, agriculture, forestry, environment, energy, traffic, communications, etc.) we are encouraging the service improvement, economic growth, technological development and transparency.

In order to achieve this, it is necessary to improve the data infrastructure, overcoming the legal and organizational barriers and establish a sustainable and up-to-date open source information system on permanent web links. In order to make the most of the information we have available, we need active interaction with the users in order to understand their needs on one hand and to provide education to the users with the aim of making proper use of data and strengthening their skills.

Data opening improves their quality by influencing the methodology of collecting and computing through user reactions. Data users are business entities and their associations, state bodies and bodies of local self-government units, cultural, educational and scientific institutions as well as the wider public, and therefore it is important to have timely available, high quality, accurate, objective and independent quantitative information required for quality estimates and decisions.

Due to the broad spectrum of different users, for the purposes of education, it is necessary to produce various educational tools in the form of short animated films, brochures, presentations and infographics, with the aim of encouraging the development of innovative solutions, organizing competitions with symbolic prizes (eg. the most interesting application created on open data)."

Milestones

"4.1. Establish user-friendly interactive web portal bhas.gov.ba;

4.2. Creating data sets from different areas and publishing under Open License in accordance with the five-star implementation scheme;

4.3. Creating educational tools, interaction with users, and promotional events."

Editorial Note: For the complete text of this commitment, please see Bosnia and Herzegovina's action plan at https://www.opengovpartnership.org/documents/bosnia-and-herzegovina-action-plan-2019-2021/.

IRM Design Report Assessment

Verifiable:

Yes

Relevant:

Yes

Access to Information

Potential impact:

Minor

Commitment Analysis

Through implementation of the proposed commitment, the Agency for Statistics of BiH aims to foster the use of its statistics and data in the policy development and decision-making processes through provision of data in user-friendly formats, interactive tools, and educational and promotional activities. In particular, the agency plans to reformat its website to make it more interactive and to provide data under open access licenses.

This commitment has clear relevance to the OGP value of access to information because more datasets will be available in open formats. The action plan states that it is relevant to civic participation, but it has not been given this coding here, as it appears that users are invited as recipients of data but that there are no provisions for them to help shape the implementation of the commitment, such as consultations to establish which datasets to make a priority for publication.

The agency implemented part of its planned activities before the action plan was adopted. [33] It redesigned its website (milestone 4.1) and its statistical outputs in line with the EU standards in the geographical area of dissemination. It reorganized the manner in which the data are published by using more user-friendly formats for non-experts and experts, adding the time series datasets and custom creation of tables in most statistical categories and is providing methodological explanations in a clearer manner. In addition, a special website on the 2013 census has been made public with diverse interactive tools. [34] At the time of publishing the action plan, the website did not publish statistics on the number of people accessing the website, although this is included in the plans. [35]

The commitment is not clear about which datasets, or the criteria used to select thematic areas of datasets, are to be reformatted. According to the latest European Commission report on the BiH's progress, statistics in BiH "are only to some extent timely, relevant and reliable." [36] The report identified data relating to business, tourism, industry, construction, and services are not available or not collected. [37] In particular, the EU highlights that the use of administrative data is not sufficient. [38] These and other missing statistics alongside inadequate data collection methodologies hinder the use of statistics in policy development. On the other hand, the agency is negotiating with the Ministry of Security BiH to share and publish migration statistics. This data are quite important for various policy planning purposes and for meeting the EU standards and requirements. In general, the collection of administrative data requires large-scale communication and collaboration work with many public institutions, as these would need to develop appropriate data registers and methodologies.

The Agency of Statistics' main challenge relates to the lack of coordination among different levels of government so that it can unite, process, and disseminate the statistical data countrywide. [39] Entities do not always collect and disseminate data in line with EU standards and do not always provide the full set of statistical data as stipulated by the state Law on Statistics of BiH [40] and instead insist on collection and publication of certain data only on their own websites. Data at the local/municipal level are often not available.

In terms of formats, the statistical data on the old website were published in PDF format. On the new website, data will be available in Excel but also in PDF format in statistical periodicals and announcements. In addition to being able to download data in machine-readable format (Excel), users will be able to custom generate time-series and data tables directly on the website. [41] Finally, data on the new website will be organized and linked to meet the Five-Star Linked Open Data Ranking. [42] The agency plans to define and implement accessibility rules similar to the UK's Open Government License [43] for Public Sector Information. [44]

The milestone to create educational tools and promotional events to interact with users of data continues work the agency is already doing. Through implementation of this commitment, the agency aims to expand its audience, and it participates in diverse conferences and workshops organized by other institutions and has presented on its work and products. [45] In addition, the agency has started to publish visuals and infographics on its Facebook website to draw public attention to different datasets. At the time of the writing of the report (date accessed 08 July 2020), the agency had 942 followers and 923 likes of its page. [46] The agency has redeveloped its approach to communication with media by planning to organize relevant thematic press conferences rather than presenting its monthly statistical updates. For example. in February 2020, the agency presented a specialized thematic statistical report on gender in diverse sectors. [47]

The commitment is expected to have minor impact because datasets will be made open in new user-friendly formats, and there will be efforts to reach out to data users. The commitment could lead to greater public awareness about reliable statistics and open data. Civil society also finds that opening of public registers and various administrative data is crucial to fostering social accountability and transparency. [48] The commitment does not have greater impact because it is unclear what datasets will be given priority for publishing, and there are no targets for growth in reuse of the data or information given on how the quality of the data will be achieved or maintained.

To have greater impact, institutions could address improving the relationship among different statistical agencies in BiH or targeting major datasets that are of public interest and that could have significant impact and publish them under and Open License in public registers. Substantial involvement of citizens and targeted stakeholders through some form of online or in-person consultations could make the commitment relevant to the civic participation and improve the relevance of datasets to users.

[34] Interview with Alen Mrgud, Agency for Statistics BiH (30 April 2020).
[35] Interview with Alen Mrgud, Agency for Statistics BiH (10 July 2020).
[36] European Commission. Commission Staff Working Document: Analytical Report Accompanying the document. Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council Commission Opinion on Bosnia and Herzegovina's application for membership of the European Union {COM(2019) 261 final}, 29 May 2019, https://ec.europa.eu/neighbourhood-enlargement/sites/near/files/20190529-bosnia-and-herzegovina-analytical-report.pdf
[37] Ibid.
[38] Ibid.
[39] The Agency is authorized to conduct fieldwork in Brcko District.
[40] European Commission. Commission Staff Working Document: Analytical Report Accompanying the document. Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council Commission Opinion on Bosnia and Herzegovina's application for membership of the European Union {COM(2019) 261 final}, 29 May 2019, https://ec.europa.eu/neighbourhood-enlargement/sites/near/files/20190529-bosnia-and-herzegovina-analytical-report.pdf
[41] Ibid.
[44] Interview with Alen Mrgud, Agency for Statistics BiH (10 July 2020).
[45] Interview with Alen Mrgud, Agency for Statistics BiH (30 April 2020). See: "Free access to information day," News, Agency of Statistics of BiH, 28 September 2018, http://bhas.gov.ba/News/Read/9; Workshop on proactive transparency in public administration, News, Agency of Statistics of BiH, 22 February 2019, http://bhas.gov.ba/News/Read/16; Conference - Digitization of BiH society, News, Agency of Statistics of BiH, 21 March 2019, http://bhas.gov.ba/News/Read/17; Workshop on proactive transparency for FBiH, RS and BDBiH institutions, News, Agency of Statistics of BiH, 30 October 2019, http://bhas.gov.ba/News/Read/25; Conference on Open Government in Bosnia and Herzegovina, News, Agency of Statistics of BiH, 12 February 2020, http://bhas.gov.ba/News/Read/32.
[47] "Women and men in 2019," Agency for Statistics BiH, 07 February 2020, http://bhas.gov.ba/News/Read/30
[48] Interview with Darko Brkan, Association "Why not," 15 May 2020.; Interview with Zoran Ivancic, Foundation "Centre for Advocacy of Citizens' Interests" (CPI), 13 May 2020.; Interview with Leila Bicakcic, Center for Investigative Journalism (CIN), 08 July 2020.

Open Government Partnership