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Brazil

Development of the Monitoring System for the Social Movements Demands (BR0035)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Brazil Second Action Plan

Action Plan Cycle: 2013

Status: Inactive

Institutions

Lead Institution: General Secretariat of the Presidency of the Republic

Support Institution(s): NA

Policy Areas

Capacity Building, Public Participation

IRM Review

IRM Report: Brazil End-of-Term Report 2013-2016, Brazil Progress Report 2013-2014

Starred: No

Early Results: Marginal

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information , Civic Participation , Public Accountability

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

to develop a system out of the set of information available at the interministerial instance named “Monitoring Table” with the aim of establishing a strategy for monitoring and assessing government actions in response to the demands of social movements directed to the Federal Government through the General Secretariat of the Presidency, thus providing for the improvement of working processes, the exchange of information and the intragovernmental articulation for the effective resolution of agendas and demands from the civil society.

IRM End of Term Status Summary

Commitment 1.11 Development of the Monitoring System for the Social Movements Demands

Commitment Text: To develop a system out of the set of information available at the interministerial instance named “Monitoring Table” with the aim of establishing a strategy for monitoring and assessing government actions in response to the demands of social movements directed to the Federal Government through the General Secretariat of the Presidency, thus providing for the improvement of working processes, the exchange of information and the intragovernmental articulation for the effective resolution of agendas and demands from the civil society.

Responsible institution: General Secretariat of the Presidency of the Republic

Supporting institution: None

Start date: Not specified                          End date: 14 July 2014

Commitment aim

This commitment was designed to establish a strategy for monitoring and assessing government actions in response to the demands of social movements. Specifically, it sought to help government manage social movements’ demands, link those demands to public commitments made by the president, and mediate contacts between ministries and civil society to maximise implementation.

Status

Midterm: Completed

During the period of the action plan, the government published a law (Decree 8.243/2014, Art. 19) institutionalising the “Monitoring Table of Social Demands,” and regulated its internal procedures (SG/PR nº 39, 17/12/2014). The Monitoring Table is made up of the secretary generals of all ministries who meet quarterly to develop and monitor government responses to civil society demands. It also publishes reports with official responses to citizen demands on the participatory portal, Participa.br.

Did it open government?

Access to information: Marginal

Civic participation: Marginal

Public accountability: Marginal

The commitment resulted in the formal creation of a strategic monitoring system of civic demands, which contributed to open government. While still new, the system has already been used to respond to many public demands. Between 2011 and 2014, for example, the government received 2,433 demands from urban and rural citizens’ movements. It categorised and synthesised them  before publishing its responses in a series of public reports.[Note 32: Secretaria-General, “Participação Social no Brasil: Entre Conquistas e Desafios,” 15 December 2014,  http://bit.ly/2g2GrVW.] So far, the government has published six reports that mention policies that were prioritised and implemented as a result of citizen demands.[Note 33: Biblioteca Digital de Participação Social, http://biblioteca.participa.br/jspui/handle/11451/326.]  

Civil society has differing views on the commitment. The Platform for Political Reform considers the Tables to be “an institutional channel for introducing and discussing social demands in a country with significant social inequality.” Likewise, the Apologetic Christian Research Centre argues that the Table is a step forward because it highlights the agendas of social movements, instead of social organisations (which are often criticised for being funded by the state).

Nonetheless, during development of the action plan, civil society questioned the criteria used to select and prioritise demands. Similarly, during consultations on the decree that established the Monitoring Tables, citizens voiced concerns about the interference of the Tables in other ministerial areas, the criteria used to define organised civil society, and the methodology of the Tables. It should be noted further that, from the point of view of CSOs, there was a lack of transparency with which the government prioritised civil society proposals, which limited the improvements in open government.

Despite their limitations, the Monitoring Tables provide the public with periodic reports listing civil society demands and how government addressed them. It is not possible, however, to conclude that the more tangible results of the commitment (such as increasing public funds tenfold to support family agriculture, or expanding welfare housing programs) were achieved because of civil society requests, rather than existing policy plans. As a result, the commitment is a marginal improvement in open government.

Carried forward?

The commitment is not included in the next action plan. If carried forward in the future, the IRM researcher suggests explicitly defining and publicising the criteria used by the government to decide which petitions to act on; and adopting mechanisms for greater transparency on proposals as they are received, prioritised, and monitored.


Commitments

Open Government Partnership