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Cote d'Ivoire

Promote Access to Public Information Act (CI0011)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Côte d’Ivoire Action Plan 2016-2018

Action Plan Cycle: 2016

Status: Inactive

Institutions

Lead Institution: Ministry of Communication

Support Institution(s): -Ministry for Human Rights and Public Freedoms -Public Administration, public bodies and any other bodies discharging a public service mission -Commission for Access to Public Interest Information and Public Documents (CAIDP); Civil Society Organizations; Private sector's professional organizations

Policy Areas

Legislation & Regulation, Public Participation, Right to Information

IRM Review

IRM Report: Cote d’Ivoire Mid-Term IRM Report 2016-2018

Starred: No

Early Results: Pending IRM Review

Design i

Verifiable: No

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information Public Accountability

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

Current situation or problem/ issue to be addressed/having to be resolved: - Poor knowledge of the Act n° 2013-867 of December 23, 2013 concerning access to Public interest Information. -Poor knowledge of the Commission for Access to Public Interest Information and Public Documents (CAIDP); Main purpose: -Promote the Act n° 2013-867 of December 23, 2013 concerning access to Public interest Information -Inform citizens on the existence of the Commission for Access to Public Interest Information and Public Documents (CAIDP); Brief description of the commitment: - Popularize the Act concerning access to Public interest Information -Get public bodies to make public interest information available -Sensitize on the role of the Commission for Access to Public Interest Information and Public Documents (CAIDP) in access to information process; OGP challenges addressed by the commitment: Increase in public Integrity; Relevance: The right of individuals to access information and documents held by the Administration and the obligation of this administration to disclose them, are principles universally acknowledged deriving from a fundamental right: the right to information. Ambition: All citizens have access to public interest information and may refer to the Commission for Access to Public Interest Information and Public Documents (CAIDP) if difficulties arise;

IRM Midterm Status Summary

11. Promote Access to Public Information Act

Commitment Text:

Promote Access to Public information Act n° 2013-867 of December 23, 2013

- Brief description of the commitment

- Popularize the Act concerning access to public interest information;

- Get public bodies to make public interest information available;

- inform citizens on the existence of the Commission for Access to Public Interest Information and Public Documents (CAIDP).

Quantifiable and verifiable stages for implementing his commitment.

11.1. Sensitization on the Act (several ownership seminars on the Act have already been held and others are planned to make the Act known)

Editorial Note: Milestone 11.2 was added to the commitment by the IRM researcher to reflect the brief description and the goals as specified in the national action plan. The milestone aims to increase awareness of the role of the Commission for Access to Information of Public Interest and to Public Documents in the access to information procedure.

Responsible institution: Ministry for Communication Supporting institution: Ministry for Communication Start date: December 2015

End date: Continuing

Context and Objectives

This commitment seeks to promote Law No. 2013-867, passed on 23 December 2013, regarding access to public-interest information. It also aims to inform citizens of the existence of the Commission for Access to Information of Public Interest and Public Documents (CAIDP). This commitment reflects the OGP values regarding access to information and public accountability.

According to the director to the deputy head of staff at the Ministry of Communication, Digital Economy, and Post, this commitment is essentially supported by CAIDP.1 As indicated on the CAIDP website, the right to information has a legal basis in various national and international laws.2

A regulatory body, the CAIDP aims to ensure that public bodies respect citizens’ right to access, without discrimination, documents and information of public interest. It is also appraised of litigation regarding access to information of public interest and can intervene in these matters. Finally, as a consultative body, the CAIDP can be approached by anyone with questions regarding access to public- interest information. When the CAIDP is approached, the administration has two weeks to satisfy the request.

The potential impact of this commitment is moderate. That there is a commitment to make the public aware of the law and how they can use it shows that the government is willing to grant a right of scrutiny to the people. The commitment also reflects government interest in public action to promote democracy and good governance. Furthermore, the commitment also seeks to promote the role of the CAIDP among the public, a key element in ensuring government accountability regarding requests for information. As it is drafted, the commitment is vague and does not explain in what manner (online, in person, or via the press) the public will be made aware. It also does not describe the geographical extent of the commitment’s efforts or their duration. Without knowing these factors, it is difficult to assess the potential impact of this commitment. In addition, as civil society representatives pointed out,3 the CAIDP has suffered criticism over its passivity. For example, it does not travel. Consequently, it has no access to citizens outside of Abidjan.

Completion

This commitment is considered complete, although, according to the representative of the civil society platform, much needs to be done to implement it.4 According to the representative, the platform has not been able to assess these milestones because of a lack of specific measures. The IRM researcher notes the efforts made by the Commission for Access to Information of Public Interest and Public Documents to promote the Access to Public Information Act.

11.1 Awareness of the law: This milestone is completed. According to the director of the deputy head of staff at the Ministry for Communication, Digital Economy, and Post, communication regarding the law was disseminated only in the town of Abidjan. Such communication should have been distributed throughout the country.5 Also according to the director, the Commission for Access to Information of Public Interest and to Public Documents (CAIDP) faced financial problems.6 In its assessment report, the civil society platform stressed that an awareness program had started in 2015, prior to the implementation period. This was in fact mentioned in the milestone of the commitment as drafted in the action plan. The CAIDP director of operations7 gave the IRM researcher several reports and seminar papers, articles, information on training sessions, and CAIDP explanations regarding the awareness program.8 Notes from workshops held between January 2016 and October 2017 were also provided to the IRM researcher. The government9 noted that 'a collection of legislative and regulatory texts regarding access to information was transmitted electronically to the persons registered on the CAIDP email list. Also transmitted were numerous radio and television programs that the CAIDP released in its promotion of the right of access to information.'

11.2 To make citizens aware of the existence of the Commission for Access to Information of Public Interest and to Public Documents: This milestone was completed. The Commission for Access to Information of Public Interest and to Public Documents (CAIDP) operations director10 provided the IRM researcher with several reports and newspaper articles regarding seminars and training workshops conducted by the CAIDP before, during, and after the implementation period.11 Before the implementation period, these trainings were aimed at journalists,

media professionals, editors, governmental communication networks, and civil society representatives. During the implementation period (28 July and 22 December 2016), the trainings were aimed at 100 local radio stations and information officers. After the period of implementation (July and August 2017), the trainings targeted the National Côte d’Ivoire Blogger Union, information officers, professors, researchers, and professional networks of online press and archivists.

Early results (if any)

It takes citizens 30 to 45 days to receive a document after an access-to-information request. Under the Access to Public Information Act, each public body and private structure of public interest has to designate someone to be in charge of information. This person is responsible for receiving and processing requests from users. The document in question must be of public interest. According to the director of the Commission for Access to Information of Public Interest and to Public Documents (CAIDP),12 from January 2016 to August 2017, 263 public government bodies received such requests. According to the director, 167 (63.5 percent) of them had designated a person to deal with such requests. Users can send a copy of their request to the CAIDP so that it can, if necessary, intervene with the body in question on their behalf. Such intervention would facilitate the processing of any dispute. It must be pointed out that public documents were released only between September 2016 and September 2017. The CAIDP was solicited 11 times (nine litigious cases and two consultative), according to its director of operations.

However, the CAIDP is situated in Abidjan, so does not cover the whole country, even though the CAIDP can be used electronically.13

Next Steps

Since this commitment satisfies its objectives of facilitating citizen access to information and documents of public interest, the IRM researcher recommends that it be continued in the next action plan. In the next plan, it must have concrete, quantifiable, and verifiable milestones that are addressed during the implementation period. According to the civil society platform, the Commission for Access to Information of Public Interest and to Public Documents should not only cover all 31 regions, but also do more to make people aware of the commission and other decentralized agencies so that they can be used when necessary.

1 Ahmed Sako, Adjunct Cabinet Director, Ministère de la Communication, de l’Economie Numérique et de la Poste, interview by IRM researcher, 5 February 2018.

2 'Historique,' Commission d’Accès à l’Information d’Intérêt Public et aux Documents Publics, http://www.caidp.ci/accueil/caidp/historique; Il s’agit de la Constitution Ivoirienne, la Déclaration Universelle des Droits de l’Homme du 10 décembre 1948, la Charte Africaine des Droits de l’Homme et des Peuples du 27 juin 1981, le Projet de Loi Type Relatif à l’Accès à l’Information Adopté par la Commission des Droits de l’Homme et des Peuples de l’Union Africaine, le 8 Juin 2010.

3 Civil society platform representative, interview by IRM researcher, 2018, followed by phone and email exchanges.

4 Civil society platform representative interview by IRM researcher, 2018, followed by phone and email exchanges.

5 Ahmed Sako, Adjunct Cabinet Director, Ministère de la Communication, de l’Economie Numérique et de la Poste, interview by IRM researcher, 5 February 2018.

6 Ibid.

7 Brice N’Guessan-Balle, Director of Operations, Commission d’Accès à l’Information d’Intérêt Public et aux Documents Publics, phone interview and email exchanges with IRM researcher, 22 and 23 February 2018.

8 See https://bit.ly/2HmhXGG for a copy of these documents.

9 Chantal Angoua, Technical Advisor, Ministry of Industry and Mines, point of contact for the OGP process, comments on the progress report received by the IRM researcher 18 June 2018.

10 Brice N’Guessan-Balle, Director of Operations, Commission d’Accès à l’Information d’Intérêt Public et aux Documents Publics, phone and email exchanges with IRM researcher, 22 and 23 February 2018.

11 See https://bit.ly/2HmhXGG for a copy of these documents.

12 Brice N’Guessan-Balle, Director of Operations, Commission d’Accès à l’Information d’Intérêt Oublic et aux Documents Publics, phone and email exchanges with IRM researcher, 22 and 23 February 2018.

13 Chantal Angoua, Technical Advisor, Ministry of Industry and Mines, point of contact for the OGP process, comments on the progress report received by the IRM researcher 18 June 2018.


Cote d'Ivoire's Commitments

  1. Citizen Budget

    CI0016, 2018, Capacity Building

  2. Participative Decentralized Development for Preschools

    CI0017, 2018, Capacity Building

  3. Whistleblower Protection

    CI0018, 2018, Capacity Building

  4. National Integrity Strategy

    CI0019, 2018, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  5. Asset Declaration

    CI0020, 2018, Asset Disclosure

  6. Local Participation

    CI0021, 2018, Capacity Building

  7. Local Anti-Corruption Measures

    CI0022, 2018, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  8. Contraception Distribution

    CI0023, 2018, Capacity Building

  9. Open Data

    CI0024, 2018, Capacity Building

  10. Liberalize Television Space

    CI0025, 2018, Civic Space

  11. Publish the Number of Carats of Diamond Exported and Accompanying Kimberly Process Certificates

    CI0001, 2016, Capacity Building

  12. Create and Operationalize 5 Local Mining Development Committees (CDLM)

    CI0002, 2016, Extractive Industries

  13. Release All Tax and Customs Regulations

    CI0003, 2016, E-Government

  14. Release the Communications to the Councils of Ministers on the Quarterly Implementation of the Budget

    CI0004, 2016, E-Government

  15. Publish Communications to the Council of Ministers on Contracting Process on a Quarterly Basis

    CI0005, 2016, E-Government

  16. Interconnect Public Five (05) Universities and Two (02) Business Schools.

    CI0006, 2016, Capacity Building

  17. Set up Virtual University of Côte D'Ivoire

    CI0007, 2016, Education

  18. Install a Virtual Single Window for Public Service Request and Receipt in Order to Facilitate Access to Public Information

    CI0008, 2016, E-Government

  19. Create and Operationalize an Open Data Portal for Côte D'Ivoire

    CI0009, 2016, Capacity Building

  20. Set up and Operationalize a National Competitiveness Monitoring Body

    CI0010, 2016, Legislation & Regulation

  21. Promote Access to Public Information Act

    CI0011, 2016, Legislation & Regulation

  22. Ensure the Freedom the Press and Plurality of Expression

    CI0012, 2016, Civic Space

  23. Set up Five (05) Municipal Committees to Fight Against Racketeering

    CI0013, 2016, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  24. Promote Participatory Budget in 05 Communes

    CI0014, 2016, Capacity Building

  25. Establish and Operationalize a National Monitoring Body for the Quality of Financial Services

    CI0015, 2016, Legislation & Regulation