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Mongolia

Civic Engagement in Decision Making (MN0024)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Mongolia Action Plan 2016-2018

Action Plan Cycle: 2016

Status: Inactive

Institutions

Lead Institution: Central Government Authority

Support Institution(s): Government organisations of all levels; Open Society Forum, MNB- “Mongolian News” Channel, NGOs work with Monitoring and Evaluation and Policy Development Mongolian Association of Journalists, “Globe International” http://www.zasag.mn/tunshlel http://www.opengovpartnership.org/;

Policy Areas

Legislation & Regulation, Lobbying, Participation in Lawmaking, Public Participation, Regulatory Governance

IRM Review

IRM Report: Mongolia End-of-Term Report 2016-2018, Mongolia Mid-Term Report 2016-2018

Starred: No

Early Results: Did Not Change

Design i

Verifiable: No

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information , Civic Participation

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

Status quo or problem addressed by the commitment: The Mongolia Governments has adopted legislation to ensure that the engagement of the public in policy and decision-making processes. These pieces of legislation are the Law on Development Policies and Planning, the Law on Public Hearing, the General Law on Governance and the Law on Legislations. Thus, for these documents to be effective, there is a necessity to increase and mobilise public engagement in the implementation of these legislations. Main Objective: Ensure public engagement and transparency in the decision-making processes of government organisations, which in turn has a positive impact on the public interest. Brief Description of commitment (140 character limit): Promote and advocate the rights of public engagement reflected in these legislations to the general public and foster justice by enabling the public to implement their rights and obligations and actively engage and participate in the decisions concerning them.

IRM Midterm Status Summary

3. Civic engagement in decision-making

Commitment Text:

Promote and advocate the rights of public engagement reflected in these legislations[Note56: These legislations referenced in the commitment text are the Law on Development Policies and Planning, the Law on Public Hearing, the General Law on Governance, and the Law on Legislations.] to the general public and foster justice by enabling the public to implement their rights and obligations and actively engage and participate in the decisions concerning them.

Status quo or problem addressed:

The Mongolia Government has adopted legislation to ensure the engagement of the public in policy and decision-making processes. These pieces of legislation are the Law on Development Policies and Planning, the Law on Public Hearing, the General Law on Governance and the Law on Legislations. Thus, for these documents to be effective, there is a necessity to increase and mobilize public engagement in the implementation of these legislations.

Main Objective:

Ensure public engagement and transparency in the decision-making processes of government organizations, which in turn has a positive impact on the public interest.

Milestones:

3.1. Provide training and advocacy on a broad scale on how to engage and provide feedback in the decision-making processes for decisions that could affect the legal interests and rights of the individual and the public.

3.2. Government authorities and governors shall present decisions that could impact the interests of the public to the public in a transparent and accessible manner with sufficient time for feedback.

3.3. Evaluate the level of public engagement in the decisions by government authorities and governors that could impact public interest.

Responsible institutions: Central Government Authority responsible for Justice, Head of Legal Reform Policy Department

Supporting institutions: Government organizations of all levels, Open Society Forum, MNB- 'Mongolian News' Channel National Broadcaster (MNB, a non-profit entity responsible for the 'Mongolia News Channel'), NGOs work with Monitoring and Evaluation and Policy Development Mongolian Association of Journalists, Globe International

Start date: 30 June 2016

End date: 30 June 2018

Context and Objectives

This commitment aims to improve public participation in Mongolia and to ensure the effectiveness of various civic engagement legislation, namely the Law on Development Policies and Planning, the Law on Public Hearing, the General Law on Governance, and the Law on Legislations. More specifically, the commitment calls for 1) training and advocacy on how to provide feedback in the decision-making processes, 2) presenting decisions to the public in a transparent and accessible manner with sufficient time for feedback, and 3) evaluating the level of public engagement in the decisions by government. The commitment builds on Commitment 3.3.2.1 from the previous action plan, which called for introducing channels of communication between citizens and the government.

Presenting decisions of public interest to the public in an accessible manner makes the commitment relevant to the OGP value of access to information, while the trainings for the public on how to provide feedback makes the commitment relevant to the OGP value of civic participation. The commitment’s milestones do not offer greater details on how the trainings will take place, which channels will be used to present the public with government decisions, or how the evaluation of the level of public engagement will be conducted. Therefore, the specificity is marked as low. While the goal of improving opportunities for the public to engage in decision-making processes is laudable, the vaguely worded activities of this commitment make its potential impact minor.

Completion

Between June and September 2017, the parliament held country-wide consultations to discuss draft amendments to the Mongolian Constitution, including an option for online participation.[Note57: 'Discussion on Draft Amendment to Constitution to Begin Nationwide,' Montsame, 6 June 2017, http://montsame.mn/en/read/10364.] However, it is unclear if these consultations are the results of this commitment. The IRM inquired with the Cabinet Secretariat to provide greater detail on the methods and effectiveness of the trainings and advocacy for public engagement in decision-making processes, but did not receive clarification. For more information, see Section IV: Methodology and Sources.

Due to the lack of additional information and the vague wording of the milestones, the commitment is considered to have not started at the end of the first year of the action plan.

Next Steps

If this commitment is carried forward to future action plans, the IRM recommends going beyond the current focus on training and include broader steps to ensure the implementation of the recently passed laws. Notably, future commitments could include the establishment of mechanisms to allow the public to offer feedback on decisions, along with accountability mechanisms for when the government fails to present decisions to the public before they are finalized. If the trainings on how to provide feedback in the decision-making processes are carried forward, they should specify who will be trained and how the trainings will improve the implementation of the recently passed laws.

IRM End of Term Status Summary

3. Civic engagement in decision-making

Commitment Text:

Promote and advocate the rights of public engagement reflected in these legislations [21] to the general public and foster justice by enabling the public to implement their rights and obligations and actively engage and participate in the decisions concerning them.

Status quo or problem addressed:

The Mongolia Government has adopted legislation to ensure the engagement of the public in policy and decision-making processes. These pieces of legislation are the Law on Development Policies and Planning, the Law on Public Hearing, the General Law on Governance and the Law on Legislations. Thus, for these documents to be effective, there is a necessity to increase and mobilize public engagement in the implementation of these legislations.

Milestones:

3.1. Provide training and advocacy on a broad scale on how to engage and provide feedback in the decision-making processes for decisions that could affect the legal interests and rights of the individual and the public.

3.2. Government authorities and governors shall present decisions that could impact the interests of the public to the public in a transparent and accessible manner with sufficient time for feedback.

3.3. Evaluate the level of public engagement in the decisions by government authorities and governors that could impact public interest.

Responsible institutions: Central Government Authority responsible for Justice, Head of Legal Reform Policy Department

Supporting institutions: Government organizations of all levels, Open Society Forum, MNB- “Mongolian News” Channel National Broadcaster (MNB, a non-profit entity responsible for the “Mongolia News Channel”), NGOs work with Monitoring and Evaluation and Policy Development Mongolian Association of Journalists, Globe International

Start date: 30 June 2016

End date: 30 June 2018

Editorial Note: This is an abridged version of the commitment text. For the full commitment text from the Mongolian National Action Plan, see: https://www.opengovpartnership.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Mongolia-NAP2-Final-Eng_0.pdf

Commitment Aim

This commitment sets out to improve public participation by ensuring implementation of various laws on the engagement of the public in political decision-making processes. The commitment calls for training and advocacy on how to provide feedback in decision-making processes, the presentation of decisions to the public in a transparent and accessible manner with sufficient time for feedback, and an evaluation of the level of public engagement in government decision making.

Status

Midterm: Not started

This commitment did not start by the midterm. Between June and September 2017, parliament held country-wide consultations to discuss draft amendments to the Mongolian Constitution, including an option for online participation. [22] However, it is unclear if these consultations were a result of this commitment.

End of term: Limited

During the second year of the action plan, several government ministries and CSOs held a series of workshops and consultations related to this commitment’s objective. For instance, the Ministry of Justice and Hanns-Seidel Foundation (Mongolia) jointly organized training workshops on the General Law of Governance for 3,000 public sector employees in 2016-2017 (Milestone 3.1). Similarly, the Open Society Forum (OSF) organized training workshops for citizens on the Law on Legislations, the General Law on Governance, and the Law on Public Hearing. More than 100 representatives from 70 CSOs across 16 aimags and Ulaanbaatar city participated in these workshops. [23]

OSF also developed and disseminated brochures on the Law on Public Hearing. [24] The four-page brochure included information on the legal basis, conditions, sequences, and the rights of participants. However, the state authorities did not organize public hearings on the Law during the implementation period of the second action plan. Instead, the first parliamentary public hearing was organized on 30 January 2019, after the implementation period of this action plan.

The government did not conduct an evaluation of the level of public engagement in the decisions by government authorities and governors that could impact public interest (Milestone 3.3).

Although independent of the government, OSF also started a grant program to organize public hearings in August 2017. Among the eight organizations that received grants, seven organized public hearings on their chosen issues like local development funds, land planning, and environmental monitoring in the provinces. In total, 524 people attended these public hearings. [25] However, attempts by the Mongolian NGO, Parents Against Smog, to organize public hearings on air pollution in Ulaanbaatar were denied by government authorities, including the Office of the President, Parliament and the Ministry of Environment and Tourism. [26] The eight grantee organizations gathered to exchange their experiences and lessons learnt in March 2018.

Did It Open Government?

Access to information: Did Not Change

Civic participation: Did Not Change

Since the commitment did not lead to decisions of public interest being presented to the public in an accessible manner, there was no change in access to information.

Both government and civil society organized training workshops on relevant legislation, and the OSF separately provided grants on public hearings and disseminated brochures. While these activities may improve civil society and public understanding of the laws to some extent, there is no evidence yet that it improved public capacity to inform or influence government decisions. [27]

Carried Forward?

The commitment is not included in Mongolia’s third action plan.

[21] The Law on Development Policies and Planning, the Law on Public Hearing, the General Law on Governance and the Law on Legislations.
[22] Discussion on Draft Amendment to Constitution to Begin Nationwide, Montsame, 6 June 2017, https://montsame.mn/en/read/130364
[23] Open Society Forum, Annual Report 2017 (not available online).
[24] Information on the Law on Public Hearing, http://forum.mn/res_mat/2017/NNF.pdf
[25] Open Society Forum, Annual Report 2017
[27] Open Society Forum, Annual Report 2017 (not available online.

Commitments

Open Government Partnership