Statement – Guatemala in the OGP Rapid Response Mechanism
The Open Government Partnership welcomes the participation of the Guatemalan government and civil society actors in OGP since its launch in 2011. Guatemala has submitted three OGP action plans and established a “technical table” where government officials and civil society representatives both sit.
On 30 October 2018, eight Guatemalan civil society organizations (CSOs), triggered OGP’s Rapid Response Mechanism (RRM). In their letter, the eight CSOs announced their decision to withdraw from all OGP processes coordinated by the government of Guatemala, and outlined their concerns regarding the effectiveness of the government’s anti-corruption policies, including recent government decisions about the mandate of the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), and the impact of the above on the OGP process. The government of Guatemala responded to the Rapid Response Mechanism request 12 November 2018 by stressing its work on anti-corruption and reaffirming its commitment to the values of OGP.
OGP acknowledges the domestic challenges currently being faced by the members of the OGP community in Guatemala, and the importance of the concerns signaled by the organizations who submitted the letter. OGP expresses its concern about the restrictions imposed by the Government of Guatemala over the CICIG to carry out its mandate. Anti-corruption is at the heart of the Open Government Declaration, where all members, including Guatemala, committed to “having robust anti-corruption policies, mechanisms, and practices, ensuring transparency in the management of public finances and government purchasing, and strengthening the rule of law”.
OGP also acknowledges the specific requests by the eight CSOs outlined in their letter and has responded them in an annex below.
OGP offers its full support and resources to all Guatemalan stakeholders involved. We will consider asking two Steering Committee representatives, one from government and one from civil society, to serve as OGP envoys to Guatemala to seek to re-engage all actors involved and support the process of restoring dialogue within the first three months of 2019. This proposed visit, as well as its scope and dates, would be organized in coordination with the government and CSOs in and outside of the OGP technical table.
Technical Annex : Response to the specific requests made by the eight Guatemalan Civil Society Organizations that triggered the Rapid Response Mechanism on October 30
In their letter triggering the Rapid Response Mechanism, the eight civil society organizations made four specific requests of the OGP. However, as outlined in the statement, these concerns are either procedural and will be addressed by the OGP mechanisms outlined below or fall outside the OGP mandate.
- Suspend the fourth Action Plan co-creation process. Action plans (AP) are not accepted / declined, but rather submitted by governments. OGP could not decline an action plan or request that a country process stops. When a government submits an action plan they agree to report on the results through a self-assessment. In addition, all participating governments are subject to an independent assessment by the Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM) which covers the quality and depth of the consultation, and the potential ambition, relevance and level of completion of the commitments.
- Cancel the OGP endorsed consultancy to the Technical Table. The OGP endorsed consultancy to support strengthening the governance structure of the Guatemalan Technical Table was cancelled in August 2018.
- Create an IRM special assessment for Guatemala. It is not within the mandate of the IRM, as defined in the OGP Articles of Governance, to make special assessments for countries. However, if the government of Guatemala submits an action plan for the 2018-2020 cycle, the IRM will deliver a Design Report within the first five months of the year 2019, that includes a detailed assessment of the development process and the scope of the action plan within the national context. OGP reiterates its commitment to support all stakeholders involved and the OGP process in Guatemala.
- Create a special monitoring mechanism. As stated above, we will consider asking two Steering Committee representatives, one from government and one from civil society, to serve as OGP envoys to Guatemala to seek to re-engage all actors involved and support the process of restoring dialogue within the first three months of 2019.
* Acción Ciudadana, Artículo 35, Centro Nacional de Información e Investigación en Desarrollo y Desastres (CENACIDE), Coordinadora Institucional de Promoción por los Derechos de la Niñez (CIPRODENI), Guatecambia, Instituto Centroamericano de Estudios Fiscales, Red Ciudadana and Seguridad en Democracia