The OGP Eligibility Criteria update for 2014 has now been released. Many countries saw their scores change over the last year. Some adjustments in scores were a result of greater availability of data from the independent sources for the scoring, or due to a revision in the scoring metric itself. The scoring of the asset disclosure metric was revised this year by the OGP Steering Committee on the recommendation of the World Bank. The revised metric is a more straightforward assessment of the legal framework in place for declaration of assets (see Adjustments Made to Asset Disclosure Metric below). This note provides a summary of the country scores in 2014. The complete country scores for 2014 are available here.

 

Newly Eligible Countries

A total of six countries are eligible to join OGP for the first time. Those countries are Angola, Bhutan, Guyana, Luxembourg, Namibia and Nigeria.  Asset disclosure scores improved for Angola, Luxembourg, Namibia and Nigeria. Bhutan is recognized for a constitutional provision ensuring access to information, resulting in an increase in their score.  Guyana passed an access to information law, improving their score on that metric.

 

Non-Participating Eligible Countries

Including the newly eligible countries there are now 28 countries eligible to participate in OGP, but have not joined.  These are:

  1. Angola
  2. Austria
  3. Belgium
  4. Bhutan
  5. Cape Verde
  6. Ethiopia
  7. Germany
  8. Guyana
  9. Iceland
  10. India
  11. Jamaica
  12. Japan
  13. Kyrgyz Republic
  14. Luxembourg
  15. Namibia
  16. Nepal
  17. Nicaragua
  18. Nigeria
  19. Pakistan
  20. Papua New Guinea
  21. Poland
  22. Portugal
  23. Russia
  24. Slovenia
  25. Switzerland
  26. Thailand
  27. Uganda
  28. Venezuela

 

Countries Close to Eligibility

To be eligible, countries must earn 75% of the possible points. 14 countries are currently close to eligibility. These countries earn 60% to 75% of the applicable points.

  1. Bangladesh (68.8%)
  2. Belize (66.7%)
  3. Bolivia (68.8%)
  4. Ecuador (68.8%)
  5. Guinea (66.7%)
  6. Kazakhstan (68.8%)
  7. Malaysia (62.5%)
  8. Morocco (68.8%)
  9. Mozambique (68.8%)
  10. Niger (62.5%)
  11. Senegal (62.5%)
  12. Sri Lanka (68.8%)
  13. Timor-Leste (62.5%)
  14. Zambia (62.5%)

 

OGP Participating Countries with Improving Scores

17 OGP participating countries improved their scores. For 13 of these countries (indicated by an asterisk), the increase in scores is partly or entirely due to the revisions in the asset disclosure metric.

  1. Armenia*
  2. Denmark*
  3. Dominican Republic*
  4. El Salvador
  5. Estonia*
  6. Finland*
  7. Greece*
  8. Hungary
  9. Kenya*
  10. Malawi*
  11. Mexico*
  12. Netherlands*
  13. Peru*
  14. Serbia*
  15. Sierra Leone
  16. Spain*
  17. Tunisia

El Salvador, Hungary and Tunisia improved their budget transparency score following recent data from Open Budget Survey managed by the International Budget Partnership. Sierra Leone passed the Right to Access to Information Act in 2013, increasing its score in this metric.

 

OGP Participating Countries with Decreasing Scores

Five OGP participating countries have decreased scores without affecting their eligibility. For Colombia, France, Honduras, Malta, and Ukraine, the decrease in scores is due to the revision in the asset disclosure metric. For Indonesia, a decrease in its EIU Civil Liberties score resulted in a one-point drop in their overall score.

 

Adjustments Made to Asset Disclosure Metric

To conduct a more objective assessment of asset disclosure laws globally, OGP has recently updated the asset disclosure metric of the eligibility criteria. Members of the Steering Committee agreed to the new approach to scoring during the last meeting in New York at the end of September. 

What were the issues with the old scoring system?

Previously, the asset to information metric was based on the World Bank’s Public Officials Financial Disclosure database. This database presented laws in the language of the country and it distinguished between laws that apply to public officials and laws that apply to elected officials. There are two main problems with the previous system. First, this system proved to be difficult to sustain because there were many instances of disagreement on the nature of a law and different interpretations of the language. Also, the scoring of the criteria was problematic because the parties conducting the review had trouble confirming if the laws were actually being implemented. In the past, countries were awarded points for having a law regardless of its implementation status.

Second, there is no universal distinction between elected officials and public officials, and in many cases an individual could be both an elected and a public official. When reviewing laws, the World Bank and the Support Unit have consistently found it difficult to make the distinction whether a law applies to elected officials or public officials. The position of the World Bank is the distinction should be eliminated for laws to be reviewed objectively.

How will countries be scored under the new system?

Countries are assessed based on the existence of a legal framework putting in place provisions for declaration of assets and making them accessible to the public. The World Bank has adopted this distinction in their updated database. 

Under this system, the revised OGP Eligibility metric will award two points to countries with an Asset Disclosure Law, and two additional points to countries with an Asset Disclosure Law requiring any degree of public access. Zero points are awarded for countries with no law on asset disclosure. 

The source for the information on asset disclosures will continue to be the Public Officials Financial Disclosure database, supplemented by a survey the World Bank conducts every two years.  In this survey, the World Bank develop a questionnaire on asset disclosure, send it to governments, collect the responses and publish a paper that provides the necessary information. This survey, together with the Public Officials Financial Disclosure database will ensure the Support Unit has up to date information.

How does the new system impact country scores?

An initial review has shown that changing the criteria would raise the scores for a number of countries, and reduce it for others. As a result of this new system, four countries (Angola, Luxembourg, Namibia and Nigeria) will be eligible for the first time. No currently eligible countries will be ineligible as a result of this change. 

The World Bank and the Support Unit will continue to review the laws and perform due diligence to ensure the data received are reliable and transparent.  Also, the IRM progress report will note that a country’s decreased score was a result of a change in OGP’s scoring system, not a change in policy or practice within the country.

What about countries that are not assessed by the World Bank?

Countries that are not assessed by the World Bank, and can demonstrate their performance on asset disclosure, which may modify their scores, are encouraged to submit documents to the Support Unit for an independent assessment. This also applies to other metrics in the eligibility criteria; countries can provide additional information related to budget transparency or access to information directly to the Support Unit to adjust their scores accordingly.

 

Overview of the Eligibility Criteria

Eligibility to join OGP is determined by evaluations of countries’ performance in four critical areas of open government: fiscal transparency, access to information, asset disclosure and citizen engagement. Three of the sources used in this 2014 eligibility report are updated versions of the same indices or databases used to initially determine eligibility to join OGP in 2013.

Countries can earn a total of 16 points for their performance in these four metrics, or 12 points if they are not measured in one of the metrics. Countries that earn 75% of the applicable points (either 12 out of 16 or nine out of 12) or more are eligible to join. As some of the indices OGP uses do not cover all countries, some countries are only measured on three criteria (and can earn up to 12 points).

Countries not assessed in a database for any of the metrics or those with recent updates are encouraged to provide additional information to the Support Unit and any information will be assessed independently by subject matter experts.  Please visit opengovpartnership.org/eligibility for more information on the calculations.  If you are aware of any updates to the data please contact the Support Unit by emailing us at info@opengovpartnership.org.

 

Filed Under: Research