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A Gradual Open State in Mexico

Un Estado abierto gradual en México

Adrián Alcalá Méndez|

In Mexico and elsewhere, the principle of legality demands the participation of all agencies and institutions across the public administration. Thus, Mexico’s National Institute for Transparency, Access to Information and Data Protection (INAI in Spanish) supports open government actions by oversight bodies of the 32 states and their 2,469 municipalities.

In the past few years, open States have been seen as approaches to distribute responsibilities among the executive, judiciary and legislature, as well as states and municipalities. These responsibilities are achieved through capacity design and proactive transparency, co-creation, collaboration, social innovation and accountability processes and designed to solve public issues identified by society. 

Through its co-creation strategy, which focuses on implementing the described approach, and building on the experience gained from over 140 commitments and the participation of 226 public agencies and 213 civil society organizations, the INAI has learned that to deliver the promise of an open State – at least in Mexico – it is important to take gradual steps, considering the differentiated competencies and limitations across agencies.


Take the example of citizen participation and its different linkages to the branches of government and their agendas. Open government, for instance, defines participation as co-creation and consultation, while open justice defines participation through specialized means, including tools such as conversations hosted by bar associations. Finally, open Congress can be achieved when dialogues around law design are binding and made through multi-partisan legislative agreements.

 While we acknowledge the value of the open State approach in Mexico, we have learned that open government needs to be consolidated first. Then, collaboration can be initiated with other branches and municipalities, being careful not to include all stakeholders in joint goals that could break citizen and institutional will.

To show our will to gradually move toward an open State, Mexico’s fourth open government action plan (2019-2021), included a commitment that links the federal and local open government agendas, building a national strategy toward consolidating an open State in Mexico in the near future. A significant number of stakeholders were consulted and we expect to have a solid proposal to build on next year.


More good news: various states are working on agreements to create open Congresses and courts are endorsing the Open Justice Declaration. We are also excited to see municipalities creating dialogue spaces and even Technical Secretariats.

Since 2015, INAI has been promoting its co-creation strategy, working to gradually pave the way toward an open State, but it will not condition the processes that design and implementation stages must follow. We will keep on working.

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