Argentina Creates Its Third National Action Plan

As a result of the efforts surrounding the Open Government National Strategy, which aims to transform the business-as-usual public administration models and the relationship between the State and the citizenry, Argentina presented its third Open Government National Action Plan (2017-2019). We aim to achieve transparency, participation, and accountability in public policy design and service delivery by leveraging the principles of open data, participation, and accountability.

The third Action Plan has been a great challenge for our team, since we were expected to spearhead the open government agenda after several years of making little progress. Following our experience with the second National Action Plan (2015-2017) in which we included commitments for the medium term through a brief co-creation process in September 2016, we started collaborating with the civil society organizations that coordinate the open government agenda in Argentina and revisited our methodology to develop the third Action Plan. We identified 4 clear challenges: federalize the development of the Plan so as to include provinces, design more robust challenges, broaden participation of government agencies and branches, and institutionalize a permanent collaboration process between the government and civil society.

We quickly started drafting a methodology when we became aware that, in order to engage province governments and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in the Plan, we had to roll out a widespread training process. Once we had completed a first draft, we hosted 6 regional meetings between November and December 2016. Hosted in Buenos Aires, Neuquén, Córdoba, Corrientes, Jujuy and Mendoza, provincial governments and CSOs were invited to two-day workshops in which we reviewed the approach and timeline for the Action Plan, as well as basic open government principles. We also identified proposals for commitments. We wanted to ensure that every perspective was included, so we put the Open Government Coordination in charge of facilitating these workshops, together with the CSOs that were involved in the national process.

We requested input from government and civil society representatives through an online survey and between January and March 2017, we received over 200 commitment proposals. We also hosted the first meeting of the Open Government National Committee: four elected CSOs and four government representatives that have lead the transparency agenda would institutionalize a permanent collaboration process for open government dialogue.

After validating the proposals, we convened 24 working groups with agencies from the executive, legislative and judiciary branches, as well as 11 working groups within the provinces. There, we worked with CSOs to co-create commitments for the third Action Plan. The working groups gathered over 700 participants, including citizens, public servants and CSO leaders, who co-created 44 initiatives. These initiatives were then subject to a 3-week consultation process that took place in June.

As a result of this process, Argentina now has its first Open Government National Action Plan that incorporates commitments that pertain to the 3 branches of government, external audit bodies, and subnational governments. Gender, budget, transparent acquisitions and climate change are shaping a plan that is aligned with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The Plan is realizing the potential of the open government agenda in Argentina, as well as the beginning of a national community that operates at the federal level.

Authors: Natalia Carfi
Filed Under: Pledge