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Faces of Open Government: Daniel Carranza

Rostros de Gobierno Abierto Daniel Carranza

Daniel Carranza|

Uruguay is implementing commitments from its fifth open government action plan, engaging a wide range of stakeholders including government agencies, civil society organizations, academic partners, citizens and more. Daniel Carranza, co-founder of DATA Uruguay and representative of the Open Government Network, shares his experience and what he expects from the implementation of these commitments.

Which initiatives from the action plan do you think have the greatest potential to improve people’s lives?

 More than commitments or specific topics, the most interesting piece is the process that led to these high-impact commitments. In my view, initiatives with higher potential for impact are those that were put forward by civil society and that are applied in a cross-cutting manner. Although clearly, all open government initiatives should strive for that, in reality, there is not always a balance between civil society demands and the offer to push ambitious reforms across the government.

High impact commitments were created after a series of steps and agreements that facilitated the process. It is sometimes said that a good commitment is essentially a “good idea” that everyone would recognize as such; but experience has shown that, in fact, sound commitments are those that are based on institutional relationships, personal connections, trust, communication and empathy among stakeholders.

Some of the commitments we have built with those elements include:

  • Supervising and implementing accessibility of the government’s information and digital services
  • Strengthening citizen participation spaces for senior citizens and use digital tools to design public policies related to aging
  • Co-creating a platform to submit environmental complaints with support from experts
  • Strengthening the parliament’s policy on access to public information policy and open data

What was the greatest challenge that civil society faced during the fifth action plan process?

The uncertainty. The pandemic impacted the open government processes and plans that the Open Government Network had committed to through the Multi-Donor Trust Fund and the World Bank. In addition to the health emergency, the country also went through a political transition.

 The process that was expected to take place during the first few months of 2020 was completed by the end of 2021, stretching the ability of people to remain engaged and allocate resources to the co-creation process.

Yet, this was also an opportunity to accelerate ongoing processes through digital tools that enhanced participation and had been tested in the previous action plan process. By hosting remote workshops and conversations, we were even able to bring participants from outside the capital city.

Despite the uncertainty and complex context that changed to the original plan, the process made both qualitative and quantitative progress in every aspect of the forum’s strategy. We are proud to have built a mature, institutionalized, and resilient process.

The plan includes interesting commitments, such as providing support to senior citizens and increasing participation of traditionally marginalized groups. How were you able to engage this range of voices and ensure their inclusion in the plan?

The co-creation of the fifth action plan is not yet finalized, but we have made significant progress and we intend to broaden the voices participating in the process, both thematically and geographically.

This outcome – while perfectible – happened because of two elements: 

  1. The issue was clearly identified and prioritized throughout the process. Broadening participation has been a concern of the forum since it was created. The problem was clearly identified by OGP’s Independent Reporting Mechanism in multiple assessments and has been identified as a priority for at least two processes.
  2. This fifth co-creation process was the first to address resource allocation, moving from assessments to ambitious action. For the government, this did not imply a greater allocation of economic or human resources (in fact, the opposite happened), but a change in strategy, redirecting resources and bringing open government into existing participation and collaboration forums. Civil society, in turn, was able to gain support from the Multi-donor Trust Fund and the World Bank, which helped raise awareness about the process in different parts of the country, the addition of the Open Government Network, and the development of the National Association of Development Non-Government Organizations (ANONG in Spanish), and an extensive process of tutoring organizations interested in participating in the process. The political transition helped us engage organizations that lost institutional connections and were, therefore, more receptive to building new connections.

What can other OGP members do to ensure that commitments are fully implemented and meet the established milestones?

I think knowing how involved institutions that are responsible for open government commitments are in the process allows us to predict if a commitment will be completed. 

 There are exceptions, such as organizations that participate in dialogue processes and take on one commitment and fully implement it, but I think there is a strong correlation between sustained participation throughout the process and completion of the commitment. An entity that participates in the forum and engages civil society and the private sector participates in monitoring and evaluation efforts and, ultimately, creates institutional and personal connections, is more likely to comply.

 While, as individuals, we can contribute to opening the government, I am certain that the most effective way to do it is by working together.

Comments (1)

el-kef-tunisia Reply

tout d’abord félicitation pour votre cinquième plan d’action pour un gouvernement ouvert, dans notre localité en viens juste de commencer notre 1ér plan OGP , par cette occasion je prie de bien vouloir m’envoyer les thématiques si c’est possible.
merci infiniment de votre aide qui me sera présent dans l’élaboration d’autre plan en avenir

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