Invitation to comment on Progress Reports for Costa Rica, Finland, Ghana, Indonesia, Liberia and Panama
The Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM) is a key means by which government, civil society, and the private sector can monitor the advances that have taken place in the framework of the Open Government Partnership (OGP) in participating countries.
Today, the IRM is proud to announce draft reports for comment from 5 of the countries that submitted action plans to OGP in 2013 and a special accountability report from Indonesia*. The IRM calls on any interested organization or individual to comment on these reports to they are accurate and capture a wide variety of views.
About the IRM reports
The IRM partners with experienced, independent national researchers to author and disseminate reports for each OGP participating government. The reports assess governments on the development and implementation of OGP action plans and progress in fulfilling open government principles, and make technical recommendations for improvements.
The reports are intended to stimulate dialogue and promote accountability among participating governments and their citizens.
The big headlines
In Costa Rica, Israel Aragón Matamoros, an independent researcher summarized his findings as follows:
Costa Rica’s first action plan needed wider civil society participation and over-emphasized ‘e-government’. The next action plan should involve more social sectors, such as civil society outside of the metropolitan area, the private sector, and municipalities, especially through the full operation of the Open Government Commission. To capture the full potential of OGP, it will be important that the plan continue addressing essential policy areas such as environmental issues and transparency, for example through continuing the Public Institution Transparency Index initiative or the other new proposals contained in this report.
In Finland, Oxford Research reported the following:
Finland’s first action plan resulted from an open participatory process and covered a wide variety of relevant commitments. However, many commitments consisted of unspecific actions, and only seven commitments were considered of significant potential impact. If the next plan includes clearer and more ambitious goals, developed and monitored jointly with civil society, then OGP in Finland may become a more relevant process in changing the way the government and civil society interact.
In Ghana, independent researcher Nicholas Adamtey, summed up his findings as such:
The Ghanaian government wrote an ambitious action plan. A number of commitments reflected public concerns. Some of the commitments around legislation lacked consultation and few of these were passed into law. Moving forward, the government will need to involve experienced stakeholders in each specific policy area, such as extractives organizations in the Petroleum Revenue Management Act.
In Indonesia, Mohamad Mova Al’Afghani, an independent researcher, reported the following findings:
The 2013 Indonesia Open Government Partnership (OGP) action plan is notable for its commitments related to improving budgetary transparency in the management of natural resources and that have a strong emphasis on transparency in public service delivery. The first IRM report found a large number of ambitious commitments that saw some progress. During the second round, commitments were less ambitious, with few completed or carried over into the next action plan.
In Liberia, Oscar Bloh, an independent researcher, recapped his research as follows:
The Government of Liberia made good progress on its most ambitious milestones but many milestones saw little to no progress. To improve performance, the Government should consider creating an OGP secretariat that would be in charge of coordinating the OGP process, assisting agencies with implementation and organizing regular consultation.
In Panama, the Alianza Ciudadana Pro Justicia summarized its findings as follows:
The first action plan did not involve civil society participation, and the commitments’ milestones were not specific or measurable. This circumstance, along with a controversial electoral process, limited the plan’s completion and potential impact. For the next plan, it will be important to have some participatory mechanism, and to establish more specific initiatives supported by both public institutions and civil society. That plan should also include themes of much importance for the country, such as political campaign finance.
The fine print
The full reports for the countries mentioned above can be viewed here. To comment, please use the commenting button available at the link provided. You may also send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
The comments received will be published separately from the reports. Where relevant, comments will be integrated in the final version of the report.
About the Indonesia Special Accountability Report
Most of the countries whose reports are being released today began their OGP participation in 2013. Indonesia, a founding country of OGP, is an exception, having participated since 2011. So why is there a report on Indonesia being released for public comment today?
The first Indonesia action plan covered 2011 to the end of 2012. The second action plan covered all of 2013. This is the action plan evaluated in today’s draft “Special Accountability Report.” The government of Indonesia also released a third action plan in 2014 that runs until 2015. That action plan will receive a typical progress report after the one-year mark, similar to other countries in the same calendar as Indonesia. That report is due for public comment in July of this year.
The IRM takes its role as promoting learning and accountability seriously. For that reason, to the greatest extent possible, all OGP commitments will be tracked and accounted for. The Special Accountability report represents an important step in that direction.
For more information, please see the IRM Procedures Manual.