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Tackling COVID-19 through Open Government in the City of Buenos Aires

Iniciativas de Gobierno Abierto Frente al COVID-19 en la Ciudad de Buenos Aires

Florencia RomanoandMelisa Breda|

The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged every government’s health systems and management capacity. The Government of Buenos Aires was able to deploy a coordinated response and an integrated strategy of prevention, detection, bypass, distancing and treatment to flatten the curve, care for citizens and strengthen the health system. This strategy was supported by rapid data and evidence to manage the pandemic that was made possible by the government’s pre-existing open government, transparency and innovation work.  

In recent years, the City of Buenos Aires underwent a transformation and modernization process based on an open government approach and on the idea that openness, evidence, accountability and collaboration across sectors bring about stronger public policies, strengthen citizen trust and add value. This work enabled the development of open government initiatives that supported the COVID-19 crisis management by disclosing data and information to citizens.

The COVID-19 platform in data

In the context of the health emergency, and building on the data openness strategy mentioned above, the Government of Buenos Aires City (CGBA in Spanish) integrated multiple sources of information for more efficient and evidence-based decision-making. 

Through the COVID-19 in data platform, the government opened up 27 datasets disclosing its virus management strategy, which can be accessed by the public and private sectors, civil society organizations, universities and regular citizens.  

The platform includes visuals and charts that are updated daily, democratizing access to public information. It also includes a consultation source for the media and was one of the first in the region to incorporate indicators on health management, mobility and the public space, in addition to epidemiological data.

Coronavirus acquisition platform

To act swiftly and contain the health and social impacts of COVID-19, the GCBA established new acquisition and contracting procedures through a joint resolution.

This resolution has been in force since April 22 of 2020 and is supported by the creation of an open platform to monitor goods and services acquired under the new procedure. The platform, Coronavirus acquisitions:

  • Provides regulatory information about the acquisition processes related to the health emergency.
  • Provides information about critical supplies and creates an institutional space where suppliers, beyond the usual suspects, can offer their services.
  • Guarantees access to information with regards to acquisitions and contracting by the GCBA in line with international open acquisition standards.
  • Discloses information about the pandemic management by the City of Buenos Aires.

Open information about the COVID-19 pandemic in the City, from epidemiological data to strengthening the health system and public acquisitions, is essential for accountable actions before this unprecedented challenge.

Openness allowed building trust about the actions by disclosing data that supports the government’s decision-making process. It represented an essential tool to account for the COVID-19 situation with data and information that supports the government’s decisions with simple and interactive visualizations.

Over 70 local jurisdictions that are members of OGP Local have a unique opportunity to co-create commitments as part of their open government action plans in the context of the pandemic, supported by the principles of transparency, inclusion, participation and accountability.  

 

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Photo credit: Government of the City of Buenos Aires

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