Brazil Submits Action Plan for Open Government Partnership

20 September 2011

The Brazilian government Sept. 20 issued its action plan for improving open government.

The announcement came in connection with the kick-off of the Open Government Partnership, a multinational effort that Brazil co-chair with the Unites States. The eight core members of the OGP released their plans at an event in New York City. (See related report.)

The action plan includes numerous elements, and “indicative” dates for their accomplishment. (The downloadable version is in Portuguese.)

The plan does not mention passage of a freedom of information bill, an effort now stalled. President Dilma Rousseff, in her opening ceremony remarks, mentioned only that the bill was under consideration. Earlier this year she had pledged to pass it in early May. (See previous reports.)

Paula Martins, Director South America office ARTICLE 19, said in a sattement: “Since Brazil is co-leading with the US the Open Government Partnership, it is imperative that the Brazilian government and Senate champions transparency by driving forward its own progressive right to information law, in order to gain more legitimacy at the global level.”

Some of the pledges involve studies, one on “the values, knowledge, and culture governing the access to public information in the Brazilian Federal Executive Branch,” another on “the role of Federal Ombudsman Units in Brazil’s Access to Public Information Policy” and another “to identify the demands of society in regard to access to information, with a view to strengthening active transparency policies.”

The development of a guide for public officials on access to information is also on the list and of a “distance education program to build capacity of public officials on the issue of access to information.”

So is the development of “a model to organize information services for citizens in agencies and entities of the Federal Executive Branch and the procedures for operation of the system governing the access to public information.”

The development and delivery of capacity building programs for public officials on issues connected to information management also is promised.

Preparation of a catalogue of public data and information provided on the Internet by the government agencies will facilitate the access to data and information and provide guidance to the formulation of policies on the promotion of public transparency. “The project involves mapping, entering, and cataloguing metadata drawn from data and information published online by agencies and entities of the Federal Executive Branch,” according to the plan.

Development and construction of the Transparency Portal’s Data Warehouse is another goal, and the portal should be restructured to be more useable, the plan states.

Providing data from the Resource Transfer Agreements and Contracts System (SICONV) in open data format is another goal as is the construction of the Strategic Science, Technology, and Innovation Management Platform (Aquarius Platform).

The government also makes series of promises to enhance the National Open Data Infrastructure (INDA).

Conferences, Meetings Planned

Brazil plans to organize the 1st National Conference on Transparency and Social Control, or rather a series of conferences, as detailed in the plan:

Four thematic axis will be debated during the whole Conference process: promotion of transparency and access to public data and information; mechanisms for citizen oversight, engagement and capacity building of society to monitor public management of funds; work of public policy councils as control and guidance levels in preventing and combating corruption. Besides the state and municipal stages of the Conference, society will also debate the thematic axis in free and virtual conferences. The specific purpose of the initiative is to formulate guidelines capable of assisting in the development of a National Transparency and Social Control Plan (Plano Nacional sobre Transparência e Controle Social) for agencies of the Public Administration and contribute toward focusing the activities undertaken by the broader society.

Holding a National Seminar on Social Participation that “aims at further developing studies on social participation mechanisms and forums, as well as qualifying democratic and citizen engagement” also is planned.

A meeting of the Inter-Council Forum PPA 2012-2015 is “to present to citizens the proposal for the PPA 2012-2015, to be considered by the National Congress, and to highlight the contributions from society made during the first phase of the Forum that were incorporated to the proposal.”

In addition, the plan anticipates a partnership with W3C Brazil “to stimulate and build capacity of sub national governments to publish public open data through measures like: mapping of initiatives and good practices for the publication of open information; organization of awareness-raising lectures and training programs on transparency and open data for public managers and IT technicians; development of a Distance Education course program on transparency and open data; technical support to the Office of the Comptroller General of Brazil in restructuring the Transparency Portal.”

A partnership with the Digital Culture Laboratory also is proposed.

The organization of the 1st National Open Data Meeting also is anticipated in the plan to include the participation of representatives of the three levels of government, information technology firms, and ordinary citizens interested in the subject.

Budget Transparency

The plan notes the School Development Plan (Interactive School PDE) — a school management planning methodology that seeks to assist institutions in the effort to expand the quality of education and learning by strengthening the respective underlying policy-education framework – and says the government will undertake to make it available to all public schools.

Brazil also “undertakes to publish specific consultation features for information on the recipients of Unemployment Benefits for Artisanal Fishermen (Seguro Defeso), on the recipients of Unemployment Benefits (Seguro Desemprego), and on the Civil Defense Payment Cards  (Cartões de Pagamento da Defesa Civil).”

Publication of detailed information on the Federal Government Procurement Portal (ComprasNet). Information in open data format at on an experimental basis also is contemplated.

Procurement, Corruption

The Registry of National Prices (Registro de Preços Nacional – RPN), a centralized procurement model designed to serve all states and municipalities, is noted and the government “undertakes to improve procurement procedures and the delivery of Federal Government information technology services through rationalization of the contracting and contractual management of the related services, as well as the application of consolidated information technology governance methodologies.”

To help fight corruption the government said it will advance full implementation of the Pro-Ethics Company Registry that gives visibility to companies that invest in ethics, integrity, and corruption prevention and engage in establishing a confidence-building environment for the public and private sectors. Brazil undertakes to adopt measures to advance in the full implementation of the Registry.

Other Commitments

The plan also calls for systemic integration of ombudsman units and continuing training for the public ombudsman units of the federal executive branch.

The Ministry of Education and its subordinate bodieswill expand its Control Panel (Painel de Controle) designed to assist managers in monitoring the agency’s strategic actions.

Also planned is the development of a Public Services Portal (Portal Guia de Serviços Públicos) “with a simple interface, accessible through mobile technology, and with the organization of services structured from the point of view of citizens and according to the guiding principles of the Brazilian electronic government program.” The portal will have a standardized and unified interface and hold a directory of service delivered by the government.

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