Paraguay Posts OGP Action Plan, Other Plans Missing

15 June 2012

The national actions plan for Paraguay has now been posted on the Open Government partnership website.

Two other action plans, for Azerbaijan and Macedonia, that OGP officials said were on the verge of being published several weeks ago, have not yet appeared. South Korea also was reportedly read to post, but it unclear if the material on the website is an action plan.

There are three other countries that also missed the April deadline and have not posted their plans: Liberia, Ghana and Mongolia. OGP officials have said they are working with the tardy countries.

In other OGP news, the Steering Committee posted a modified version of its Articles of Governance first announced in April.  The OGP did not indicate what is new about the June version.

Paraguay’s Plans Stresses Technology

Paraguay’s national action plan is called JAGUATA OÑONDIVEPA (in Guaraní it means let’s walk together).

The national plan includes commitments for an open government through strengthening the use of TICs (Spanish for “information technology”). These commitments are to develop a system to exchange information and data betwen public institutions, security against hacking, and a government portal to access services online.

Future activities would be to develop a system to manage contracts for the public institutions, local e- government, a system for denunciation, a data portal related to accomplishing international rules against corruption, and e- health.

The national plan was presented to the academic sector, civil organizations and the general public.

The plan over-emphasizes technology, commented María José Bazán Flecha  of Centro de Estudios Judiciales, who noted that it does not include adoption of a freedom of information law, which Paraguay lacks.

“I see that the actions will help the management of the public administration, but we need more mechanisms for civic participation and for accountability.”

 Her organization was the only civil society organization from Paraguay which attended the OGP April meeting in Brazil.

Paraguayans do not know much about it, the plan, she said, adding: “We do not know if a plan of monitoring these commitments exists. Mechanism for accountability and civic participation are not included in the action plan.”

South Korea Focuses on Public Services

South Korea’s plan, if it is a plan, is not located in the usual spot for action plans on the OGP website, but appears to be a description of future activities.

The government indicates that its main focus will be using technology to enhance the quality of public policies and services and to foster government efficiency, effectiveness, and responsiveness. The vision statement promises to promote democracy “through continuous consultation with civil society organizations and private sectors.”

After discussing past efforts, the undated South Korean posting says the next generation of changes will “keep abreast with the rapidly changing mobile paradigm brought upon by the spread of smartphones, tablet PCs and so on.” It promises: “Public service usage and active citizen participation anytime, anywhere are further promoted through the integration of smart devices and government services, thus optimizing government efficiency and user-convenience.

OGP Discussed by Azerbaijan Groups, Clinton

Although Azerbaijan has yet to submit a plan, the OGP was discussed there in early June when U.S. Secretary of state Hillary Clinton met for an hour with civil society groups. As reported by Revenue Watch:

The main topic of discussion was Open Government Partnership, in which Azerbaijan became a member last year. After a review of the general challenges for Azerbaijan (huge dependence on oil revenues, sustainable development, economic diversification, lack of CSO representatives in the State Oil Fund Supervisory Board), OGP was presented as promising tool for the country and for civil society.

The concerns raised about OGP included a need for more active involvement of civil society in order to make the OGP process truly beneficial, rather than just a formality. Participants also cited EITI as a good tool for achieving transparency in oil, gas and mining revenues; however the local groups emphasized an equal need for transparency and accountability in the management and spending of those revenues. The group also described the local CSO Forum on OGP. Mrs. Clinton mentioned the current work by OGP to develop its own accountability system.

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