South Korea Submits OGP Plans; Others Missing

17 August 2012

South Korea has submitted its Open Government partnership action plan, making commitments largely in the areas of providing more online information and increasing citizen involvement in decision-making.

A  nine-point  Macedonian plan also has been posted.

The publication of  these plans means that 46 action plans have been submitted by the 57 OGP member countries.

Four of the 46 governments that signed up on or before September 2011 and promised to deliver plans by April have yet to fulfill their commitment – Azerbaijan, Liberia, Ghana, and Mongolia. (See previous report.) Macedonia’s plan, which was presented in April, but has not been on the OGP website. Azerbaijan may soon post a draft plan.

OGP co-chairman Brazil recently wrote the tardy countries to offer assistance and establish a new deadline. (See previous report.)

Some additional action plans are still due. This is because since September, 11 other governments have joined, bringing OGP membership to 57 out of 79 eligible countries.  No deadline was established for the later-joining countries to hold consultations and develop their plans.  

They probably will be delivered in early 2013, although no deadlines have been set. The second annual meeting was being planned for April in the United Kingdom, which might have been a logical deadline, but the meeting now may be held later, possibly in October.

Four governments that joined after Sept. 20, 2011, have submitted plans: Armenia, Denmark, Greece and Paraguay.

Seven governments that joined after Sept. 20, 2011, have not submitted plans:  Costa Rica, Finland, Hungary, Panama, Russia, Serbia, Trinidad and Tobago.

Historic Lists

There were eight founding OGP nations: Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico, Norway, the Philippines, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States,

The list of the 38 other countries that sent in letters of their intent to join by the time of the OGP kick-off in New York on Sept. 20, 2011, is: Albania, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Croatia, Czech Republic,  Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Estonia, Georgia, Ghana, Guatemala, Honduras, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Kenya, Latvia, Liberia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Malta, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Netherlands, Peru, Romania, Slovak Republic, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Tanzania, Turkey, Ukraine and Uruguay.

Eleven have joined since then: Armenia (Oct. 17, 2011), Costa Rica (Jan. 10, 2012), Denmark (no letter on site), Finland (May 30, 2012), Greece (Nov. 23, 2011), Hungary (July 10, 2012), Panama  (Jan. 18, 2012), Paraguay  (Nov. 7, 2012), Russia (April 16, 2012), Serbia (March 21, 2012), and Trinidad and Tobago (Feb. 22, 2012). (Note:  the dates given are from the letters of commitment, not the later dates indicated when they were posted on the OGP website page listing participating countries.)

South Korea Posts Plan

Reviewing open government effort so far, the South Korean plan says “we are making ceaseless efforts toward realizing an open government and ultimately, an advanced nation.”

“In recent years, the Korean Government has pursued a “SMART GOVERNMENT” as a new national strategy, reflecting the changing landscape of information technology (IT) and introduction of various mobile devices such as smart phones and tablet PCs. The “SMART GOVERNMENT” is expected to achieve even more transparency in government by engaging with citizens in the decision making, anytime, anywhere,” according to the document posted on the OGP website.

One commitment is “to provide wider opportunities for greater citizen engagement and expand communication channels to reflect their needs and creative ideas in the decision-making process,” according to the plan, which adds, “This will be done not only in the form of document submission, but also through mobile applications, making public participation available, anytime, anywhere.”

A “field administration manual” will be developed to further strengthen communication between the government and public, the plan says. Customized online services for business will be introduced, the plan states among other specifics.

More government information will be provided about food, environment, education, and other areas, the plan states. To reduce corruption, asset disclosure for public servants will be strengthened and restrictions on post-public employment will also be strictly monitored.

“We will improve the management of public information and resources, and provide upgraded everyday services especially related to the citizens’ daily life,” according to the plan, one specific being the enhancement of a “one-stop budget waste portal.”

Nine Points in Macedonian Plan

The Macedonian plan envisions more citizen and NGO participation in policy-making, including through a planned system for citizen petitions.

An open data portal will be created, according to the plan, with content prioritized by citizen demand.

Improving online government services is another aim, with a variety of initiatives listed.

Putting data online in useable formats is contemplated among a series of other efforts to improve the administration of the public access laws, such as by providing for electronic requests.

Greater access to publically funded scientific research is another element in the Macedonian plan. More reports by government inspectors should be released and the budget should be “open data.” More municipal data should be disclosed, according to the plan, as should more information on areas such as health, education and the environment.

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