Five ‘Late’ Governments Report on OGP Activities

9 November 2012

Five governments that missed the April deadline to submit their Open Government Partnership national action plans have either submitted plans or are working on them, according to information provided by the OGP to FreedomInfo.org.

The plans for two of the countries – Azerbaijan and Macedonia – are now posted (look under “related files”).

The other three countries – Ghana, Liberia and Mongolia – are still in various stages of developing their plans.

The five  tardy countries were asked this summer to describe their efforts to get plans together. The Brazilian lead OGP co-chairman at the time asked for reports by Aug. 22.

Other Deadlines

The OGP has received 47 plans from the 58 participating members.

Besides three outstanding from Mongolia, Liberia and Ghana) from last round, eight more are being developed now by new participating countries.

Those that joined in 2012 were going to be given until the annual meeting in 2013 to prepare their plans. The next meeting was supposed to be in March, 2013. For various reasons, however, the United Kingdom, the new lead chair and the host for the next meeting, had to move it later, to October.  

So technically, FreedomInfo.org was told, the deadline is the next meeting. The OGP Steering Committee, however, is expected to discuss if an October deadline that makes sense or whether the deadline should still be March.

Brazil Issues Implementstion Report

In a semi-related development, the government of Brazil, which submitted its action plan in September of 2011, has published an assessment of the implementation of its action plan. This is the first phase of the consultation process for a new action plan to be released next year.

The assessment is now online for public comments. It can be accessed in Portuguese at the Comptroller General’s website here. The English version can be found in the related files section on the OGP website.

“Overall, the country secured 32 commitments made by 5 Federal Government bodies, 18 out of which have already been completed,” the report says.

Summary of Responses From Each Country

The OGP provided the following summaries of the government responses after FreedomInfo.org requested access to the letters under the OGP disclosure policy.

Copies of the letters are to be provided later, the OGP said.  The OGP reply noted that “we have not yet made explicit to people that OGP corresponds with–Governments and others–that email sent to OGP is a matter of public record and not confidential unless explicitly stated as such, with good reason.” The OGP is checking with the governments “to seek their permission before disclosing the actual letters.”

Azerbaijan

The Government of Azerbaijan responded that in fact an Azerbaijani version of the Action Plan was placed on the Government’s webpage (http://www.antikorrupsiya.gov.az/) as of the Brasilia April 2012 meeting, but that after the Brasilia April 2012 meeting they decided to allow more time to incorporate all of the new ideas, experiences and approaches of other OGP countries they gained there, and extend their drafting process.

As of July the Action Plan was in its final stage of completion and the President signed the final version in early September 2012. The plan was subsequently translated into English and posted on the OGP website, in addition to the Government of Azerbaijan’s website.

Liberia

The Government responded informing us that Deputy. Min Norris Tweah of the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism, is the new OGP focal point following Liberia’s Presidential election last year, and put us in touch with him.

As of September, Dep. Min Tweah has since been in touch with the OGP Networking Mechanism to obtain advice on the action plan development process, seek out experts to think through the development of their action plan, and obtain contacts for their regional colleagues. Liberia reportedly also had its first multi-stakeholder meeting at the end of October to discuss progress on the country’s OGP action plan and the way forward.

Macedonia

The Government responded that it had submitted its Action Plan to OGP in June 2012.

The Government had not uploaded it directly to the OGP website, so the Support Unit remedied this.

Ghana

Following the letter, the U.S. Embassy reached out to Effie Simpson-Ekuban who works in the Ghanaian Public Sector Reform Secretariat. She reported that Ghana’s Action Plan was still not ready and that the Secretariat was working to put together a committee which it will chair to develop the action plan. She did not provide a date by when she thought the action plan would be completed.

Since then, the Government of Ghana has formed and begun regularly convening a local multi-stakeholder committee to inform the action plan’s development. They have also been in touch with the OGP Networking Mechanism.

[Ghana is aiming to produce a plan in december. For a recent media article on the OGP effort in Ghana, see here. Also see recent report in FreedomInfo.org.]

Mongolia

The Mongolian Government responded that a new Government was still being formed, and the number of ministries changed, therefore there would be a structural change and shift of duties and responsibilities.

On the OGP action plan, Mongolia had already developed a draft, but it was not finalized yet. It was planning to organize a national consultation on the draft, and then submit it to the new government for approval.

Plans Key to OGP Participation

The OGP letter explained that as detailed in OGP’s roadmap full participation in the initiative calls for five distinct steps after passing minimum eligibility criteria and sending a letter of intent to join:

1) Broad consultation with civil society on OGP commitments;

2) Development of an OGP action plan that includes at least one grand challenge;

 3) Participation in peer consultation with other OGP countries;

 4) Endorsement of OGP’s Declaration of Principles; and

5) Production a self-assessment report and cooperation with an independent assessment of your OGP action plan.

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