OGP Reviewers Report; Several Countries Missing

3 February 2014

The Open Government Partnership on Feb. 3 published on its website 19 reports by independent reviewers who evaluated countries’ progress toward fulfilling their national action plan objectives.

Publication of the reports triggers a two-week public comment period, as described in a Jan. 28 blog post by OGP Deputy Director Joe Powell. A Feb. 3 blog post by OGP staffer Joe Foti describes the process and some changes that have been made.

The 19 countries are: Albania, Armenia, Canada, Chile, El Salvador, Estonia,Czech Republic, Georgia, Greece, Guatemala, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Paraguay, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Uruguay and Tanzania.

Sixteen more reports are expected out soon, for a total of 35 reports on countries that formally joined OGP at the Brasilia Summit in April 2012, the so-called cohort 2. Earlier reports were issued in November for the eight founding members. (See previous FreedomInfo.org report.) Other reports will be prepared this year for countries that joined later and are members of cohorts 3 and 4.The OGP now has 63 members.

Four Countries Late

There were originally 39 countries in cohort 2, but four have dropped behind. Netherlands has officially moved back because Parliament only recently approved the national action plan. The independent review for the Netherlands will come out next January.

Turkey, Malta and Lithuania have yet to finish self-assessments of their action plans, which were due Sept. 30 and appear not to have implemented their commitments. Their status is uncertain, FreedomInfo.org was told.

The 35 countries now will be writing their second national action plans, due on June 15. Powell’s blog post suggests activities for public involvement.

Reports Rate Progress

The reports include some quantitative evaluation of progress on implementation the action plans.

For Greece, for example, the reviewer said only one of 11 goals was completed and that substantial progress was being made to complete another. For seven other goals, however, progress was rated as “limited” and on two others work had “not started.”

The new progress reports include several new features — qualitative assessments of two variables for each commitment or major action found in the executive summary, Foti wrote. The reviewers judged how potentially transformative commitment might be in the policy area and also recorded whether a commitment was based on an action that pre-dated the action plan. Foti is Program Manager of the OGP’s Independent Reporting Mechanism.

“In order to identify the strongest, most potentially impactful commitments, those commitments which were completely or mostly achieved, which had a high potential impact, and which were relevant to OGP values were given stars,” Foti also said. “This gives the reader a more rapid means of assessing the major accomplishments of a country.

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