Self-Assessment Reports and IRM

special_reportA number of countries have released their self-assessment reports on their participation in the Open Government Partnership and the completion of their respective action plans so far. Thirty-two countries have already published their reports, most of them in English and some available in their respective languages, specifically Colombia, Dominican Republic, Greece, Guatemala, Indonesia, Israel and Paraguay.

The self-assessment reports are annual, to be published at the end of each 12-month implementation cycle. They assess government performance in making progress toward achieving their open government commitments and implementing their action plan. The first deadline was for the eight founding member countries of OGP, set on March 31, 2013. Most countries, Georgia among them, joined the initiative later, in April 2012, and thus the deadline for the submission of the report was September 30, 2013. However, only a part of the member countries have submitted the reports, and Georgia was not among them.

 The countries that have so far submitted the reports are: Albania, Armenia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Estonia, Greece, Guatemala, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Kenya, Latvia, Macedonia, Mexico, Moldova, Montenegro, Norway, Paraguay, Peru, Romania, Philippines, South Africa, Ukraine, United Kingdom and United States.

The self-assessment process is a good opportunity for the governments to examine problems associated with the implementation of their respective action plans, reflect on the feedback received from the general public and the civil society and come up with ways to improve and build upon previous achievements.

The reports carefully examine most aspects of the countries’ participation in the initiative. It should be noted that they pay equal attention to the process of the development of national action plans, communication with the civil society and what can be improved in the future. Many reports also examine the commitments taken within the frameworks of OGP and how many of these were actually implemented over year since the official start of the initiative. For example, the U.S. report claims that 24 of its 26 goals were accomplished. The U.K. says it achieved 14 of its 36 goals. According to the Philippines’ report, it fulfilled seven of its 19 goals.

Some of the reports analyze the action plans and their main criticisms. In the UK report, for instance, two main criticisms of the action plan were pointed out: the plan was too much/only focused on Open Data and the UK Government did not engage with CSOs as effectively as they wished. On the other hand, many reports point out that the overall feedback regarding their action plans was positive and they were met with enthusiasm by the general public.

Along with the self-assessment reports, the Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM) has released the reports of independent experts on the eight founding member countries of OGP: United States, United Kingdom, Indonesia, Mexico, Philippines, Norway, Brazil and South Africa.

IRM is an extremely important tool for the Open Government Partnership that lets independent experts to write and publish reports annual reports on the performance of their assigned countries within the frameworks of the initiative. The mechanism was implemented only this year. The deadline for the so called second cohort countries (those that joined OGP in April 2012) was September 30, 2013, and they have yet to be published on the official website of the Partnership.

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