On Friday, March 26, the National Directorate of Open Government held a bilateral meeting with its counterpart from the Government of Canada and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), where it presented the Open Government Strategic Plan (2020-2023) and we shared the lessons learned so far.
The coordination of the meeting was facilitated by the Open and Innovative Government Division of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, while the meeting is part of the cooperation between the OECD and the Government of Canada that seeks to support the creation of the Open Government Strategy which includes exchanges of good practices between member states and OECD partners. Thus, the Argentine government was called in to share its experience in designing its national strategy. The OECD’s Open Government Project Coordinator, David Guissman, highlighted the Argentine initiative to develop an Open Government strategic plan based on recommendations Open Government Study in Argentina (2018), With the emphasis that unifying the national strategy is one of the guidelines proposed by the international organization in Open Government Council Recommendation (2017).
On behalf of the Canadian government, Melanie Robert, Executive Director of Open Government in the Office of the Director of Information at the Canada Treasury Council has partnered with her team. Canadian authorities were interested in understanding the origin of the plan, citizen and key stakeholder participation, as well as its implementation in a hypothetical context.
The National Director of the Open Government, Carolina Cornejo, began her intervention by reviewing Argentina’s path in terms of open government and noting that other than the membership of the Open Government Alliance, there is an organizational framework that supports the agenda for decades, including the decree. 1172/03 which provides mechanisms for access to information and citizen participation, up to the most recent Law 27275 regarding the right to access public information, among other things.
In addition, Cornejo emphasized that the plan is part of a multi-year strategy that goes beyond the OGP action plans and aims to be a comprehensive guide to implementing transparency, accountability, and citizen participation measures. Likewise, stress the decision to design the plan collaboratively. The aim of this year-long process was to broaden the open government ecosystem and incorporate the perspectives of different actors and sectors on the agenda. For this, it was highlighted that the methodology used included both progressive and discontinuous cases. The National Director described the coordination of various workshops and in-depth interviews, as well as holding an open public consultation for citizens from January 21 to March 8 of this year, through which 200 ideas were received. From this survey, it was described in detail how the plan measures and indicators were built, a process currently under development, and lessons learned as well as next steps to follow were shared. “This process helped us understand the importance of developing a narrative style and an open government approach according to management priorities and the visions and incentives of different groups, sectors, levels of government and citizens,” said Cornejo. In addition, he stressed the importance of enhancing cooperation in all stages of strategy design, organizing results and, above all, having a flexible and easy-to-adapt working methodology, especially considering that all business in Argentina had been developed in a one-year pandemic. .
After the presentation, a space was created for exchange and reflection, where Robert congratulated the National Directorate team for the work done, adding that the initiative of the Strategic Plan was very complete, ambitious and revolutionary. He also spoke about the importance of integrating initiatives related to open government with other organizations in a simple way in order to implement the strategy in a more comprehensive manner. For his part, Guisman stressed the usefulness of the presentation and the importance of sharing Argentina’s experience with more people and countries. Indeed, these bilateral exchanges coordinated by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development with the government of Canada will accompany the publication of a study at the end of 2021.
Towards the end of the meeting, questions were answered about the composition and roles of the Argentine team, the relationship between the strategic plan and the open federal government program, and other concerns related to the hypothetical design process.
It should be noted that this type of international cooperation activities is one of the components of the Open International Government pillar, and it is one of the five axes of the Open Government Strategic Plan (2020-2023).