Four years of Peruvian OGP: everything continues being the same.

Javier Casas[1]

In the last four years, no relevant change in the Peruvian public management has occurred due to participation in the global Open Government Partnership[2]   (OGP). The partnership was expected to bring improvements in the process to make policy, to help achieve the predicted results more efficiently, and to help apply the changes in a sustainable manner. Nothing has been verified with the OGP and the major challenge continues to improve the quality of public management.

The first OGP action plan 2012-2014 was made with important collaboration of civil society organizations in order to take into account the point of view of the so called Third and Private sectors. The government also asked officials of national public entities to participate. Finally the government assumed 47 commitments. But the OGP Independent Report Mechanism[3] (IRM) revealed a first evidence: the action plan reflected mainly the inputs from the State, and most contributions of the civil society were subsumed into them.

At the end of the first action plan in 2014, the information available allowed the IRM to conclude that just three commitments were achieved (5%). All were norms, two passed by the Congress (formal improvements to the Anti Corruption High Level Commission and the National Anti Corruption Plan, respectively) and the regulation of the FOI law passed  by the Prime Minister’s Office. The other 44 commitments never were clearly established. And now, in 2015, the Anti Corruption High Level Commission is in trouble, nobody remember the National Anti Corruption Plan, and the new regulation of FOI law is a dead letter.

The action plan shows also the government’s understanding about the meaning of the participatory process, because it’s focused on some relevant NGOs to receive the proposals of commitments of their respective networks. In the same way, they worked the implementation process. On the other side, interviews made by the IRM with civil organizations not included in this process, considered it scarcely participative from a wider view. For example, these organizations said that the government continued to not give value to the established forums to ask citizen opinions in sensitive sectors such as health or environment.

An explanation of the poor results of the action plan as a tool for change, is the level of government’s endorsement to it: just by the Secretary of Public Management, an office in the mid-level hierarchy of the Prime Minister’s Office. The responsibility for the Peruvian action plan was cloistered in this office and never has received political endorsement. Additionally, the inter-ministerial committee to monitoring the action plan did not contribute anything important. Other problem is the lack of autonomy of the Secretary in the international coordination of the OGP, because the Peruvian counterpart is the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

However, on May 2014 the Secretary of Public Management published the draft of the second action plan. A new story with some interesting changes: the number of commitments was reduced, information to do it was collected out of Lima, and the need to constitute a national body for the transparency was prioritized. Additionally, the plan assigned responsibilities for its implementation to some NGOs appointed by the government. Unfortunately, the same doubts stayed about indicators and the procedure to obtain accurate information in order to feed them.

But constant changes in the Prime Minister’s Office during the last eighteen months made the government unpredictable. Suddenly -and clearly out of term- on July 2015 the second action plan was approved, leaving out the main proposal coordinated with civil society: to create the independent body for transparency. This is the incontrovertible indicator of the disinterest or incapacity of the government (in fact, of the politicians) to do any transformative improvement in the public management. Additionally, the government indicated that the beginning of the plan was becoming retroactive to January, which is unreasonable.

The second Peruvian action plan was rejected by organizations of the civil society[4]. Then, what will the OGP do after the Peruvian announcement? Open government and diplomacy are placed in the scale.



[1] Javier was national researcher for the Independent Report Mechanism during the first action plan.  @javiercasas




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