Participation of the Republic of Croatia in the OGP Initiative

At the end of August 2011 the Republic of Croatia sent an official letter of intent for its participation in the Open Government Partnership, thus undertaking a commitment of drafting a national action plan and presenting it to other countries participating in this Initiative at the annual meeting in April 2012.
The wider interested public participated in the drafting process of the Action Plan for the implementation of the Initiative in Croatia, via organized public discussions and on-line consultation conducted.

The first public discussion was organized by the Cabinet of the President of the Republic of Croatia, the Government Office for Cooperation with NGOs and the US Embassy in Croatia, and held on September 14th 2011, with 180 participants (representatives of state bodies, civil society organizations, academic community, media and diplomatic choir).
The public consultation on the priority issues of the Action Plan for the OGP implementation in Croatia was held on January 31st 2012, and it was organized by the Government Office for Cooperation with NGOs, Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, US Embassy in Croatia, as well as supported by the EU program IPA 2009. There were 100 participants (representatives of state bodies, civil society organizations, academic community, media and diplomatic choir).
The final public consultation was organized by the Government Office for Cooperation with NGOs ON March 26th, and it included 40 participants (representatives of state bodies, civil society organizations and academic community).
The on-line consultation on the priority issues that will be covered by the Action Plan was opened in the period between January 27th and February 13th 2012.

The Council of Partnership for Open Government was established by the Government’s Decision on January 26th 2012. The Council includes representatives of state, local and regional government, civil society organizations, academic community and media.

Action Plan for the implementation of the OGP Initiative in Croatia for the period 2012-2013, which was adopted by the Croatian Government at its session held on April 4th 2012, was made on the basis of conducted public consultations, discussions at the Council’s sessions and statements delivered by public administration bodies determined as implementing bodies and co-implementing partners of the measures. The Action Plan was presented at the OGP annual conference held on April 17th-18th in Brazil. The purpose of the Action Plan was the following: to improve quality and efficiency of public resource management by implementing measures in fiscal transparency, access to information, IT use and citizens’ participation in public-policy making. The Action Plan includes four priority areas: fiscal transparency, access to information, IT use and participation of citizens and civil society, while the implementation of 9 measures and 34 implementing activities has been predicted, with the aim of fulfilling the goals of these priority areas.

At its session held on September 26th 2013 the Croatian Government adopted the Report on the Implementation of the Action Plan for OGP Initiative implementation in the Republic of Croatia for the period 2012-2013. The Report showed certain significant results accomplished during the first year of the Initiative implementation, especially in the area of improving the consultation with the interested public and the right to access information, although there are still certain challenges that need to be solved in the upcoming period. This primarily refers to the IT results predicted by the Action Plan. On the other hand, the Croatian Government, i.e. certain ministries and other state bodies have implemented a significant number of other activities contributing to the goals set by the Action Plan, by which the Croatian Government has proved its intention to implement the principles and standards committed by its accession to the OGP Initiative.
Based on the self-assessment of the Action Plan implementation, as well as on the results of the Independent Report made by an independent expert elected at the Initiative international level, it can be clearly seen that, despite the fact that significant results have been achieved, it is necessary to put additional effort in achieving transparency and openness as the guiding principles of good governance.

Having considered many benefits for the citizens brought by the implementation of open government standards, primarily by improving public service provision, larger accessibility of state administration bodies and bigger trust of the public as the key factors of sustainable economic and social development, as well as acknowledging the need for continuous exchange and mutual support among the countries participating in this global initiative, the Croatian Government is determined to continue the OGP initiative implementation in the Republic of Croatia.
Therefore, at the end of 2013 the drafting of a new Action Plan for the OGP initiative implementation in the period 2014-2016 was started, having taken into account the previous experiences and lessons learnt, and the Action Plan was developed in cooperation with a wide circle of stakeholders from different sectors. The Croatian Government adopted the Action Plan for the OGP initiative for the period 2014-2016  at its session held on July 10th 2014. The new Action Plan predicts 16 measures and 46 implementing activities, which will be implemented by 20 state bodies by the year 2016, in the following four key areas:
  • improvement of legal framework for achieving the right to access information
  • proactive announcement of information and open data
  • transparency of public administration work, with the emphasis on fiscal transparency
  • participation of the public in public-policy making and implementing

In July 2012 the Global Integrity, an international organization which promotes responsibility and transparency of government work, published the initial analysis of the action plans presented to the Initiative’s Steering Committee by April this year by the governments of the countries that joined the OGP initiative.

The Action Plans had been analyzed by the SMART methodology (Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Relevant, Time-bound). Generally speaking, the analysis provides the reasons for optimism- more than 70% of delivered action plans meet at least 4 out of 5 SMART criteria, while a smaller number of total 42 plans meet only 2 or less criteria. The biggest shortfall of the action plans was noticed in the definition of implementation indicators- only a little less than half of the countries have defined the indicators for measuring the improvement of implementation of measures. Somewhat better results have been achieved referring to defining time framework for the implementation- 40% (about 20 countries) did not define the deadlines for the implementation of activities.

What needs to be mentioned is that the Global Integrity has noted that the countries previously identified as those taking significant steps toward ensuring an open government have expectedly made some of the strongest action plans, including Croatia among such countries (along with Brazil, Canada, Israel and Moldavia). The Action Plans of these countries have met all the five criteria, which is another confirmation of the quality of the Action Plan for the implementation of the OGP initiative in the Republic of Croatia for the period 2012-2013.

More information about the analysis made by the Global Integrity can be found here.