OGP: Opportunities for civil society

The Open Government Partnership (OGP) is an international alliance of more than 70 countries, which seventeen are from Latin America and the Caribbean. This global initiative has the objective to promote transparency, fight against corruption, broaden the social participation and achieve an open, effective and accountable government in the management of the budget and public information.

Even though a government open to citizenship is more related to an anti-corruption work, it is also a key opportunity for governance and specifically in regions with exploitation of natural resources to prevent and / or reduce conflicts.

Peru formally joins to the OGP in 2012 with the approval of its Action Plan 2012-2014 (Ministerial Resolution No. 085-2012-PCM), which had the participation of civil society for its elaboration.

One of the requirements to be part of OGP is the involvement of civil society. Therefore, in the first plan of action, the role of civil society was active, its representatives are part of the "Open Government Forum (Foro de Gobierno Abierto)" -made up of civil society organizations interested in transparency and access to information, including Derecho, Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (DAR).

The principal demand of civil society was the creation of a National Authority for Transparency and Access to Information with functional and administrative autonomy, along with the access to socio-environmental information in extractive industries and commitments to climate change. Likewise, the participation of the most vulnerable populations to extractive projects, indigenous peoples; the contribution of their information needs is basic in multicultural countries. So OGP should promote their vision in these processes.

Although the "Authority for Transparency" is a "reality" in Peru, it presents deficiencies that civil society has identified and requests to improve:

  • real autonomy of the authority, because it is an office inside the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights (MINJUS);
  • effective sanctions against officials who deny information to the public and not be limited that the public authorities transmit their complaints to a court - unlinked to the "Authority" and also dependent on the MINJUS;
  • no violation of the constitutional right of Peruvians to access information under the excuse that it is secret, reserved or confidential, through the generation of directives elaborated by the public sectors, under the coordination of the "Authority";
  • rectification of a deadline in the delivery of information to seven days (as indicated by law) and not of ten as indicated by Legislative Decree 1353 creating this "Authority", finally, the elimination of the power that allows institutions Public - within those ten days - inform the public of a new date for the response of requests for access to information.

On this last point, there are parameters in the Political Constitution of Peru on what is secret, reserved or confidential. The elaboration of guidelines can be the breeding ground to endorse and return to a secretive stage in the public sector that is so damaging to the country's governance.

Just as in Peru, many countries present these problems, not only in terms of transparency, but also in the transparency of environmental management and evaluation in the extractive sector. From the local, national and international articulation of civil society, a higher standard could be promoted in access to information via the OGP.

Versión en español aquí.