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Open government promotes the principles of transparency, integrity, accountability and stakeholder participation in support of democracy and inclusive growth. Countries around the world increasingly acknowledge that open government can improve government efficiency and effectiveness, while bringing the administration and its officials closer to citizens.

Kazakhstan has been working to make its government more open, and to engage citizens and civil society in the policy making process. To this end, it created public councils made up of civil society representatives and public officials.

Following the 2017 OECD Review on Open Government in Kazakhstan, OECD has been working with the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan to support the implementation of the Review’s recommendations. The Review highlighted the need for more clarity in the functions that the public councils are expected to perform, to ensure their transparency and increase their effectiveness.

This report focuses on improving the practices of public councils as mechanisms for stakeholder participation in Kazakhstan, drawing on the 2017 Recommendation of the Council of the OECD on Open Government. Specifically, it encourages the Kazakhstan authorities to develop guidelines that will cover all procedures pertaining to the functioning of public councils to reduce the level of discretion of each entity. It also provides recommendations on the methodologies required for public consultation in the regulatory process. Kazakhstan could also strengthen mechanisms for active and meaningful civil society participation in the assessment of local executive bodies’ performance, including of their effectiveness, responsiveness, and openness. Such mechanisms could include publishing the results of the assessments of their activities, and on the actions to be taken based on the results of these assessments.

To date, Kazakhstan authorities have taken steps to implement these recommendations, including passing two key laws on access to information and on the creation of public councils as instruments of government collaboration with civil society. In addition, the Ministry of Social Development has revised the model on which councils are created.

The present report was produced under the OECD Kazakhstan Country Programme, which seeks to facilitate the reforms in the areas of organisation and management of the public sector, decentralisation, openness and transparency, and gender-sensitive decision-making processes, in view of promoting Kazakhstan’s adherence to OECD instruments and use of good practices from OECD members.

The information, data, and evidence used to develop the recommendations were collected through desk research conducted by the OECD Secretariat, a fact-finding mission to Astana and the Western Kazakhstan region, and a qualitative survey disseminated to regional and municipal public councils.

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