Executive summary

Reforming and modernising the state through open government initiatives is one of the top priorities of the current government of Argentina. The country has made significant progress by creating an Open Government Roundtable, adopting a Law on the Right of Access to Public Information, and creating new tools for citizens to interact with the state.

In an effort to promote a more holistic approach to open government, Argentina, like many OECD countries, has promoted greater collaboration among all branches of power and levels of government, exploiting synergies and sharing good practices. To continue this move towards what the OECD Recommendation on Open Government defines as an “open state”, the Argentinian government needs to build on the opportunities offered by the extensive restructuring of its administration carried out in 2018. It should focus on institutionalising its ongoing efforts to ensure sustainability and continuity in the medium and long term.

Key findings and opportunities

  • Open government principles figure in key policy documents in Argentina. However, these policy documents, including the State Modernisation Plan, the Federal State Modernisation Commitment and the OGP Action Plan, are only partially linked to each other. There is a need for an overarching whole-of-government framework for open government.

  • As in many OECD countries, the Argentine Constitution contains a number of provisions on transparency, accountability, integrity, and stakeholder participation that provide a strong basis for open government strategies and initiatives. Argentina has taken an important step towards the creation of a robust legal framework for open government through the adoption of the Law on the Right of Access to Public Information (ATI) in 2016. Nonetheless, there are opportunities to further ensure the law’s effective implementation in the executive branch and promote the horizontal application across all branches of the state.

  • Argentina has made significant progress in fostering the effective co-ordination and implementation of its open government agenda. The National Open Government Roundtable, created in 2017 and formalised by the Government Secretary of Modernisation after a public consultation, marks an important step towards greater whole-of-government co-ordination and dialogue with civil society. However, the Roundtable’s mandate does not cover the country’s entire open government agenda and it does not currently involve key stakeholders such as academia and the private sector.

  • Moving the Government Secretariat of Modernisation, the country’s leading open government actor, to the Office of the Chief of Cabinet of Ministers, Argentina’s main centre of government institution, provides new opportunities to strengthen horizontal co-ordination and collaboration.

  • The government of Argentina has developed a variety of digital channels through which citizens and other stakeholders can interact with the government. While this is laudable, stakeholders lack an overview of the appropriate platforms through which they can engage with public officials and policy makers. The multitude of stakeholder participation initiatives that the government and provinces have developed provide a strong basis on which to build future collaborative policies and practices. The government’s ongoing efforts to unify existing platforms are of critical importance.

  • The executive decree that established Argentina’s national open data policy in 2016 and the focus on high-quality data in the open data portal Datos.gob.ar have helped create an enabling environment for open government. Locating the Secretariat in charge of open government and digital government in the Office of the Chief of Cabinet of Ministers offers great potential for further aligning the two reform agendas, and promoting the use of digital and open government across the administration.

  • Argentina has made substantial progress since 2016 in promoting monitoring and evaluation (M&E) practices across government. In the area of open government, various monitoring mechanisms and platforms allow periodical reporting on progress made, for example under the commitments of the Open Government Partnership Action Plan. Nevertheless, there are opportunities to further promote M&E of open government efforts within the National Administration and across level of governments.

  • Collaboration among branches of power, independent public institutions and levels of government to promote open government principles has increased significantly and Argentina has started actively moving towards an open state. However, there is currently no coherent implementation framework for the open state agenda and there is scope for greater horizontal and vertical collaboration.

Key recommendations

The Review’s main policy recommendations for the Argentinian government are as follows:

  • Create a National Open Government Steering Committee to co-ordinate the country’s entire open government agenda with all relevant stakeholders; organise regular Open State Meetings of the Committee to harmonise approaches.

  • Design and implement the National Open Government (or Open State) Strategy to enable a whole-of-government approach to open government. The Strategy could be developed within the framework of the National Steering Committee and its Open State meetings.

  • Involve all branches of power and levels of government in the development of the National Strategy to ensure it reflects a shared vision, common objectives and a common understanding of what open government entails.

  • Ensure the effective implementation of the Law on Access to Public Information through simple request procedures for citizens, clear legal enforcement and strong appeals procedures that create legal certainty for all actors involved.

  • Consider developing a strategic document or law on stakeholder participation to improve harmonisation and alignment of stakeholder participation practices.

  • Ensure close interaction among the different bodies within the Government Secretariat of Modernisation in charge of open government, digital government and open government data, to improve the design and delivery of public services, prioritise data publication, and foster data re-use.

    • Include specific monitoring and evaluation provisions in the recommended National Open Government (Open State) Strategy.

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