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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 better engage citizens and civil society in the policy-making process. To this end, it established a Commission on Access to Information.

In 2017, the OECD conducted an Open Government Review of Kazakhstan as part of its Kazakhstan Country Programme. The review recommended mainstreaming the principles of transparency, accountability, integrity, and stakeholder participation in the country’s ongoing public sector reform process. In order to support the implementation of those recommendations, the OECD was asked to evaluate Kazakhstan’s new Commission on Access to Information against OECD principles and best practices.

Drawing on OECD’s extensive experience, this report assesses the law on access to information of the Republic of Kazakhstan in line with OECD standards and benchmarks the functions of the Kazakhstan Commission on Access to Information against those of similar access to information oversight bodies in relevant OECD countries. The analysis included a comparison of the legal nature, institutional structure and functioning of these institutions, with a focus on the presence and effectiveness of appeal mechanisms.

The findings presented in this report show that, unlike access to information oversight bodies in OECD member countries, Kazakhstan’s Commission lacks institutional and financial autonomy and is not legally empowered to effectively oversee the implementation of the law, especially with respect to decisions denying citizens’ access to information requests.

To address these differences and bring the Kazakhstan Commission closer to those of OECD countries, the Review proposes broadening the Commission’s mandate and reconsidering its institutional position under the Ministry of Information and Communications. It also suggests strengthening the Commission by including more representatives from civil society and academia, establishing a code of conduct and requiring higher academic qualifications of its members.

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https://doi.org/10.1787/3a8d6a0e-en

© OECD 2020

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