Chapter 2. Towards an open government strategy

Countries worldwide have been designing and implementing open government initiatives for many decades. With the creation of the Open Government Partnership (OGP), countries have started creating open government action plans that assemble a series of initiatives, include a calendar and milestones. While action plans have enabled governments to unite several actors around the same vision and create further awareness about ongoing initiatives, they do not offer a long-term vision with strategic objectives and corresponding actions. The OECD Recommendation on Open Government (hereafter “the OECD Recommendation”) therefore recommends to “take measures, in all branches and at all levels of the government, to develop and implement open government strategies and initiatives in collaboration with stakeholders and to foster commitment from politicians, members of parliament, senior public managers and public officials, to ensure successful implementation and prevent or overcome obstacles related to resistance to change” (OECD, 2017[1]).

In line with the principles of open government, such a strategy is ideally elaborated, implemented and evaluated as part of an inclusive process. Many countries have established open government committees (see Chapter 4) and developed a variety of participation mechanisms, such as online consultations and co-creation workshops.

As a first step towards creating a common vision of open government, the OECD recommends adopting a definition that unites all actors around a joint understanding of what open government aims to achieve. Such a definition can be based on the OECD Recommendation, on the definition of other international actors such as the OGP, or be the country’s own creation. Some 49% of countries across the OECD have a single definition (OECD, 2016[2]). In line with this practice, Lebanon has put forth its own open government definition which states that:

Open government is the simple but powerful idea that governments and institutions work better for citizens when they are transparent, engaging and accountable. Open government is the major building block for a more democratic, equal and sustainable society.

This definition was stated by the previous Minister of State for Administrative Reform, Minister Chidiac, on 24 June 2019, and has since been used as a working definition. The definition is an important step towards creating a joint vision of open government in Lebanon, and it should be widely disseminated among the public administration and citizens. This is particularly important as currently Lebanon does not have an open government strategy or action plan, but several rather independent initiatives.

As in many OECD and Middle East and North Africa (MENA) countries (see Figure 2.1), before the existence of a dedicated open government strategy or action plan, open government initiatives are being implemented in Lebanon in the framework of other strategies. The most notable of these strategies are the National Anti-corruption Strategy 2020-2025 and the draft Digital Transformation Strategy 2020-2030 and related implementation plan. Both strategies and action plans make reference to open government and promote the implementation of specific open government principles.

The draft 2019 Digital Transformation Strategy aims to transform the Lebanese public administration into one that harnesses digital technologies for innovation and for easier interaction with citizens. It considers a digital transformation at the heart of public service reform and provides a roadmap for how to achieve this transformation. The strategy includes open government as a focus area, highlighting that government should be based on transparency, collaboration and participation (Figure 2.2). The government strives to strengthen transparency and open data by making information accessible and clear, such as through the common portal where citizens, businesses and public sector organisations can access information on a centralised platform; by publishing government data in a high quality and open format on the open data platform and by making processes open, which involves providing information on how processes work. The country also aims to create “digital by default” open services and be responsive to citizen feedback, which includes enhancing participation by opening up the processes and services for co-creation. In addition to the specific focus area of open government, other focus areas, such as information, common standards, digital skills and collaboration, also support the implementation of open government principles. At the time of writing, the strategy has been transformed into a draft implementation plan 2020-2030 and submitted to the Ministerial Committee for review.

The draft implementation plan also considers open government as a foundation for digital transformation, and is built on the five pillars of people, innovation, processes, civic engagement and legal framework (see Figure 2.3).

Based on the digital transformation framework, the draft implementation plan includes eight programme pillars with several foreseen actions. A number of these actions contribute directly to enhancing the principles of open government as they aim to facilitate access to information, create awareness about open government among the public administration and citizens, and propose means for participation. The success in implementing the digital transformation will be measured through six key performance areas and their various sub-areas, several of which measure improvements regarding open government reform implementation (see Box 2.3). The draft implementation plan specifically mentions joining the OGP as a key performance indicator.

Lebanon recently adopted Law No. 175/2020 on 8 May 2020 on “Fighting Corruption in the Public Sector and establishing the National Anti-corruption Institution” as well as the National Anti-Corruption Strategy 2020-2025 on 12 May 2020. As part of this strategy, the government seeks to pave the way for the future establishment and activation of the National Anti-Corruption Institution. The strategy, which was adopted by the Anti-corruption Ministerial Committee, includes “enhancing transparency,” “enabling accountability,” and “ending impunity” as its objectives. Its vision furthermore highlights the principles of integrity by calling for “a prosperous society where the rule of law and integrity prevail and a democratic, fair and transparent state that manages the affairs of the country and invests its resources in a way that meets the requirements of development, quality and modernity.”

Open government is tightly linked to implementing the access to information law, proactive disclosure of information, and the involvement of citizens in decision-making processes. As such, the mission of the National Anti-corruption Strategy recognises the importance “protecting public funds and public affairs from corruption, to safeguard the rights of citizens and provide them with a decent livelihood, through the concerted efforts of the legislative, executive and judicial authorities and with the participation of public administrations, institutions, municipalities, trade unions, civil society, the private sector and the media.” (Republic of Lebanon, n.d.[9]) The implementation framework includes seven outcomes with several outputs and areas of work that directly contribute to open government initiatives (see Box 2.4).

While the Digital Transformation Strategy and the National Anti-corruption Strategy, and their respective action plans, are the most important strategic documents linked to open government, several other ongoing public sector reforms include open government initiatives. Notably, these include the national action plan for the implementation of the Right of Access to Information law (discussed in Chapter 3), the ongoing reforms regarding human resources (see Chapter 4), efforts to strengthen public sector procurement transparency and accountability, as well as OMSAR’s co-operation with the Central Inspection Board regarding the development of key performance indicators for the public sector, some of which aim to measure the implementation of open government principles.

Thus, even though there is no national open government strategy, Lebanon is already implementing a variety of open government initiatives, and has included several more in its strategic documents. In order to build awareness among the public administration and create a common vision of open government, as well as to inform citizens about ongoing initiatives, Lebanon could consider elaborating an open government action plan. This plan would build upon the abovementioned definition of open government and regroup all ongoing and planned open government related initiatives. The plan could be made public and be widely disseminated to all public administrations. It could be used to report regularly on implementation progress to all concerned stakeholders. While this approach does not call for the elaboration of more ambitious reforms, it could be a first step to building an open government community and awareness within and outside the public administration. This action plan could be updated through an inclusive process after a certain period (for example one year) to include new and more ambitious actions. It could be managed by OMSAR’s open government team, receive strategic direction from the sub-committee on open government, and could be elaborated through a process involving the recommended open government forum (see Chapter 4).

  • Elaborate an open government action plan that would group all ongoing and planned open government related initiatives into a common approach in order to foster an open government culture and stakeholder community inside and outside the public administration.

  • Disseminate the open government action plan and the open government definition to the public and the public administration as well as inform them regularly about implementation progress.

Going forward, update the open government action plan with more ambitious commitments developed through an inclusive process and eventually transform it into an open government strategy.


[5] Government of Lebanon (2019), Lebanon Digital Transformation: Strategies to Actions.

[2] OECD (2019), Open Government in Argentina, OECD Public Governance Reviews, OECD Publishing, Paris,

[1] OECD (2017), Recommendation of the Council on Open Government,

[4] OECD (2016), Open Government: The Global Context and the Way Forward, OECD Publishing, Paris,

[3] OGP (2018), OGP Participation and Co-Creation Toolkit, Open Government Partnership, (accessed on 15 November 2019).

[7] Province of Alberta (n.d.), Open Government Strategy,

[6] Republic of Lebanon (n.d.), National Anti-corruption Strategy 2020-2025.

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