This is the third in our five part series of Q&As with selected countries and their experiences with the OGP process at the national level. This post is a Q&A with Veronica Cretu, President “CMB” Training Center, Coordinator of the Working Group on E-Governance/Open Government within the National Council for Participation in Moldova.
1. Describe the process
Moldova Action Plan on Open Government was elaborated in-house by E-Government Center during December 2011 – January 2012 and consulted with civil society representatives during January – March 2012. E-Government Center coordinated the consultation process with the World Bank’s Open Innovation Fund initiative for Moldova. As part of this initiative, World Bank supported four consultation meetings that took place at its premises in Chisinau, and which facilitated the participation of about 100 civil society representatives. The Good Governance project of Moldova Soros Foundation had also joined efforts in consulting the Action Plan, thus, inviting key civil society leaders to a round table meeting at Soros Foundation. Involvement of regional civil society organizations was ensured through “Moldova civil society strengthening program” of FHI 360.
Around 130 representatives of the civil society organizations took part in the consultation meetings on the Open Government Action Plan. These were representatives of National Council for Participation, National NGO Council, think-tanks, and other national and local NGOs, that expressed their position vis-à-vis the actions proposed for implementation. Thus, the team of E-Government Center received above 80 comments/recommendations to the initial draft of the Action Plan. Additionally, the AP received around 25 comments and recommendations from international community via LinkedIn and e-mail.
The dynamics of the involvement of the civil society representatives in the consultation process was very good, however most of the meetings were attended by the same participants all the time (around 40% of the total number of civil society representatives who took part in consultations). Overall, the consultation process on Moldova Open Government Action Plan was based on a number of important principles and values, which contributed in turn, to an effective consultation process and resulted in a comprehensive Action Plan.
2. Describe two things that were really good about the consultation, why it worked, and one thing that was not so good about it
- Good: The consultation process came in synergy with other initiatives (=ecosystem) implemented at that moment in Moldova with support from World Bank (Open Innovation Fund for Moldova);
- Good: Feedback from civil society came in track changes before a new consultation meeting, so this allowed everyone see what comments, suggestions and recommendations were already made, and helped in identifying new aspects, dimensions to be included/considered;
- To be improved: Summary of all feedback received, what feedback was considered, what was not and why, was never provided to those participants in the consultation process;
- To be improved: The civil society “representativity” and reach out to CSO’s outside capital city;
- To be improved: More active involvement of the business sector, especially IT industry as well as of public sector representatives, at least one representative from each Ministry.
3. What would your advice be for a new OGP member country- both for the government and for the civil society actors
- CONSULTATION METHODOLOGY: Apply research approach to consultation by having very clear planning of the a) objectives (define the level and focus of consultation), b) target groups (define all groups that might have a stake in OGP), c) appropriate consultation methodology and tools (include at least 2 tools to reach the same target group), d) plan needed resources and partners support, e) plan a proper communication/feedback strategy after the end of consultation process. (Provide a table of recommendations/feedback from all consulted stakeholders both during the consultation process, and after the approval of the Action Plan. It is important to indicate what recommendations were considered for final version of the Action Plan and which ones were not, and what were the main reasons for excluding them);
- Apply multichannel consultation methodology: in most of the cases a proper consultation methodology requires use of direct, mobile and internet strategies in order to reach/involve all target groups.
- MEDIA TOOLS: Use different media and communication tools to reach out to civil society representatives from across the country during the consultation process on OGP. Reach out both rural and urban CSOs representatives;
- CSOs can collaborate with local TV stations and organize live TV talk-shows during which representatives responsible for OGP are invited to talk and share about the benefits and estimated impact of the OGP for the country at central and local level.
- WHERE DID MY RECOMMENDATIONS GO: Ask for the comments, feedback, recommendations provided to the Action Plan prior to having a consultation meeting/new round, so that CSOs are able to analyze what has been recommended up to this moment and are able to generate new ideas, bring in new input without being repetitive over and over again.
- AWARENESS OF OGP AGENDA: Meet with your country’s partners in development (agencies for development, etc.) to raise awareness of the importance of OGP Agenda for the country, as well as about the need to integrate in future country strategies support for OG related initiatives (monitoring, evaluation of public services, governance processes, etc.).