In the path to an open government, Costa Rica has this year the challenge of presenting its second national action plan. This had to be presented on June 30, but is currently in the final stage of its creation.
This delay, which at first glance looks like a breach of the commitments made within the Open Government Partnership, has become a great opportunity for learning, in which government, civil society, business and academy had been involved.
Faced with the challenge of conducting a true co-creation, civil society and government leaders have developed a process of consultation and building consensus. This has been possible thanks to the decided and real support of two key figures of the Ministry of the Presidency: Vice Minister for Political Affairs and Citizen Dialogue, Ana Gabriel Zuniga and his advisor, Francela Valerín.
They, with a group of collaborators in the ministry, have been the government counterpart in a process characterized by mutual respect and openness to reach consensus. All this with the aim that the plan, which will begin the public consultation final process, reflects the proposals, not only from the government but also from civil society.
When our organization assumed the challenge of leading the construction from civil society of the proposals of commitment for the national action plan, we thought that placing our proposals before government was to be a very complicated task. Being used to traditional forms of participation, in which, citizenry’s voice is taken into account only for the consultation, we had low positive expectations that our proposals were to be taken into account and respected.
Although it has not been easy and has required enormous effort to keep a permanent and effective communication, we want to acknowledge that this two government officials have devoted to open and defend the necessary spaces for the proposals to be analyzed and evaluated in equal conditions with the government ones, and defending this before superiors and colleagues.
At this time, we can say with pride and happiness that the plan to be consulted integrates, fully or partially, 13 out of the 15 commitments presented by civil society.
Not satisfied with the fact that the commitments have been originated in a citizen process, this ministry office has made an effort to validate through its own calls the proposals presented, so they would have more strength and representativity, and have opened roads for the civil society organizations that have participated in this process, to establish links with the institutions for the seeking of future collaboration relations.
The list of actions is long and they begin from the joint construction of the working methodology to the execution of workshops, meetings, forums and the approval of a decree to make reality the beginning of the work of the National Commission for an Open Government, with the participation of government officials, civil society, business and academy representatives.
We are learning and we have a lot to do before us, but there is certainly the political will to do this together.
This is why we are pleased to formally nominate the Ministry of Political Affairs and Citizen Dialogue, represented by the the figure of these two government officials, for the OGP Government Champions Award.