The Government Office in co-operation with the ministries and the third sector has begun drafting a new action plan for Estonia’s Open Government Partnership (OGP) for the period of 2020–2022, which will be submitted to the Government next summer.
“Estonia has a good international reputation for open governance, and especially thanks to IT solutions,” said Taimar Peterkop, Secretary of State, at the opening seminar for the action plan.
Previous OGP action plans included 53 activities whose aim was to strengthen the digital state as well as disseminate good practices on inclusion and increase the competence for inclusion of officials. “The collective petitioning platform rahvaalgatus.ee has earned the most international attention among Estonia’s OGP activities,” said the secretary of state and called for even bolder thinking and action in areas not yet covered to support the principles of open governance.
Henry Kattago, Strategy Director of the Government Office, stressed that now is the right time to set new goals, as many of Estonia’s strategic development documents will expire in 2020 and a long-term comprehensive strategy, “Estonia 2035”, is being prepared, which will agree on the objectives and reforms to be achieved in the next fifteen years.
Discussions on the “Estonia 2035” reform agenda identified points of contact with open governance in, inter alia, circular economy and knowledge-based governance. The supportive influence of the principles of open governance on improving cooperation between the state, local authorities, and communities and thereby reducing regional disparities was also highlighted. “We need to develop a dialogue culture in Estonia,” said Teele Pehk, a spokeswoman for the civil society.
Maarja-Leena Saar from the Estonian Cooperation Assembly indicated that many of the planned reforms require prudent use of data, and asked, “Who controls the world-view of the kratt and how?” (Kratt is a creature from Estonian folklore). If Estonia is moving towards proactive automated services, the state should also have a mechanism in place to ensure that algorithms do not discriminate against vulnerable target groups, for whom the standard solution may not be suitable.
Alari Rammo, the leader of the OGP round table, raised the question of whether the Estonian OGP action plan should not focus on creating a collectively developed creative toolbox for policy making that takes into account the needs of the state, local government, and the private and public sectors.
The opening seminar of the OGP action plan was attended by about twenty experts and representatives of the civil society, including the Network of Estonian Nonprofit Organizations, the Estonian United Youth Association, the Estonian Village Movement “Kodukant”, the Estonian Cooperation Assembly, the E-government Academy, and Transparency International Estonia.
The focus areas of the Estonian OGP action Plan will be agreed upon by the ministries and the civil society and the result will be presented to the Government of the Republic next summer.
The OGP is an international initiative aimed at increasing openness and transparency in exercising public authority and contributing to the dialogue with the people. Estonia joined the OGP in 2012 and the partnership currently has 76 members. The activities of the OGP are planned and implemented in cooperation with the state and the civil society with two-year action plans.
Additional information: Ott Karulin, Adviser to the Strategy Unit of the Government Office, 693 5222, ott.karulin[at]riigikantselei[dot]ee