The Open Government Partnership (OGP) works to advance the principles of innovation, collaboration, transparency and accountability as a new model of multisectoral, collaborative and co-responsible governance.
National Action Plans, through which civil society and governments work to design and implement concrete public policy commitments, are key tools in this process. The OGP has made significant strides in increasing the scope of these commitments, while its Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM) evaluates governments on the development and implementation of OGP’s action plans.
A key aspect of the success of these programs is the quality of implementation, which is a critical stage of the public policy cycle (Figure 1). This will ensure that governments get good IRM results.
The implementation of these action plans represent important challenges compared to their design because, while the latter activity falls on specific stakeholders in government and civil society, the implementation of each commitment implies that responsibility is transferred to various areas and people within the government, which dilutes the responsibilities and incentives to make an effort. These areas, in turn, require three factors to implement these actions successfully, namely, a high-level political commitment and understanding of the openness agenda, technical and human resources capabilities, and financial resources.
In this context, the GovTech ecosystem presents an alternative to address the implementation stage, building a new type of public-private partnerships, which would involve the private sector and high-impact investors in the effective delivery of opening agendas.
GovTech as an implementation mechanism
Since 2019, CAF—development bank of Latin America—has been promoting GovTech as the ecosystem where governments and startups collaborate to use data intelligence, digital technologies and a series of innovative methodologies to solve public problems.
To enable this new space, various governments are working to develop programs to make it easier for their teams to work with GovTech startups. These GovTech programs enable the implementation of public policies and value in Priority Open Government Areas, for example:
- Corruption. The Mexican Institute for Competitiveness works to identify corruption risks in public procurement.
- Gender. MediCapt uses data, encryption and cybersecurity mechanisms to reveal sexual violence patterns on a large scale.
- Public Spaces. Visor Urbano, based in Guadalajara, Mexico, supports improvements in territorial management and tax collection using land registry data and paperwork digitalization.
- Justice. Datasketch developed the Memory and Conflict Observatory to integrate data about armed conflicts as a contribution to the truth and historic record building processes in Colombia.
Joining the GovTech and Open Government agendas
For Open Government strategies, GovTech programs represent a commitment to include in the Action Plans, while ensuring agile, high-quality and low-cost solutions for their implementation to detonate an economic development policy focused on high value-added SMEs.
To move towards this vision, three concrete actions are proposed in the short and medium term:
- Include GovTech commitments in the National Action Plans,
- Promote dialogue between civil society and the private sector in order to trigger a robust and participatory ecosystem, and
- Link such commitments to funding schemes that allow a sustainable implementation of GovTech and open government policies in the long term.