TNRC Guide The Open Government Partnership and Anti-Corruption in Conservation: Templates for Collective Action

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The Open Government Partnership and Anti-corruption in Conservation: Templates for Collective Action

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This TNRC Guide shares practical knowledge for program designers and implementers to leverage the Open Government Partnership to reduce corruption’s impact on conservation.


1. Untapped potential for conservation and change

The Open Government Partnership (OGP) is a collaboration of over 150 national and local governments and more than 1000 civil society partners working to promote transparent, participatory, inclusive, and accountable governance. OGP offers a promising opportunity to bring transparency, participation, and accountability to the governance of natural resources, as participating governments collaborate with their civil societies to commit to concrete, impactful reforms to bring transparency, accountability, and participation to bear on the most relevant and important challenges those publics face.

Networks of government champions, civil society reformers, and concerned citizens have already leveraged OGP to transform the status quo of natural resource management in their countries and municipalities. For example, Uruguay developed a nation-wide water management plan through extensive and inclusive consultations with the population. Albania deployed an electronic system and network of observation posts for identifying and stopping illegal logging. And various governments have committed to foundational shifts in environmental democracy and transparency around natural resources.

Conservation organizations around the world can and should enter this collaborative space and leverage the opportunity OGP presents in their countries. Conservation groups’ expertise, leadership, networks, and stakeholder connections would be highly valued in developing impactful, relevant action plans. At the same time, national OGP networks have five, eight, and in some cases ten years of shared successes and challenges from which conservationists can learn. As conservation organizations well know, visibility, credibility, and learning from others are valuable benefits to working in partnership. In the open government space, OGP offers all three.

This guidance shows how offices might join their countries’ action plan development processes. Many organizations have developed tools, resources, and templates to assist action plan developers interested in key topics, like the environment. In that spirit, this guidance provides three example commitment areas to demonstrate how OGP can help achieve transformational change toward conservation objectives:

  • Beneficial Ownership Transparency to Reduce Deforestation
  • Openness and Integrity for Wildlife Law Enforcement
  • Transparency and Participation to Protect Marine Protected Areas

These examples are specifically intended to complement a tool called the Anti-Corruption Commitment Creator, which provides a process, guiding questions, and resources for commitment designers. But if the information provided is too complex, or if offices are still unsure how to get started, TNRC encourages interested stakeholders to reach out. As well, the following “questions you will probably ask” (PAQs, instead of FAQs) provide more detail.

PAQ ONE: Does my government participate in OGP?


Governments have to meet certain minimum eligibility requirements around transparency and civic engagement in order to participate in OGP. In countries that are not yet eligible, conservation organizations’ broader work around environmental and human rights defenders or fiscal openness is likely already promoting the reforms required to achieve eligibility. Other countries are eligible, but do not yet participate in OGP. In those cases, the open government principles of transparency, participation, and accountability are still a useful framework for advancing conservation goals. Organizations may also wish to join the existing networks pushing for the government to join OGP. The lists of countries and local governments with each example commitment below do already participate in OGP and are a subset for whom that commitment topic might be particularly relevant.

PAQ TWO: Some governments engage in “green washing,” where they use international forums to over-represent how environmentally friendly they are. How does OGP avoid “open washing?”


For those governments that do participate, the OGP process ensures that stakeholders participate and can raise needed criticism where progress falls short. Countries make their commitments in action plans developed in a mandatorily open and collaborative way via multi-stakeholder forums (MSF) and with progress monitored by an Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM). If governments repeatedly fail to follow the process, or fall below the eligibility requirements and fail to re-achieve eligibility, their participation can also be suspended. The independent progress reports make sure commitment implementation is openly tracked, and they are required to include a diversity of perspectives in action plans, including those that political leaders may not wish to hear. OGP’s high-level meetings, which gather heads of state, global advocates, and on-the-ground practitioners, have often included powerful moments of speaking truth to power.

Finally, OGP occasionally takes extraordinary action when particularly egregious acts (e.g., invasions, military coups) occur. This action may be precipitated by complaints made to OGP’s formal and rapid response mechanisms.

PAQ THREE: I see forests, wildlife, and marine protected areas in the guidance topics. Where is the broader fisheries sector?


The Fisheries Transparency Initiative (FiTI) is already working closely with OGP. Similar to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), countries implementing the FiTI must publish a variety of information key to reducing the opportunities for corruption and illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing. Countries must publish all fisheries laws and policies; all foreign fishing access agreements; data on harvest, trade, and subsidies; and more. They must also report on the status of various aspects of beneficial ownership transparency (BOT) in fisheries, which encourages countries to improve important BOT disclosures in the sector.

FiTI and OGP’s collaboration has produced some promising successes. In 2019, Seychelles committed to the FiTI as part of its OGP action plan. Once Seychelles published its first FiTI report in 2021, members of the national OGP multi-stakeholder group undertook a “Tour des Seychelles” to present and discuss the findings with fisheries stakeholders. That same year, Senegal committed to the FiTI as part of its OGP action plan, and OGP joined FiTI’s board as an observer. Many of FiTI’s committed and targeted countries are also OGP participating countries, representing a promising and synergistic opportunity for advocates of transparently and sustainably managed fisheries across the world.

PAQ FOUR: Why beneficial ownership transparency?


A district-level official approved public land sales to companies secretly owned and controlled by his family, to then resell the rights to palm oil developers at enormous profits. The head of an international logging company made public declarations of the company’s efforts to respect land rights, prevent deforestation, and otherwise operate sustainably. A subsidiary, however, hidden under several layers of ownership, continued to carry out the “dirty work” of expelling local landowners and clearcutting forest for timber farming.

These are both real examples. They illustrate the destructive cost for biodiversity when the ultimate or “beneficial owners” of companies can be hidden. BOT, therefore, is one of the most important foundational steps to preventing corrupt and illegal activity, identifying abuses when they occur, and enforcing the law for those ultimately responsible. It is also a theme where there is significant momentum in, and potential technical support available through, OGP.

PAQ FIVE: Why openness and integrity in wildlife law enforcement?


Wildlife crimes (meaning here activities like poaching, illegal harvesting, and trafficking) may not be a law enforcement priority, despite their devastating effect on countries’ biodiversity and the increasing involvement of transnational organized crime groups. Those crimes may have lower penalties, or other types of crime may be deemed higher priorities by time and resource-strapped agencies. Wildlife crimes are often enabled by corruption, both at the initial act and during the process of investigating and enforcing the law. Without addressing corruption, efforts to improve law enforcement to protect wildlife will see limited success.

Open engagement with civil society has proven one of the more impactful ways to reduce corruption risks and improve law enforcement for wildlife. According to the OECD, “there are positive linkages between the engagement of non-governmental actors and outcomes for illegal wildlife trade cases…,” from collaborations to identify and arrest kingpins to the provision of “added transparency and visibility for illegal wildlife trade cases in the media and among communities.”

Multi-stakeholder collaborations like these, bringing government agencies and civil society together to tackle pressing problems, are the “cornerstone” of OGP. As well, justice is a major theme of focus for OGP, including topics like access to justice, reduction of impunity and judicial corruption, and proper oversight of law enforcement. It is also a theme where OGP participants are familiar with the context sensitivities (like what data is opened, what operations are participatory) that law enforcement topics require. Throughout the world, there are a great number of effective and specialized civil society groups dedicated to wildlife conservation, anti-corruption, justice, and good governance that can support these efforts.

PAQ SIX: Why transparency and participation for marine protected areas?


Conservationists have long pointed out that even though marine protected areas (MPAs) are critical, “poor management and lack of sound planning of our seas continue to render the vast majority of MPAs to mere lines on a map.” Corruption is a key part of this poor management, with research indicating “a crisis in which rent-seeking and resource-rent appropriation, weak institutional performance and political short-termism…obstruct the interface between fisheries, protected area management and conservation.”

The solution is “collaborative management and participatory governance” of MPAs, because “local actors (indigenous and coastal communities, fishermen, companies, organizations, other government sectors, etc.), are no longer mere spectators, they are now part of the processes.” This solution is admittedly broader than the other two example commitments in this guidance. But its key elements (legitimacy and voice, transparency and accountability, fairness and rights) correspond directly to the principles of open government. OGP, therefore, can be another avenue to promote the good governance reforms on which MPAs depend.

NOTE: While this guide uses “protected area” for simplicity, the commitments outlined below would be just as applicable to other effective conservation measures (OECMs), including terrestrial areas.

PAQ SEVEN: These examples are interesting, but in my country the main issue is something different. What should I do?


These examples should provide ideas about the types of information and problem analysis you need to pull together, the partners you might want to look for, and the ways open government can be applied to almost any issue. You can also reach out to [email protected] or your local open government network, by finding your country here here and selecting “Multi-stakeholder Forum” under “Contacts.” We would be happy to help.

PAQ EIGHT: I’m convinced! How do I get started?


Fantastic! Just keep scrolling!

2. OGP example commitment: Beneficial ownership transparency to reduce deforestation

NOTE: This is the standard OGP commitment template, with guiding information and bracketed text indicating where additional context needs to be added. An interested stakeholder, like a national WWF or TRAFFIC office, would join the existing multi-stakeholder forum and action plan development process to include a commitment like this into that plan.

Remember to refer to the Anti-Corruption Commitment Generator for step-by-step instructions to use this information to develop a specific commitment for your country or locality!

Country

The following countries participate in OGP, are deforestation “hotspots,” and have made relevant BOT commitments or reforms:[1] Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Côte d’Ivoire, Ecuador, Guatemala, Indonesia, Liberia, Mexico (also a member of the Beneficial Ownership Leadership Group), Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, and the United States.

In addition, the following countries have already made OGP commitments relevant to reducing deforestation.

  • Brazil committed in 2021 to improve the transparency of environmental licensing and other publicly held environmental data.
  • Colombia committed in 2020 to improving the transparency of its environmental information system, with deforestation and protected areas mentioned specifically.
  • Guatemala committed in 2021 to increase transparency, participation, and accountability across environmental efforts, including biodiversity and their nationally determined contribution.
  • Honduras committed in 2018 to participatorily developing a national climate change plan that included strategies around agriculture and biodiversity.
  • Jamaica committed in 2021 to improving civic participation and transparency in environmental impact assessments.
  • Mexico committed in 2019 to increase transparency and oversight across its fisheries, forestry, and water sectors.
  • North Macedonia committed in 2021 to a rural education campaign on agricultural and environmental regulations and good practices.
  • Peru committed in 2019 to improving environmental data disclosures.
  • Uruguay committed in 2021 to implementing a centralized system for environmental complaints and results tracking as well as a participatory process for developing the country’s nationally determined contribution.
  • Senegal committed in 2021 to strengthen participation in environmental policy and initiatives, including a nationwide reforestation campaign.
  • Serbia committed in 2020 to establish an environmental impact assessment portal and draft a law to increase transparency and local community oversight of protected areas.
  • Several countries have committed to Aarhus (Georgia) or Escazú (Ecuador, Panama) via their action plans.

Finally, several sub-national OGP participants have made deforestation-relevant commitments as well.

  • Santo Domingo de los Tsáchilas (Ecuador) committed in 2021 to co-create a public policy for reforestation and environmental care.
  • The local governments of Gwangju (Republic of Korea), Mendoza (Argentina), Peñalolén (Chile), Rosario (Argentina), and Scotland (United Kingdom) have all committed to expand options for local participation in climate change policy development.

Number and Name of the Commitment

[Part of template, intentionally left blank for commitment designers]

Brief Description of the Commitment

(Describe what the commitment wants to do and would like to achieve in less than 200 characters.)

[Part of template, intentionally left unchanged for commitment designers]

Commitment Lead

[This will depend on the specific context, but generally, the lead institution needs to have the capacity, legal authority, and scope to take the actions listed below. They also need to be bought in to the commitment; if committed without their knowledge, agencies will be unlikely to invest effort in implementation. For BOT to prevent deforestation, authority will probably be shared across agencies. All relevant agencies should be included as supporting stakeholders below, but good practice indicates that one agency should still be the lead.]

Supporting Stakeholders

Government

Civil Society

Other Actors (Parliament, Private Sector, etc.)

[BOT may require coordination across tax agencies, economic ministries, the justice ministry, and others. With the added theme of deforestation, the environmental ministry, ombudsperson, and attorney general will likely need to be involved, as will any agency with authority over the drivers of deforestation in the country, like agriculture.]

[Both international and national (and potentially subnational) organizations may be relevant. Internationally, the Beneficial Ownership Leadership Group, especially Open Ownership, would be a good place to start. Organizations like the Financial Action Task Force and TRAFFIC engage on the financial aspects of environmental crimes. At the national level, good governance organizations will likely already be involved in OGP and can join this commitment if relevant. Outreach efforts may be better focused on conservation organizations who may not yet be working on BOT.]

[Around a quarter of OGP participating countries lack beneficial ownership registration laws, and many of those that do have laws could make those laws stronger. This means participation from the national legislative body may be required. In addition, commitment designers may wish to involve the private sector. Some businesses can become champions for reforms that will level the playing field (e.g., making it harder to simply award licenses to companies owned by family members).]

Period Covered

[Part of template, intentionally left blank for commitment designers]

Problem Definition

[See Step #2 in the Anti-Corruption Commitment Generator for additional guiding questions]

1. What problem does the commitment aim to address?

Although the rate of forest loss has decreased in the past 30 years, deforestation, forest degradation, and biodiversity loss continue at a devastating rate. In [COUNTRY], [AMOUNT] hectares of forest have been lost… [See resources here, here, and here to contextualize this information to your country.] This is a tremendous contribution to climate change, risks from natural disasters like floods and drought, and loss of livelihoods for many of the most vulnerable communities.

[ADDITIONAL, COUNTRY-SPECIFIC DETAIL IF NEEDED]

2. What are the causes of the problem?

A majority of deforestation is related to large-scale agriculture. While many of the companies operating in this space follow the regulations and voluntary commitments to limit their contribution to deforestation, some violate those restrictions, using corrupt means to do so and to escape detection and punishment. [NOTE: You can use these resources to help identify more specific drivers in your context, like the top industries contributing to deforestation in your country. Then, consider the following example questions to help complete this box for your context.

Commitment Description

[See Step #3 and “Additional Information” in the Anti-Corruption Commitment Generator for additional guiding questions]

1. What has been done so far to solve the problem?

BOT is one of the most important foundational steps to preventing corrupt and illegal activity related to deforestation, identifying abuses when they occur, and enforcing the law for those ultimately responsible.

[To complete this box for your context, consider:

  • What is the current status of BOT in the country, and how does that compare to full BOT? Are any of the relevant business sectors exempted from existing BOT requirements? What has the country committed to (including in previous OGP plans), and what has actually been implemented? Is implementation in progress? Are organizations like Open Ownership or Publish What You Pay currently involved in the country?
  • What environmental commitments has the country made in previous OGP plans or on the international stage? Have major legal reforms relevant to deforestation been proposed or approved?

Then, conclude this box by explaining how the lack of full BOT limits progress or success with preventing deforestation. For example:

  • Because there is still no centralized register (or because the companies or sector most contributing to deforestation are exempted):
    1. Hidden owners of forestry companies can avoid paying the taxes and royalties they are legally obligated to pay. Tax authorities’ ability to investigate is severely hampered.
    2. The illicit proceeds from environmental and forest-related crimes cannot be stopped from lining criminals’ pockets.
    3. It is impossible to know if those engaged in crimes are related to, or even the same as, public officials or the owners of “legitimate” companies. Law enforcement’s ability to investigate is severely hampered.
    4. The country is losing business because banks and international companies cannot be sure they aren’t engaging in risky agreements with criminals.
    5. All of the problems below.
  • Because the central register is not public:
    1. Officials and policymakers could be making environmental decisions to benefit companies they or their families own, NOT the environment and the public.
    2. There is likely far less “deterrence” to engage in crimes than a public registry would provide. Limited visibility into ownership connections makes it easier to avoid (or bribe one’s way out of) detection. Media and civil society organizations cannot use the information to identify high level corruption.
    3. Mistakes in data submitted to the register, intentional or otherwise, are more difficult to identify and correct.]

2. What solution are you proposing?

This commitment will reduce deforestation by increasing transparency and public and official oversight of [MOST RELEVANT DEFORESTATION DRIVERS, e.g., PALM OIL, CATTLE] and other companies. Specifically, it will:

[Commitment designers will need to choose from a few options here, depending on what is feasible given the current legal and policy context, official and private sector stakeholder buy-in, and other contextual factors. The “ideal” BOT regime would comply with all of the Open Ownership Principles (see also the OGP’s research on “ambitious” BOT commitments). But different countries will be starting from different positions. A good strategy might be to commit to as many of these elements as are feasible, include some “stretch” goals, and designate the rest as future intended commitments towards which these efforts can lead.

In addition to the feasibility limitations on which components above get included, it is unlikely that BOT alone will eliminate deforestation or the corruption that enables it. Additional efforts will be needed to “ground BOT for anti-corruption. Some of those can be included as part of the commitment; see the Commitment Analysis below. But others may be ongoing or need to happen in other policy arenas or part of broader reforms outside of OGP. Still others, like judicial reforms, may need to be included as other commitments in this or future NAPs. Close this section in recognition of these limitations, any connections to other reforms, and future goals.]

3. What results do we want to achieve by implementing this commitment?

[The OGP Commitment Template includes these guiding questions: What outputs would we like to produce? What changes in knowledge, skills, and capacities do we want to achieve? What changes in behavior, systems, and practices do we want to create?

The results should flow logically from the box above, and into the boxes below for commitment milestones. It might be difficult to demonstrate evidence of slowed deforestation in the years an action plan covers. Other examples of early success outcomes might include:

  • Creation or reform of a law defining beneficial ownership or improving disclosure requirements or sanctions for noncompliance
  • Removal of exemptions if currently enjoyed by companies contributing to deforestation
  • The central register, if lacking, and public access, if the register exists but is closed
  • Concrete engagement activities to involve civil society in verification and data use (see Commitment Analysis below)].

Commitment Analysis

[See Step #1 in the Anti-Corruption Commitment Generator for additional guiding questions; examples adapted from there and the OGP Values guidance]

Questions

Answer [Examples to be further adapted to context]

1. How will the commitment promote transparency?

How will it help improve citizens’ access to information and data? How will it make the government more transparent to citizens?

  • Providing new public access to beneficial ownership data
  • Removing fees or barriers to access data
  • Improving the structure, interoperability, and understandability of data

2. How will the commitment help foster accountability?

How will it help public agencies become more accountable to the public? How will it facilitate citizens’ ability to learn how the implementation is progressing? How will it support transparent monitoring and evaluation systems?

  • Creating, improving, or applying sanctions for noncompliance with BOT requirements
  • Options for the public to report noncompliance or data issues for investigation
  • Mechanisms for some degree of public visibility into sanctions or investigations
  • Efforts to improve coordination across government agencies, for example between the agency responsible for BOT and the agency responsible for receiving and responding to allegations of rights abuses connected to deforestation

3. How will the commitment improve citizen participation in defining, implementing, and monitoring solutions?

How will it proactively engage citizens and citizen groups?

  • Briefings, trainings, or other concrete activities targeting journalists, civil society organizations, and affected stakeholders to increase their ability to use and monitor BOT
  • Mechanisms for public participation in verification of BOT data

Commitment Planning

[See Step #4 in the Anti-Corruption Commitment Generator for additional guiding questions]

(This is an initial planning process largely looking at milestones and expected outputs, as well as key stakeholders involved.)

Milestones

(Milestones are part of a series of actions or events that, when executed, will lead to the achievement of the result the commitment would like to achieve.)

Expected Outputs

(Outputs are concrete, objectively-verifiable results that are direct products of activities conducted or implemented.)

Expected Completion Date

Stakeholders

[These boxes intentionally left blank for commitment designers. The milestone should flow logically from previous sections and stakeholder discussions using the guiding questions and resources in the Anti-Corruption Commitment Generator.]

Lead:

Supporting Stakeholders

Government

CSOs

Others (e.g., Parliament, Private Sector etc)

Lead:

Supporting Stakeholders

Government

CSOs

Others (e.g., Parliament, Private Sector etc)


3. OGP example commitment: Openness and integrity in wildlife enforcement

NOTE: This is the standard OGP commitment template, with guiding information and bracketed text indicating where additional context needs to be added. An interested stakeholder, like a national WWF or TRAFFIC office, would join the existing multi-stakeholder forum and action plan development process to include a commitment like this into that plan.

Remember to refer to the Anti-Corruption Commitment Generator for step-by-step instructions to use this information to develop a specific commitment for your country or locality!

Country

The following countries participate in OGP and are important illegal wildlife source countries: Brazil, Burkina Faso, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Ecuador, France, Ghana, Honduras, Indonesia, Kenya, Liberia, Mexico, Nigeria, Panama, Peru, Portugal, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Spain, and the United States.

In addition, the following countries have already made OGP commitments relevant to justice and/or wildlife.

At the subnational level, Tlalnepantla de Baz (Mexico) committed in 2021 to expand a program that brings “Caravans for Everyday Justice” to remote regions.

Number and Name of the Commitment

[Part of template, intentionally left blank for commitment designers]

Brief Description of the Commitment

(Describe what the commitment wants to do and would like to achieve in less than 200 characters.)

[Part of template, intentionally left unchanged for commitment designers]

Commitment Lead

[This will depend on the specific context, but generally, the lead institution needs to have the capacity, legal authority, and scope to take the actions listed below. They also need to be bought in to the commitment; if committed without their knowledge, agencies will be unlikely to invest effort in implementation. For integrity in wildlife law enforcement, authority will probably be shared across environmental and interior/justice-related ministries. All relevant agencies should be included as supporting stakeholders below, but good practice indicates that one agency should still be the lead.]

Supporting Stakeholders

Government

Civil Society

Other Actors (Parliament, Private Sector, etc.)

[Commitments on this topic may require coordination across police, customs, environmental ministries, prosecutors general, justice departments, tax authorities, and others. If the country has a role like an ombudsperson, consider including them to help manage the potential sensitivities from law enforcement – public collaboration.]

[Both international and national (and potentially subnational) organizations may be relevant. Internationally, OGP’s Open Justice initiative lists potential partners, which might be a good place to start. At the national level, good governance organizations will likely already be involved in OGP and can join this commitment if relevant. Outreach efforts may be better focused on conservation organizations who may not yet be working in the governance space.]

[Where the judiciary is a separate branch of government, their involvement would likely be necessary for a commitment of this nature. In addition, commitment designers may wish to involve the private sector. Initiatives like ROUTES and the Coalition to End Wildlife Trafficking Online show that private companies are often willing to make reforms that reduce their inadvertent contribution to the illegal wildlife trade.]

Period Covered

[Part of template, intentionally left blank for commitment designers]

Problem Definition

[See Step #2 in the Anti-Corruption Commitment Generator for additional guiding questions]

1. What problem does the commitment aim to address?

In [COUNTRY], [EXAMPLES OF RELEVANT WILDLIFE CRIME STATS].

[Be sure to make this context specific. Include elements of the problem that will resonate with the stakeholders who need to buy into the commitment, especially public officials. For example, drawing from the UNODC:

  • If wildlife-related tourism is an important revenue source, mention the potential losses if key species are poached out of existence.
  • If wildlife management authorities, community development mechanisms, or other public authorities suffer from insufficient resources, mention how much due revenue is looted by corrupt officials and environmental criminals.
  • If crime in general is a challenge in the context, mention the connections between wildlife crime and other types of crime.
  • If many people in the context derive their livelihoods from nature, mention the social, political, and economic impacts resulting from the loss of those livelihoods.]

2. What are the causes of the problem?

[NOTE: There are of course many drivers and enablers of wildlife crime, and some of them (like broader economic development) may not be feasible / appropriate for an OGP commitment. Use the following example questions and resources to help identify specific drivers in your context. These should logically flow into the “Solution” box below. Corruption may play a role in these factors, so each bullet also includes an example about corruption in parentheses.

Commitment Description

[See Step #3 and “Additional Information” in the Anti-Corruption Commitment Generator for additional guiding questions]

3. What has been done so far to solve the problem?

[This is an opportunity to highlight any limitations to previous efforts and how this commitment will overcome those limitations.

This is also an opportunity to be strategic. For example, consider:

  • Moderating how critical to be since you may need those responsible for some of the previous efforts to support this reform.
  • Recognizing country or major private sector commitments, including in previous OGP action plans, that are relevant to wildlife, the environment, and justice.
  • Pointing to successes, or even attempts, in other contexts, which can help convince skeptics that these changes are possible and worth pursuing.]

4. What solution are you proposing?

[Commitment designers will need to choose from a few options here, depending on what is feasible given the current context. Different countries will be starting from different positions. A good strategy might be to commit to as many of these elements as are feasible, include some “stretch” goals, and designate the rest as future intended commitments towards which these efforts can lead.

Based on the example issues in the “Causes” box, the following are some example “Solutions” to consider.

Depending on context, consider specifically recognizing the sensitivities of the topic and activities, and what efforts will be put in place to protect vulnerable groups.

Finally, in addition to the feasibility limitations on which components above get included, it is unlikely that this commitment will fully eliminate wildlife crime or the corruption that enables it. Additional efforts will be needed to “ground efforts for anti-corruption. Some of those can be included as part of the commitment, but others may be ongoing or need to happen in other policy arenas or part of broader reforms outside of OGP. Still others may need to be included as separate commitments in this or future NAPs. Close this section in recognition of these limitations, any connections to other reforms, and future goals.]

5. What results do we want to achieve by implementing this commitment?

[The OGP Commitment Template includes these guiding questions: What outputs would we like to produce? What changes in knowledge, skills, and capacities do we want to achieve? What changes in behavior, systems, and practices do we want to create?

The results should flow logically from the box above, and into the boxes below for commitment milestones. Examples might include:

  • Reduction of poaching incidents in targeted areas by X%
  • Release of X court datasets or digitalization of Y judicial processes
  • Grievance redress mechanism created, promoted, and operational
  • Creation of the public revenue transparency requirements, with X% of official tourism operators complying by commitment end
  • Deployment of the specialized court to at least X regions]

Commitment Analysis

[See Step #1 in the Anti-Corruption Commitment Generator for additional guiding questions; examples adapted from there and the OGP Values guidance]

Questions

Answer [Examples to be further adapted to context]

1. How will the commitment promote transparency?

How will it help improve citizens’ access to information and data? How will it make the government more transparent to citizens?

  • Providing new public insight into previously opaque official processes and case results
  • Sharing data about the legal system that can help detect potential corruption
  • Increasing visibility into and public oversight of revenues related to wildlife

2. How will the commitment help foster accountability?

How will it help public agencies become more accountable to the public? How will it facilitate citizens’ ability to learn how the implementation is progressing? How will it support transparent monitoring and evaluation systems?

  • Increasing internal and public oversight to ensure accountability, responsibility, and reconciliation
  • Ensuring grievance redress mechanisms function properly and provide real redress
  • Promoting some degree of public visibility into sanctions, performance, and investigations
  • Improving coordination across government agencies, for example between the agency responsible for wildlife management and the agency responsible for receiving and responding to public allegations of rights abuses

3. How will the commitment improve citizen participation in defining, implementing, and monitoring solutions?

How will it proactively engage citizens and citizen groups?

  • Implementing formal joint efforts with civil society organizations
  • Expanding access to the justice system
  • Consulting, with a high degree of participation, with wildlife crime or human-wildlife conflict stakeholders to, where appropriate, co-develop and/or co-implement solutions

Commitment Planning

[See Step #4 in the Anti-Corruption Commitment Generator for additional guiding questions]

(This is an initial planning process largely looking at milestones and expected outputs, as well as key stakeholders involved.)

Milestones

(Milestones are part of a series of actions or events that, when executed, will lead to the achievement of the result the commitment would like to achieve.)

Expected Outputs

(Outputs are concrete, objectively-verifiable results that are direct products of activities conducted or implemented.)

Expected Completion Date

Stakeholders

[These boxes intentionally left blank for commitment designers. The milestone should flow logically from previous sections and stakeholder discussions using the guiding questions and resources in the Anti-Corruption Commitment Generator.]

Lead:

Supporting Stakeholders

Government

CSOs

Others (e.g., Parliament, Private Sector etc)

Lead:

Supporting Stakeholders

Government

CSOs

Others (e.g., Parliament, Private Sector etc)


4. OGP example commitment: Transparency and participation to protect Marine Protected Areas (MPAs)

NOTE: This is the standard OGP commitment template, with guiding information and bracketed text indicating where additional context needs to be added. An interested stakeholder, like a national WWF or TRAFFIC office, would join the existing multi-stakeholder forum and action plan development process to include a commitment like this into that plan.

Remember to refer to the Anti-Corruption Commitment Generator for step-by-step instructions to use this information to develop a specific commitment for your country or locality!

Country

The following countries participate in OGP and are members of the Marine Protected Area Agency Partnership: Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Finland, France, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, the Philippines, the Republic of Korea, Spain, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

In addition, the following countries have already made commitments relevant to reducing threats to MPAs.

  • Brazil committed in 2021 to improve the transparency of environmental licensing and other publicly held environmental data.
  • Colombia committed in 2020 to improving the transparency of its environmental information system, with protected areas mentioned specifically.
  • Germany committed in 2021 to opening a National Center for Biodiversity Monitoring, with a mandate to share biodiversity data.
  • Guatemala committed in 2021 to increase transparency, participation, and accountability across environmental efforts, including biodiversity.
  • Honduras committed in 2018 to participatorily developing a National Climate Change Plan which included strategies around agriculture and biodiversity.
  • Jamaica committed in 2021 to improving civic participation and transparency in environmental impact assessments.
  • Mexico committed in 2019 to increase transparency and oversight across its fisheries, forestry, and water sectors.
  • Peru committed in 2019 to improving environmental data disclosures.
  • Senegal committed in 2021 to strengthen participation in environmental policy and initiatives.
  • Serbia committed in 2020 to establish an environmental impact assessment portal and draft a law to increase transparency and local community oversight of protected areas.
  • Uruguay committed in 2021 to implementing a centralized system for environmental complaints and results tracking.

Finally, the local governments of Gwangju (Republic of Korea), Peñalolén (Chile), Rosario (Argentina), Scotland (United Kingdom) have all committed to expand options for local participation in climate change policy development.

Number and Name of the Commitment

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Brief Description of the Commitment

(Describe what the commitment wants to do and would like to achieve in less than 200 characters.)

[Part of template, intentionally left unchanged for commitment designers]

Commitment Lead

[This will depend on the specific context, but generally, the lead institution needs to have the capacity, legal authority, and scope to take the actions listed below. They also need to be bought in to the commitment; if committed without their knowledge, agencies will be unlikely to invest effort in implementation. For activities to protect MPAs, authority will probably be shared across agencies. All relevant agencies should be included as supporting stakeholders below, but good practice indicates that one agency should still be the lead.]

Supporting Stakeholders

Government

Civil Society

Other Actors (Parliament, Private Sector, etc.)

[This will depend on the specific activities, but consider agencies necessary for beneficial ownership reform, the environmental ministry, any agency whose remit includes Indigenous Peoples (IPs) and/or local communities (LCs), and any agency with authority over the drivers of threats to MPAs in the country, like aquaculture.]

[This will depend on the specific activities. Good governance organizations will likely already be involved in OGP and can join this commitment if relevant. Outreach efforts may be better focused on conservation and IP and/or LC organizations who may not yet be involved in OGP.]

[Participation from the national legislative body is often required, especially where laws must be changed. In addition, commitment designers may wish to involve the private sector. There can be a business case for anti-corruption, such as making sure politically connected companies can’t avoid rules other companies must follow.]

Period Covered

[Part of template, intentionally left blank for commitment designers]

Problem Definition

[See Step #2 in the Anti-Corruption Commitment Generator for additional guiding questions]

1. What problem does the commitment aim to address?

[COUNTRY] has already protected [AMOUNT] of our oceans, in recognition of the key role they play in climate change, biodiversity, and thriving industry and livelihoods. However…

[NOTE: Different countries face different main challenges with their MPAs. Use and adapt whichever of the following make sense for your context.]

…extraction pressures in some of our MPAs are not effectively managed. Illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing continues in MPAs. Local stakeholders depend on access to MPAs, but commercial fleets (many flagged to other countries) ignore MPA boundaries.

external non-extractive threats to some of our MPAs are undermining their effectiveness. Runoff from coastal agriculture damages the MPA ecosystem. Aquaculture farms are located too close to, and sometimes within, the MPAs. Escaped specimens, feed, and pharmaceuticals are interfering with the MPAs natural processes.

…some MPAs are currently generating conflict. The needs of all local stakeholders, including IPs and LCs, have not been adequately taken into account. There are pressures to develop the coastline for tourism / agriculture, but local fishers are concerned this will affect their MPA. Certain user groups have access to the MPA, but others are excluded.

new MPAs are needed. The current MPAs are not sufficiently connected / large / located to maximize environmental and socio-economic benefit. The process to establish new MPAs has not always followed good practice, which has led to conflict and limited effectiveness for some MPAs.

2. What are the causes of the problem?

[NOTE: Consider the following questions, organized by the different “problems” in the previous box, to identify how corruption and other governance issues may be threatening MPAs.

Ineffective management:

External threats:

  • How connected are the industries involved (e.g., aquaculture) to political elites and decisionmakers?
  • Is beneficial ownership transparent in the country / sector? How prevalent is the use of shell companies?
  • Is there a procedure for preventing, investigating, and/or sanctioning incidents like accidental escapes or the improper use of pharmaceuticals? Is the procedure enforced?

Conflict:

  • Were any key groups excluded, intentionally or unintentionally, when the rules and management of the MPA were established?
  • Are elites heavily involved in MPA management, risking elite capture?
  • What is the process for local people to make complaints? How are those complaints monitored and investigated?

New MPAs:

  • How are public decisions like where to site and establish MPAs normally taken? Are they open or closed? Transparent or opaque? Participatory or exclusionary?
  • Are any elite groups able to influence where MPAs are (or are not) located for their own private benefit?

Commitment Description

[See Step #3 and “Additional Information” in the Anti-Corruption Commitment Generator for additional guiding questions]

3. What has been done so far to solve the problem?

Participatory management and creation of MPAs would significantly contribute to fixing these problems. So far in [COUNTRY]…

[This question seeks to establish the current status of what has been tried in response to the problems identified above. Thinking through those efforts and identifying any limitations to them will help identify milestones below.

To complete this box for your context, consider:

  • Are there any rules, policies, regulations, or enforcement related to the MPAs that exist on paper but are not actually implemented? Do existing MPAs have provisions requiring transparency and participation?
  • What environmental commitments has the country made in previous OGP action plans or on the international stage?
  • Have major legal reforms relevant to MPAs been recently proposed or approved? Have any reforms recently failed or faced strong backlash or opposition?
  • If relevant, what is the current status of BOT in the country, and how does that compare to full BOT? Are any of the relevant business sectors exempted from existing BOT requirements?]

4. What solution are you proposing?

This commitment will protect / expand MPAs by focusing on legitimacy and voice, transparency and accountability, and fairness and rights. Specifically, it will…

[Commitment designers will need to choose from a few options here, depending on the challenges above and what is feasible given the current legal and policy context, official and private sector stakeholder buy-in, and other contextual factors. Different countries will be starting from different positions. A good strategy might be to commit to as many of these elements as are feasible, include some “stretch” goals, and designate the rest as future intended commitments towards which these efforts can lead.

Some starting ideas include:

  • Pilot a methodology for participatory and inclusive management planning.
  • Create an open, consultative process with coastal communities and other key stakeholders to:
    1. revise the country’s MPA strategy / specific MPAs’ management plans.
    2. draft a law to establish and enforce MPA buffer zones.
    3. develop / improve the enforcement regime for [e.g., aquaculture escapees, agricultural runoff].
    4. identify the locations for new MPAs.
  • Create a mechanism for local stakeholders to submit complaints / monitor and report IUU fishing.
  • Publish all access agreements.
  • Make the beneficial owners in the industries contributing to the issue transparent.
  • Help achieve the goal of at least 30% of ocean area being in an effectively managed MPA.

In addition to the feasibility limitations on which components above get included, it is unlikely that these components alone will eliminate all threats to MPAs or the corruption that enables those threats. Additional efforts will be needed to “ground activities for anti-corruption. Some of those can be included as part of the commitment; see the Commitment Analysis below. But others may be ongoing or need to happen in other policy arenas or part of broader reforms outside of OGP. Still others, like judicial reforms, may need to be included as other commitments in this or future NAPs. Close this section in recognition of these limitations, any connections to other reforms, and future goals.]

5. What results do we want to achieve by implementing this commitment?

[The OGP Commitment Template includes these guiding questions: What outputs would we like to produce? What changes in knowledge, skills, and capacities do we want to achieve? What changes in behavior, systems, and practices do we want to create?

The results should flow logically from the box above, and into the boxes below for commitment milestones. Examples might include:

  • Revision of X law / policy / regulation submitted to parliament / regulatory agency
  • Fully functioning complaints mechanism
  • Reduction in incidence of IUU fishing in targeted areas / Increase in joint patrols
  • Investigation and resolution of X% of MPA-damaging incidents
  • Publicly accessible, open data database of access agreements
  • Publicly accessible, georeferenced map of approved aquaculture farms and MPA boundaries
  • Creation of X new MPAs / Protection of X km2 with all decisions based on science and the full participation and inclusion of stakeholders, including IPs and LCs.]

Commitment Analysis

[See Step #1 in the Anti-Corruption Commitment Generator for additional guiding questions; examples adapted from there and the OGP Values guidance]

Questions

Answer [Examples to be further adapted to context]

1. How will the commitment promote transparency?

How will it help improve citizens’ access to information and data? How will it make the government more transparent to citizens?

  • Providing new public access to MPA-relevant data, like incidence of IUU fishing, complaints, geographical boundaries, locations of aquaculture farms, beneficial ownership, access agreements, etc.
  • Budgetary transparency, including management expenses, transfer to local stakeholders, local development projects, etc.
  • Removing fees or barriers to access data and improving its structure, interoperability, and understandability
  • Clarifying and publishing the rules and regulations related to MPAs

2. How will the commitment help foster accountability?

How will it help public agencies become more accountable to the public? How will it facilitate citizens’ ability to learn how the implementation is progressing? How will it support transparent monitoring and evaluation systems?

  • Creating, improving, or applying sanctions for noncompliance with MPA protections
  • Ensuring financial integrity in MPA management
  • Including options for stakeholders to report noncompliance or failures of duty bearers to perform their jobs
  • Providing for some degree of public visibility into sanctions or investigations
  • Allowing for public and civil society monitoring for accountability with national and regional commitments
  • Where feasible and appropriate, implementing joint efforts between law enforcement and stakeholders

3. How will the commitment improve citizen participation in defining, implementing, and monitoring solutions?

How will it proactively engage citizens and citizen groups?

  • Implementing briefings, trainings, or other concrete activities for journalists, civil society organizations, and affected stakeholders to increase their ability monitor MPAs
  • Carrying out townhalls to socialize rules and consulting, with a high degree of participation, to revise laws / establish new MPAs
  • Preparing management plans with active involvement from local stakeholders
  • Leveraging local knowledge to identify MPAs that only exist “on paper” through a participatory MPA census
  • Developing and deploying inclusive, participatory conflict resolution mechanisms

Commitment Planning

[See Step #4 in the Anti-Corruption Commitment Generator for additional guiding questions]

(This is an initial planning process largely looking at milestones and expected outputs, as well as key stakeholders involved.)

Milestones

(Milestones are part of a series of actions or events that, when executed, will lead to the achievement of the result the commitment would like to achieve.)

Expected Outputs

(Outputs are concrete, objectively-verifiable results that are direct products of activities conducted or implemented.)

Expected Completion Date

Stakeholders

[These boxes intentionally left blank for commitment designers. The milestone should flow logically from previous sections and stakeholder discussions using the guiding questions and resources in the Anti-Corruption Commitment Generator.]

Lead:

Supporting Stakeholders

Government

CSOs

Others (e.g., Parliament, Private Sector etc)

Lead:

Supporting Stakeholders

Government

CSOs

Others (e.g., Parliament, Private Sector etc)