Dispelling anxieties about OGP

According to many expert, dispelling the anxieties about OGP among state actors is very crucial, even more crucial than proving benefits brought by OGP. It is necessary, first of all, to identify what these anxieties are?  Some interviewed experts have assumed that the greatest anxiety of the Vietnamese Communist Party and the State is that OGP appears to be “too -open” and may, therefore, indirectly threaten stability of the current political system. Another anxiety relates to the participation and implementation prospect. Regarding implementation, Vietnam is, in reality, one of the countries having witnessed the fastest international integration during the last decade. There has been a viewpoint assuming that the State will be unable to fully and seriously implement the multitude of newly signed international agreements and commitments, due to inadequate capacity. This means that the State needs to be cautious about taking part in new institutions or making new commitments.

In order to dispel the above anxieties, stakeholders should be convinced that:

1. OGP is not a completely new institution focusing on good governance, but only a supplement to the ones which Vietnam has joined or is going to participate in, such as UNCAC, WTO, and TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement).If Vietnam has participated in and can work well in such institutions, it will realize that the above institutions do not endanger the political system, so neither does the GOP.

2. All of the four criteria of OGP, including Access to Information and Citizen Engagement, have been defined by the Vietnamese law and policy. In other words, OGP does not impose new obligations outside Vietnam’s current legal and policy framework. Instead, it helps the country strengthen and better implement the existing laws and policies. This means OGP is neither a dangerous institution to the political system nor an additional burden for the State.

3. It is clear that OGP is not an international treaty, but an international institution (or a network) whose governing rules are simpler and more flexible than those of other institutions, particularly international treaties such as UNCAC. Participating in OGP, therefore, does not place any considerable burden on the Vietnamese State, regarding both organizational structure and fee contribution.

4.  it seems that Vietnam is already “at the door” of OGP and with two more points would be eligible to join the initiative. Getting two more points is within the reach of Vietnam and maintaining minimum eligibility points appears to be feasible as all criteria are going to be improved in Vietnam in medium-term and long-term run. Hence, participating in OGP and implementing OGP commitments depends mainly on the will of the Vietnamese Communist Party and the State, not the resolution of technical hindrances.

Source: Stuyd on the Prospect of Vietnam’s Participation in the Open Government Partnership Initiative (OGP) – 2016


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