OGP has yet to be on the policy agenda of Vietnam. The knowledge of government agencies and local CSOs on OGP remains very limited. There are development partners who support Vietnam to build good governance grounded in transparency, accountability and people’s participation – all key elements of OGP – but none use directly OGP as a framework to work within.
A country is eligible for OGP membership if it earns at least 75% of the applicable points (12 out of 16) based on the following four criteria: (i) Fiscal Transparency, (ii) Access to Information, (iii) Asset Disclosure, and (iv) Citizen Engagement. Each criterion is assessed with a maximum of 4 possible points. Noticeably, since September 2017, countries also need to pass additional eligibility criteria (i.e. “Values Check”) which are primarily focused on civic space and civil liberties before they are allowed to participate in OGP. This is an effort to improve the alignment be-tween participating OGP countries and OGP’s core values, particularly it is considered a timely response by the OGP Steering Committee to the worrisome shrinking civic space observed in OGP member countries as well as across the globe.
Vietnam’s current eligibility score is 8/16 (OGP, 2016), which means that Vietnam needs to obtain four more scores to meet minimum eligibility requirement (i.e.12/16) and concurrently pass “Values Check”.
Towards Transparency’s 2016 feasibility study on Vietnam’s prospect of OGP participation indicates that OGP is neither alien from nor conflictive with the existing guidelines, policies and legislations on governance promulgated by the Vietnamese Communist Party and the State.
Indeed, a number of current reforms have been implemented in conformity with the fundamental principles of OGP such as public administration reform, development of E-government, promulgation of Law on Access to Information, Law on Anti-Corruption, or participation in the United Nations Convention on Anti-Corruption (UNCAC).
“In signing the Open Government Declaration, OGP members commit to engaging citizens in the development, implementation, and monitoring of their National Action Plans”
Civic engagement is at the heart of OGP. In signing the Open Government Declaration, OGP members commit to engaging citizens in the development, implementation, and monitoring of their National Action Plans. Towards Transparency’ study also shows that in recent time Vietnamese CSOs have made remarkable contributions to promoting transparency, accountability and citizen engagement, which have received increasing attention from both the government and society. This implies that they are prepared to engage further with the government towards improving eligibility scores for Vietnam and developing the National Action Plan in accordance with OGP guidelines.