In its meeting on Wednesday 13th December 2023, the Cabinet of Ministers approved 5 proposed areas that will form part of the Seychelles Open Government Partnership Action plan for 2024-2025.
The Cabinet of Ministers was presented with seven areas for consideration for approval of the final set of Commitments that will be translated into the Seychelles National OGP Action Plan to create a more inclusive, participatory and transparent government:
Approved Commitments for the OGP second National Action Plan
In approving the following 5 areas to be part of the second National Action Plan, the Cabinet laid emphasis on placing citizens at the centre of the country’s transformation agenda. Members of the Cabinet reiterated the need for clearer alignment of policies to the democratic principles of good governance and respect for human rights.
Commitment 1: Continuation of Implementation of the Fisheries Transparency Initiative (FiTI)
Participation in the Fisheries Transparency Initiative (FiTI) was one of the 4 commitments of the Government’s OGP Action Plan for the period 2019 -2021. Certain actions were achieved, notably Seychelles application for and its acceptance in April 2020 as a “Candidate Country”. A National Multi-Stakeholder Group (NMSG) was set up and 3 National FiTI Reports have been completed. The NMSG consists of representatives of the industry, civil society and government. Seychelles, is however, not yet a FiTI compliant country.
Seychelles principal commitment towards the Open Government Partnership (OGP) is to become FiTI Compliant.
The FiTI International Board has recognized Seychelles’ efforts to implement the FiTI Standard with a score of “meaningful progress” in the first validation. The “meaning progress” score that Seychelles has for now means that it remains a FiTI Candidate Country. As part of its Compliance’ Statement, the FiTI International Board has issued four corrective actions for Seychelles to undertake which, if properly addressed, will see the country progress to the status of FiTI Compliant Country.
Some of the actions which Seychelles has to take are incorporated in the following milestones in Seychelles OGP Commitment. These include:
The impact of the FiTI relies not only on increasing public access to fisheries information but also ensuring that the information published by the government contributes to public debates. This will ultimately support participating governance of the sector. This commitment will also contribute towards good governance and sustainable fishing.
Commitment 2: Creation of a National Integrity Coalition
This commitment proposes an integrated and collaborative approach to advancing good governance reforms through the formation of an integrity coalition made of multiple key independent State institutions such Anti-Corruption Commission of Seychelles (ACCS); Auditor General’s Office; Constitutional Appointments Authority (CAA); Electoral Commission; Information Commission (InfoCom); Media Commission; Ombudsman’s Office; Public Service Appeal Board (PSAB), Seychelles Human Rights Commission (SHRC)that will collectively engage with a diverse group of community stakeholders.
The proposed integrity coalition will act as a think tank to debate issues, pool ideas and resources and produce recommendations to knowledgeably inform vetted and broadly supported policy making. Diverse stakeholder views will be represented and given balanced attention based on agreed critical priorities. The coalition will support each other to embed accountability and transparency through an open government partnership and human rights-based approach lens to achieve wider community improvement.
The expected results will be strengthened independent State institution coordination, broadened public-civic collaboration mechanisms and effective initiatives introduced on the constitutional structure and systems.
Commitment 3: Digital Transformation and Connecting People
Information technology is key to achieving the transparency and citizen engagement that the Open Government Partnership is championing. However, Seychelles is currently experiencing a significant shortage in skilled local IT personnel. This makes it difficult for Government to implement digital projects, such as the e-portal, and even more difficult to maintain these technological systems in the long term.
This OGP commitment seeks to remedy this situation by seeking to establish the necessary educational programmes, encouraging citizen participation in terms of human resources for digitalisation, and bolstering Seychelles' nascent IT industry to enable it to effectively support the public sector. Thus this commitment will benefit both the public and private sectors, as well as the citizens of Seychelles in general.
Commitment 4: Employee Wellness and Empowerment Policy
Efficient public service inspires trust in Government and promotes citizens engagement and support of Government priorities. In order to provide service of excellence to the public, the public officers need to have the necessary know-how, support, infrastructure and resources. It is felt that the wellness and wellbeing of public officers is paramount in ensuring that they deliver effective service to citizens.
In the absence of policy that guides employee wellness and empowerment in the public service a lot of components of employee overall wellbeing may be left to chance, which the aftermath may impact service delivery.
This Commitment seeks to develop a comprehensive policy committed to creating an enabling environment that promotes physical and mental health wellbeing, professional growth and overall job satisfaction for the public officers.
Commitment 5: Managing alcohol consumption for a healthy and productive nation
Alcohol abuse and misuse is believed to be having a significant impact on society. Government spends a considerable budget to deal with issues related to Alcohol abuse and mis-use while approximately 70% of admissions in the hospital is due to substance abuse, not alcohol specifically given the prevalence of the drug problem in Seychelles.
Workers’ productivity is also impacted as people are frequently absent from work after having consumed alcohol over the weekend. Although not confirmed by research, the prevalence of social problems and a culture of drinking are contributing factors to the problem of alcohol abuse and mis-use.
This Commitment will bring together all stakeholders including the Alcohol Industry Trade Body, citizens and Government to have a balanced approach policy making around alcohol which is data driven.
The Co-creation Process
The co-creation process for the second action plan started during a stakeholder sensitization workshop which took place between 25th and 26thOctober 2023, where civil society actors were invited to generate ideas on areas of importance to them that they feel Government could be more transparent, accountable or include more citizens participation. Following these sessions further discussions were held with Government entities to explore the feasibility and relevance of the identified areas to the Government priorities. The Commitments were then drafted and submitted to Cabinet of Ministers for consideration.
The second National Action Plan (2024-2025), which will be submitted to the OGP Secretariat by 31st December 2023 will be launched for implementation in January 2024.
The Open Government Partnership which was launched in 2011, is a gathering of government reformers and civil society leaders to create action plans that make governments more inclusive, responsive, and accountable.
Seychelles is one of the 76 countries which make up the OGP global platform. Seychelles joined the Open Government Partnership in 2018 and implemented its first National Action Plan between 2019 and 2021.
The OGP Multi-Stakeholder Committee will monitor implementation of actions by Government and will keep all parties updated.
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