OGP Newsletter
April 2016
In this issue: Commencement of the Subnational Pilot Program, Grants for OGP Research, Storify of the recent IRM Reports Launches, SDGs and the Mexican NAP, Condemnation of Recent Killings in Honduras, Open Contracting, Faces of Open Government, Opening Soviet Archives, Featured OGP Commitment, and the Latest OGP News, Events and Employment Opportunities. 
Announcing Commencement of Subnational Pilot Program in 15 Countries 

By Kitty von Bertele, Special Assistant to the OGP Support Unit 

Today OGP is announcing 15 subnational governments that will be part of a pilot program, designed to identify and involve more people in open government efforts around the world. OGP received 45 applications for this program and the final cohort represents a huge diversity of interest, with good regional balance and a variety of different approaches to open government. Many more have expressed an interest in being involved as part of a wider network of reformers working in and around subnational governments. Read the full announcement here

Calling for Stories on the Results of Early OGP Initiatives

The OGP Support Unit is very pleased to announce an exciting new call for proposals for research exploring results of early OGP initiatives. Find details about the call here.

Checking in on #OGPprogress
A recap of the recent Independent Reporting Mechanism launches.

By Madaleine Weber, Communications Officer, OGP Support Unit &
Gustavo Perez, Report Production Specialist, Independent Reporting Mechanism 

It's been a busy few months at OGP. With the help of our partners and Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM) researchers we've successfully released 36 IRM progress reports!

These reports play a critical role in the OGP process. For governments, they are an independent assessment of progress in achieving their commitments to become more transparent and accountable. For civil society, the reports provide an opportunity to work with governments and to feed recommendations into the next national action plan. At the international level, they allow us to
check in on the health of OGP as a whole. To read the full Storify, see here.

OGP, SDGs and the Mexican National Action Plan

By Guillermo Ruiz de Teresa Mariscal, Director General of Innovation and Civic Engagement 

The 70th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) was a historic milestone for the international community, 193 member states agreed to adopt the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This Agenda will set the course for the next 15 years through its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that aim to tackle some of the most pressing global challenges such as poverty, inequality, education and the promotion of accountable institutions, among others. Its effective implementation represents a huge endeavour, that is why the Open Government Partnership (OGP), is the ideal platform that helps countries advance SDGs through several instruments. Read the full blog here

Quote of the Month- Richard Bon Moya
For the April Quote of the Month, click on the video above to hear Richard Bon Moya discuss the importance of trust in governance.
OGP civil society co-chairs condemn recent murders in Honduras and urge government to protect civic space

By Manish Bapna, Executive Vice President & Managing Director, World Resources Institute & Alejandro Gonzalez Arreola, Executive Director, GESOC

As civil society co-chairs of the Open Government Partnership (OGP), we are deeply affected by the murders of Berta Cáceres on March 3, 2016 and Nelson García on March 16; we are also very concerned about the ability of civil society organizations to function safely in Honduras. A robust civil society is key to the success of OGP. When Honduras became part of OGP in 2011 it signed the Open Government Declaration, which includes a pledge to protect “the ability of not-for-profit and civil society organizations to operate in ways consistent with our commitment to freedom of expression, association, and opinion”. Yet according to a recent report by Global Witness, “How Many More? (link is external)”, Honduras has become the deadliest country in the world for environmental activists. These two murders only confirm this deadly trend. Read the full piece here. 

Great Ideas for OGP Action Plans: Open Contracting    

By Georg Neumann, Senior Communications Manager, Open Contracting Partnership 

Think government contracts. Think billions of dollars in infrastructure, vital goods and services in health, education, and basic services. But also think number one corruption risk in government. Imagine this money delivering better value for governments and higher-quality goods, services and works for citizens, stimulating business rather than breeding bribery, and smart analysis that lays the grounds for better solutions for public problems. It is no wonder then, that open contracting has become one of the major ideas to help governments deliver on the promise of more effective and trustworthy government, a better business climate, and better results for ordinary citizens. It is the key stage at which government goods and services to citizens either materialize, or fail. Read the full blog here

Faces of Open Government 

David Gómez Álvarez Under Secretary for Planning and Evaluation in the Jalisco State Government, Mexico      

How important is open government to you and why does it matter at a subnational level?

Since the introduction of the open government agenda in Mexico, Jalisco sought to adopt it at a subnational level. Transparency, civic participation, accountability and innovation became the pillars that the State would concentrate its efforts on in order to revolutionize policy-making and offer better results to its people. It is through an open government agenda that a subnational government can prove effective and move forward in a more inclusive manner. Open government practices at a national level manage a broad spectrum that is certainly promising and deeply needed, although subnational initiatives are launched closer to the people they seek to benefit, strengthening the relation between
civil society and government with a proximity much reduced in comparison to national programs. Read the full interview here

Breaking Down Iron Doors: Why opening up Soviet archives matters

By Tinatin Ninua, Research Manager, Independent Reporting Mechanism

One day nine years ago I entered the National Security Archives in Tbilisi, Georgia, in the hope of finally learning the fate of my great-grandfather Teofile Ninua. A father of five, Teofile was picked up one cold winter night in 1938 from his home in western Georgia. He became one of the millions of people across the Soviet Union who disappeared during the Stalinist purges of 1937-38. Read the full piece here.


Country: Greece
Commitment: Open Data for Offshore Companies
National Action Plan: 2014-2015

Greece suffers from a massive tax collection and evasion problem. This is due in part to the fact that Greece has a large shadow economy where individuals and corporations earn money without paying income tax or are set up in ways to avoid paying the VAT. One study quoted by the IMF found that between 1999 and 2010 this shadow economy made up 27% of the country’s GDP --which works out to approximately one in four potentially taxable euros in the Greek economy going unreported and subsequently untaxed.

In order to enhance scrutiny over companies that may be engaging in tax evasion or money laundering, the Ministry of Finance proposed the release of data on offshore companies. This commitment is an excellent example of a commitment that appears to be specific, relevant to OGP values, and appears to address an important policy issue in Greece using open government tools, but the commitment language itself is not formulated in a way that would transform the status quo. By making the names and contact information of offshore companies publicly available, stakeholders could engage in ‘naming and shaming’ campaigns and watchdogs could use the data to monitor and trace potentially fraudulent activity. However, the language of the commitment does not assign a government agency with the responsibility for implementation. Releasing this data is an important first step in inspiring advocacy for structural reforms to the Greek tax monitoring and collections systems. But the release of datasets is not enough to resolve all the issues involved with regulating offshore companies. In order to be a truly transformative commitment, the government would need to elaborate clear activities that either enhance public monitoring of offshore companies or include an enforcement mechanism to deter illegal conduct.

At the time of writing the IRM Progress Report, no progress had been made on this commitment. The IRM research team recommends better linking the publication of this data to policy reform outcomes and creating a monitoring agency to oversee implementation.

Latest OGP News and Employment Opportunities

OGP Africa Regional Meeting 
The government of South Africa is pleased to announce that the 2016 Open Government Partnership Africa Regional Meeting will be held in Cape Town, South Africa from  May 5 - 6, 2016 and preceded by a Civil Society Day, which will take place on May 4, 2016. All event details can be found here
OGP Americas Regional Meeting
The OGP Regional Meeting of the Americas will be held in the city of Montevideo, Uruguay May 31- June 2, 2016. Around 500 participants from government, civil society, media and companies are expected to attend. Registration information can be found

Independent Reporting Mechanism Call for New International Expert Panel Members  
The IRM is seeking nominations for new members of the IEP. These members will take on the work of peer-reviewing IRM reports during 2017 and will assume a role in guiding the IRM in 2018 onwards. Calls for nomination will be open from February 16, 2016 to April 15, 2016. Nominations may be submitted by email at
Call for IRM National Researchers in Norway, The Philippines, and Romania
The Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM) of the Open Government Partnership (OGP) is seeking individuals to carry out rese
arch at the national level in three countries to assess government progress on implementation of their OGP Action Plans. See here for application details.
Research Associate
The OGP Support Unit is looking for 
an individual with strong research and analytical skills in the governance field, to serve as a Research Associate. The Research Associate will support the incoming CEO and the Management Team, and provide general research support across other programs. The Research Associate will need to be comfortable producing different types of material depending on the audience, f
or example producing a detailed briefing on an OGP country to inform a country visit by a senior staff member, compiling facts for an article, blog or speech, or writing a short paper based on recent trends in OGP countries. More information can be found here.
IRM Research Summer Intern
The Summer 2016 IRM Research Intern will be responsible for assisting the IRM Program team in carrying out research and quality control for ±25 progress and end-of-term reports on OGP participating countries. More information can be found here.
Webinars and Events
April 14: Webinar- Introducing OGP's Subnational Pilot Program. Register here.
April 19: [Spanish] “La Evolución de los Portales de Transparencia Fiscal: Lecciones Aprendidas y Desafíos” Register HERE
April 28: [Spanish] “El Sector Privado como Socio Estratégico del Gobierno Abierto” Register HERE
April 25-28: 2016 International Civil Society Week, Bogota Colombia
May 5-6: OGP Africa Regional Meeting 2016. All event details can be found here. 
May 31- June 2: OGP Americas Regional Meeting 2016. All event details, including registration, can be found here
The Buzz on Open Government     

Looking for transformative, ambitious ideas for your next National Action Plan? Check out this, this or this blog post from our Great Ideas for OGP Action Plans blog series! 
Outraged by revelations in Panama Papers? Consider using OGP's NAPs for beneficial ownership commitments. Read more about it here. 

Spanish Newsletter: This newsletter is now available in Spanish! Click here to subscribe. 

OGP Gazette: The monthly OGP Gazette provides essential updates from the OGP Support Unit and IRM on official decisions, deadlines, communications, reporting and job openings. Click here to subscribe.
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