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February 19, 2015

New IRM Reports out for Public Comment

The Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM) is a key means by which government, civil society, and the private sector can monitor the progress that Open Government Partnership (OGP) participating countries are making.

About the IRM reports

The IRM partners with experienced, independent national researchers to author and disseminate reports for each OGP participating government. The reports assess governments on the development and implementation of OGP action plans and progress in fulfilling open government principles, and make technical recommendations for improvements. The reports are intended to stimulate dialogue and promote accountability among participating governments and their citizens. 

Today, the IRM is proud to announce draft reports for comment from two of the countries that submitted action plans to OGP in 2013.  The IRM calls on any interested organization or individual to comment on these reports so they are accurate and capture a wide variety of views.

The Big Headlines

In Hungary, Petra Edina Reszketo of the Budapest Institute for Policy Analysis summarized her findings as follows: Hungary focused on initiatives that complemented its existing anti-corruption program. They had a fairly high rate of completion. Initially, stakeholders welcomed the collaborative process, but mid-way through the process, larger political issues relevant to OGP led to a breakdown. If the OGP process is going to be strong, Hungary will need to continue to enhance cooperation and use OGP to address big picture issues.

In The Netherlands, Frans Jorna of Saxion University of Applied Sciences reported the following: The Dutch action plan focused on initiatives to enhance access and accountability through online tools. While a number of commitments were potentially transformative, the lack of specificity of the action plan made progress and impact difficult to assess. Moving forward, the Dutch government should work with civil society to create a measurable and ambitious action plan. 

Read more here.
In this column, OGP features interesting and ambitious commitments from participating countries. We encourage readers to dive deeper and follow their development and implementation.

Country: El Salvador
Commitment: Open Information and Response Offices (OIR)
Action Plan: 2013 - 2014

With approval of the Law on Access to Public Information (LAIP) on 3 March 2011, the Sub Secretariat for Transparency and Anti-corruption (SSTA) coordinated activities to develop a guide for setting up the OIRs. During the Action Plan implementation period, offices were set up in 78 public institutions. The commitment was transformative in terms of its modification to the institutional structures and political culture of officials and citizens with respect to guaranteeing the right to access information. 

Read more in El Salvador's Progress Report. To find more interesting commitments being implemented this year, read What's in the New OGP National Action Plans?

Faces of Open Government

Rosario Pavese is political scientist and Director of Political Institutions and Government of Poder Ciudadano in Argentina since 2011.
How does open government make a difference in peoples lives?

Open Government makes a differences in people lives as it empowers citizens, providing them with tools to effectively exercise their rights through knowledge, public information and collaborative work.  When citizens and communities recognize their power through participation, governments cannot look to the other side anymore.
How have you benefited from exchanging ideas with your government?

We have benefited by having a new channel of dialogue with our authorities, that we did not have before OGP. As civil society organizations working around transparency and fighting corruption it is often hard to create strong bonds with government officials, as they tend to perceive us as watchdogs. But working through the OGP alliance that barrier can be broken, and new channels for mutual understanding are open.

Describe one OGP commitment from your country that you are proud of. 

I believe the Argentinean action plan has many interesting commitments regarding technology, such as the open data platform (, but it lacks commitments around transparency and access to information. Hopefully this will be something we can solve with more political will in our second action plan. 

Read the full profile on the OGP blog.

Latest news on OGP    

Governance in Context: Putting principles into practice

The Transparency and Accountability Initiative (T/AI) recently organised a workshop on multi-stakeholder governance initiatives, which included OGP among others. Global Integrity's Alan Hudson reports on the main findings of the workshop, and announces that Global Integrity will be leading on a cross-country research about how OGP is playing out in particular places, to generate guidance for open governance champions in different contexts. Read his full post here.

The buzz on Open Government

Report on EITI Governance by MSI-Integrity

MSI Integrity has recently released a report, "Protecting the Cornerstone: Assessing the Governance of Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative Multi-Stakeholder Groups", on governance in EITI implementation. The report finds that while several countries have adopted some innovative practices, there are significant shortcomings of multi-stakeholder governance in most implementing countries.

Developing Democracies can thrive - messily

Brian Levy writes about patterns of governance change in developing democracies and how our conventional frameworks of good governance and technocratic policymaking are of little use in messy democracies. This post provides the empirical detail – and highlights also what the reality of democratic ‘messiness’ implies for action. 
How can citizens ensure money flows to where it is needed most: the fight against poverty?

2015 will hopefully be the year in which the campaign for more and better information will be translated into policy changes that improve people’s lives. This article by David McNair of ONE summarizes significant steps that were taken last year, with many new transparency and accountability commitments made and positive policy changes implemented.
Call for Chapter Proposals: Achieving open justice through citizen participation and transparency

A new book is aims to introduce the concept of open justice and to identify and analyze worldwide initiatives that focus on opening the judiciary by making it more transparent, collaborative and participative. The book will serve as a reference point for politicians, judges and public sector officials. Researchers and practitioners are invited to submit their chapter proposals by February 28, 2015. More information here.
Upcoming Webinars
Wed, February 25, 2015
Procesos de designacion de maximas autoridades de organos de control en America Latina.

Tue, March 17, 2015
Innovations in Ombudsman Work

Watch this space for registration links! In the meantime find past webinars here.
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