OGP Newsletter

March 2018: Elections, Democracy & Open Government
As countries go to the polls in 2018, they are fighting against corruption, “fake news,” and a rising tide of citizen distrust. This month, read all about how OGP countries are taking the lead to open up and protect elections.


In This Issue:

What a white bracelet means for elections in Italy
Austria’s political party funding system - and how opengov could change it
Getting women involved in elections in Sri Lanka
How Chile is using an #opengov forum to maintain progress after elections
Tackling fake news ahead of elections in the Netherlands
Safeguarding democratic elections with International IDEA
Making election and candidate data available - a story from NDI
Plus news from around the world of opengov, jobs, and more

OGP’s South by Southwest (SXSW) panel on March 13, 2018, with Sanjay Pradhan, CEO of OGP; Kerry O’Connor, Chief Innovation Officer of the City of Austin; Victoria O’Dell, Brigade Captain of Open Austin; Jose Molinas Vega, Minister of Planning for Economic and Social Development of Paraguay. Find out more about the panel here. Photo: Thomas Meredith, Birzer Photo.

2018 Italian Elections: The fight for transparency starts with a white bracelet!

By Giulio Carini, Riparte il futuro

A former Prime Minister convicted on corruption charges; parliamentary candidates with criminal records. This is what Riparte il futuro is trying to end with the Transparent Candidates platform, giving candidates the opportunity to be transparent and accountable about their candidacy - and their campaign funds. Read the full story here.

Who funds political parties? What we have learned from an effort to create meaningful transparency

By Mathias Huter, Forum Informationsfreiheit

Austria’s not in OGP - yet. But civil society is making big strides in terms of revealing political party funding and examining it at all levels - from local elections to federal ones. Read about Austria’s efforts here.

Chile's Multistakeholder Forum and Political Dialogue

By Francisco Sanchez Lay, Government of Chile

Chile’s had a successful couple of years in OGP - and a big part of that is its multistakeholder forum. Chile’s government hopes that after a new government takes power this week, the forum will continue to thrive - and propel open government towards even more success. Read more here.

Announcing Open Gov Week, May 7-11! Join us for a week of co-creation around the world. More details at

OGP’s staff “retreated” for a week in early March, looking forward to a year ahead. Credit: Jay Mallin Photography

Tackle fake news with transparency

By Arjan El Fassed, Open State Foundation

The Netherlands is holding municipal elections later this month - and following the trend around the globe, they’re worried about the potential for fake news disrupting the process. Transparency and the right to information, argues Arjan El Fassed, can stop fake news in its tracks and give citizens real choices. Read more here.

On March 26, 2018 Ontario, is hosting an OpenON Event to engage civil society, reflect on what has been accomplished and look toward the future. Sanjay Pradhan will be the keynote, and Ontario will use this opportunity to co-create its 2018-2020 Action Plan. Learn more about the day’s events and livestream here.

The Open Election Data Initiative: Expanding and Using Data to Improve Electoral Processes

By Julia Brothers, National Democratic Institute

As more countries try to make elections and democratic engagement more transparent, they struggle in making information accessible, readable, and usable. NDI’s Open Election Data Initiative works with countries around the world to try to make election data open and reassure citizens of election integrity and process. Read the full story - with highlights from Ukraine and Cote d’Ivoire - here.

Quotes of the Month - from SXSW!

"People who are marginalized - they don’t have the muscle, and there are all these barriers that we put up. We are trying to take down these barriers and create solutions with them, not for them... when we do that, we build people's capacity for engagement and we learn how to reduce barriers to meet people where they are."

Kerry O’Connor, Chief Innovation Officer, City of Austin, Texas

“Local leaders are privileged to have good information about what happens in their territory - they can help government at different levels to target social services for the most vulnerable pockets.”

Jose Molinas Vega, Minister of Planning for Economic and Social Development, Paraguay

"Open government is not just about opening data, but actual community-driven change... It's great to have government partners that are advocating for and with you at the local level - it makes people feel they can use their voice and be a part of something greater. Austin being part of OGP is very special."
Victoria O’Dell, Brigade Captain, OpenAustin
Featured Commitment
Country: Sri Lanka
Action Plan:
Commitment: Strengthening women’s participation in the political decision-making process at the local level

By Markus Sherman, Intern, Independent Reporting Mechanism

Sri Lanka’s a leader in issues related to women’s rights. So why do so few women participate in the political process? IRM Intern Markus Sherman investigates a commitment to get more women involved through dedicated support and funding. Read the whole analysis here.

Faces of Open Government
Catalina Uribe Burcher
International IDEA

What should democracy-watchers look out for over the coming year? What should the world pay attention to?

We see, with great concern, how democracy is increasingly challenged “from within,” by political (often populist) leaders who—among other things—manipulate electoral results, constitutional term-limits, or libel regulations in order to accumulate power and get rid of the checks and balances that keep them at bay. And all of these threats ultimately concentrate to increase the levels of public distrust and voter apathy in relation to traditional political institutions, like parties.

Read the full interview with Catalina here.

OGP in the News - February 2018

By Jacqueline McGraw, Communications Associate, OGP

Starting with the European Open Government Leaders’ Forum, OGP was mentioned over five hundred times in press around the world in February. From extractives transparency in Nigeria to public services in Brazil, read all about it here.

Employment Opportunities

Asia-Pacific Senior Program Officer
We are looking for a resourceful individual with strong experience and understanding of the governance field to serve as a Asia-Pacific Senior Program Officer at the OGP Support Unit. The candidate should have knowledge of the inner workings of government - including the ability to interface with senior-level government officials - and also strong experience working with and building relationships with civil society actors in the region.

Call for IRM National Researchers
The Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM) of the Open Government Partnership (OGP) is seeking individuals to carry out research at the national level in a variety of countries to assess government progress on implementation of their OGP Action Plans.
Buzz on #OpenGov   

The OGP Trust Fund is accepting calls for proposals until March 20. Read more here.

Tell us who you want to see give inspiring keynote opening speeches at the 5th OGP Global Summit in Georgia on July 18. Share your ideas on Twitter tagging #OGPGeorgia or @opengovpart or by emailing

OGP Deputy CEO Joe Powell authored an article on the TI blog on goals for this year’s transparency summits.

OGP’s Knowledge, Learning, Impact and Capacity-Building team is hosting “Priceless? A new framework for estimating the cost of opening government” on March 23rd at 10AM EDT. Register here.

There are two open Civil Society seats on the Steering Committee. More info here.

Steering Committee elections are underway. Read about that process here.

The World of #OpenGov

Principle 10 has resulted in the adoption of Latin America and the Caribbean’s first environmental rights treaty.

Accountable Now is accepting proposals for the Resilient Roots accountability pilot project.

The 2018 International Open Data Conference has opened its call for proposals.

The International Anti-Corruption Conference (IACC) has opened its call for proposals.

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