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December 16, 2014

A Research Agenda on OGP

Munyema Hasan
Since I joined OGP less than a year back, I’ve heard demands from many people both inside and outside of OGP for more stories on how OGP reforms are benefitting governments, civil society and citizens – and what we’ve learnt so far. Few people dispute that there is a real need and thirst for this knowledge. But where does one start to do research on an initiative of this scale, with 65 countries and counting?
In July this year, the OGP team came together to tackle this seemingly daunting question. We started with some basics – what do we know, and how can we use this to answer what we need to know to ensure that OGP is really making a difference in participating countries? The end result is the OGP Research Agenda which organizes lots of interesting research questions into three basic levels of analysis.
First, thanks to the work of the Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM), we know whether countries are complying with the OGP process and to what extent they are completing commitments in their National Action Plans. One look at the IRM’s databases and progress reports will tell a researcher the level of detail they can find on each OGP commitment. Just look at What the IRM data tells us about OGP results and you’ll have a bird’s eye view of the variation in performance between OGP countries. But the big question mark here is why we see this variation, how OGP can provide more and better incentives to encourage strong OGP performance, and what impact this is likely to have in the long term.
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2014 OGP Eligibility

The OGP Eligibility Criteria update for 2014 has now been released. Many countries saw their scores change over the last year. Some adjustments in scores were a result of greater availability of data from the independent sources for the scoring, or due to a revision in the scoring metric itself. The scoring of the asset disclosure metric was revised this year by the OGP Steering Committee on the recommendation of the World Bank. The revised metric is a more straightforward assessment of the legal framework in place for declaration of assets (see Adjustments Made to Asset Disclosure Metric below). This note provides a summary of the country scores in 2014. The complete country scores for 2014 are available here.  

Newly Eligible Countries

A total of six countries are eligible to join OGP for the first time. Those countries are Angola, Bhutan, Guyana, Luxembourg, Namibia and Nigeria.  Asset disclosure scores improved for Angola, Luxembourg, Namibia and Nigeria. Bhutan is recognized for a constitutional provision ensuring access to information, resulting in an increase in their score.  Guyana passed an access to information law, improving their score on that metric.

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Faces of Open Government
Denisse Miranda is Coordinator of Governability and Transparency at the Federation of non Governmental Organizations of Honduras (FOPRIDEH).
How does open government make a difference in peoples lives?

Open government at its core is all about returning to the very basic principles of democracy, the pillars under which civilizations have the ability to grow, evolve and endure crisis. It makes a difference in peoples lives, in a way similar to rebuilding a family after a crisis; it opens up dialogue to rebuild the roads for change and development. Open Government is more than an initiative; it is a model for public administration with a human rights focus, where citizens and rights such as freedom of expression, freedom of association and freedom of information are conceived as building blocks to improve public institutions and public policy towards stronger democracies and development results. As an initiative, OGP has the potential to become in the next years the bridge where governability and accountability meet development and poverty reduction though an open, participative, citizen driven public service delivery.

How have you benefited from exchanging ideas with your government?

Having the opportunity to experience OGP from a civil society view point and now as part of the IRM research team for my country I have two different takes from exchanging ideas with government. As part of civil society it has helped us understand more the “public” way of creating, so that we can adjust our “civil society” work into a “country” way of co-creating. From the IRM researcher stand point, I have found that objective information is key to all parts involved in the open government process... Continue reading

Latest news on OGP    

Letters sent to countries encouraging submission of Action Plans

OGP countries are required to submit a National Action Plan (NAP) co-created with civil society every two years. According to OGP rules, countries more than four months late in submitting their NAP will be considered acting contrary to OGP process for that action plan cycle. The Support Unit is now publishing the letters sent to countries whose plans were due by the end of June, 2014, but have not yet submitted them. Click here to see which countries received a late letter.

OGP looking for a Director of Communications

As proposed in the new OGP four year strategy, OGP is recruiting a new Director of Communications. The Director of Communications will play a central role in raising the profile and impact of the OGP in the coming years through effectively engaging target audiences around the world. Read the full job description here.

The buzz on Open Government

The Openness Revolution - Corporate Transparency

An article in the Economist highlights the momentum on corporate transparency, noting that three factors are driving this change: governments demanding greater corporate accountability; investigative journalism; and the growing sophistication of NGOs.
Does Open Government Need Accountability Institutions?

Jeff Thindwa and Marcos Mendiburu from the World Bank write about the role of accountability institutions in advancing open government reforms, and more specifically on how they can engage in the OGP process.
What's next for the international open government agenda?

Following the OGP Americas regional meeting, Julia Keséru from the Sunlight Foundation made recommendations for both the partnership and the broader open government agenda: 1) work with all levels of government, 2) engage with a broader range of stakeholders, and 3) better connect local advocates with global initiatives.

The Gov Lab Digest provides a curated selection of major developments, findings, and views related to how we improve people's lives by changing how we govern, on a weekly basis.
Past Webinars
'What's in the new OGP Action Plans?' Watch it here, or view the presentation.

'Analysis on OGP Commitments in Fiscal Transparency and the Opportunities for Public Participation in Budget Making' Watch it here or view the presentation.
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