At the heart of a government’s participation in the Open Government Partnership is a biannual action plan, outlining reforms to make the country more transparent, accountable and encourage citizen participation. Civil society involvement in co-creating these plans is required by OGP, with national consultations starting early in the new year. The plans are mostly due by June 30th, 2016, meaning that by the time OGP celebrates its 5th anniversary at the United Nations in September hundreds of new reform commitments will have been made. These commitments could become a blueprint for renewing democracy in over a quarter of the world’s countries.
In the OGP Support Unit, our job is to support governments and civil society organizations around the world to make these plans more ambitious, to ensure they are tackling major policy challenges - not just easy fixes - and to encourage learning and exchange. This is a golden opportunity for people inside and outside government to be involved in developing strong open government commitments. It’s a process that will only work with the passion and commitment of people who are invested in their country context - so this is a call to get involved. Here are some ideas to get started and all the contact information you need:
- If you work in government and have ideas of policy reforms to encourage more openness you should get in touch with your national OGP coordinator to talk about how to include a commitment in the new plan. The Support Unit can connect you to the coordinator if needed.
- This is a major advocacy opportunity for civil society activists working on open government. You should make sure you are in touch with the government OGP coordinator in your country and know the timeline for action plan development.
- International NGOs and coalitions such as Publish What You Pay, Oxfam or Transparency International should use the country calendars to identify when and how your advocacy priorities can be delivered in OGP countries.
- Other multistakeholder initiatives such as the Open Contracting Partnership, Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative or International Aid Transparency Initiative should ensure that your partners are using OGP national action plans to make progress on your goals.
- Government “Sherpas” involved in the new Global Goals, the G20, the UN Convention Against Corruption, and other multilateral processes should see the plans as space for implementing communiques and high-level commitments at the country-level.
- Foundations and funders working on open government should ensure your grantees and partners are aware of the opportunity these action plans offer for their work.
The countries with action plans due by June 30, 2016 are:
4. Bosnia and Herzegovina
8. Cape Verde
10. Cote d’Ivoire
12. Czech Republic
14. Dominican Republic
15. El Salvador
33. New Zealand
35. Papua New Guinea
39. Sierra Leone
40. South Africa
41. South Korea
43. Sri Lanka
46. Trinidad and Tobago
50. United Kingdom