The Open Government Partnership (OGP) was grounded in the belief that the exercise of democracy must not be limited to the ballot box, but rather practiced everyday by citizens shaping and overseeing the policies that impact their lives.
To that essential end, the Partnership empowers champions of citizens’ interests–notably, government and civil society–to co-create action plans, where governments publicly commit to concrete reforms that make government more open, participatory, and responsive to citizens, while citizens and civil society engage to shape and oversee governments between and beyond elections. And there is accountability by OGP’s Independent Reporting Mechanism publicly assesses whether the government implemented open government actions as promised.
In this way the OGP platform has provided new tools for democracies to become more open and citizen-centric. In just over seven years, OGP has become a movement of cutting-edge, open government reformers. Today, 79 countries and a growing number of local governments–representing more than two billion people–have joined OGP, along with leaders across civil society.
The OGP Global Report: Democracy Beyond the Ballot Box captures both the individual and collective work of this truly unique network of citizen champions. This report–the first of its kind–provides an honest assessment of nearly a decade of open government data and strategy.
Importantly, the lessons in the pages that follow serve as a critical resource for any reformer or activist seeking to advance the frontiers of open government. Future efforts will be built as much on ongoing areas for growth and improvement as they will be on best practices.
The next steps of the Partnership are critical. From Hungary to Tanzania, Turkey and Russia and beyond–including in many established democracies–new attacks on oversight institutions, the media, and civil society, as well as emerging digital threats spreading disinformation and manipulating public opinion, are eroding traditional checks and balances.
The challenges we face are daunting, but our course is clear. The vision and tireless work presented in these pages provide a guidepost for reformers everywhere to follow.
We’ve learned that success in democratic governance must be defined differently. It will mean looking beyond the ballot box. And, importantly, it will mean moving from shared intent to ensuring that the promise of democracy, as well as the many bold efforts to strengthen and advance it, become the norm.
Chief Executive Officer
Open Government Partnership