The Basics of Engagement
A civil society-government partnership at the national level is the cornerstone of OGP. But why should civil society organizations get involved, and what are the best ways to do so?
- Getting a seat at the table: The OGP process requires government to consult with civil society and citizens, and the Independent Reporting Mechanism assesses the quality of this consultation. As a result, OGP can help ensure that civil society experts have a seat at the table to discuss critical open government reforms with their own public officials.
- Building coalitions: Open government is not just about open data, or just about access to information laws or fighting corruption. It is about making progress on all of these things, and making sure that citizens have a voice in this process. OGP can therefore be a platform to build a diverse coalition with civil society actors from a variety of disciplines.
- Getting concrete results: OGP may be a useful platform to get traction on your existing objectives or accelerate progress on issues that might be stuck in the pipelines. You can push for an action plan that fits your priorities. In many countries civil society has managed to get a lot of their asks into the national action plans – and achieved concrete results.
Based on experiences thus far, here are some tips on what civil society actors can contribute during each phase of the OGP process:
- Deciding to join: Organize as civil society and advocate with your government to join OGP if your country is already eligible; Push for efforts to become eligible if your country does not yet meet the eligibility criteria;
- Drafting the first action plan: Provide input to the government on establishing an effective consultation process. Participate in the consultation process by preparing concrete, prioritized commitments and commenting on the draft action plan.
- Implementation: Work with the government to set up an ongoing mechanism for civil society to support and provide feedback on implementation of OGP commitments.
- Independent monitoring: Provide input on the government self-assessment report and the Independent Reporting Mechanism research process; work with civil society partners to comment on these reports and/or prepare a parallel, independent assessment of the OGP