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Background on Non-Universally Recognized States’ Participation in OGP

Non-universally recognized states are currently not eligible to become members of the Open Government Partnership (OGP). For purposes of OGP membership, “non-universally recognized states” refers to countries who are not members of the United Nations. The definition of UN membership, and the process for a Government or State to obtain such recognition, is governed by the Charter of the United Nations. OGP does not have the authority to recognize either a State or a Government.  Any changes to this policy fall under the purview of the OGP Steering Committee.

In 2014, the OGP Steering Committee discussed a policy proposal to address the interest of  non-universally recognized states in joining OGP. However, the Steering Committee has not reached consensus on this proposal, as outlined in the May 2014 and September 2014 meetings minutes. At its April 2015 meeting, the Steering Committee agreed that given the lack of consensus on this matter, the Governance and Leadership (GL) Subcommittee would need to identify appropriate next steps for OGP to communicate with current and future non-universally recognized states. Later in 2015, in response to letters of interest to join OGP received from Kosovo and Taiwan, the GL Subcommittee upheld that non-universally recognized states are not eligible to become OGP members without a full Steering Committee agreement on a change of policy.

OGP encourages all governments, regardless of UN recognition status, to advance open government reforms. This may include through developing open government action plans and using a methodology that mirrors that of the Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM) to assess progress on such reforms. Non-members are not permitted to use the OGP brand and/or name.

In addition, OGP peer learning activities are open to all. The Support Unit can provide basic orientation around the general OGP approach, and connect interested individuals with other open government practitioners to engage in peer-exchange activities around open government policy areas of their interest. For participation in OGP events, including global summits and regional meetings, it is up to the host country to decide on the rules governing participation. There is ample precedent of  non-universally recognized states participating in OGP events and learning activities, including by government and civil society actors from Taiwan and Kosovo. In line with the Articles of Governance, for governments invited as observers, participation in an OGP Summit does not correspond to membership in the Partnership.

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