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When More Is More: Toward Higher Impact OGP Commitments

The Open Government Partnership is a learning organization. As a collection of governments, civil society, and multilateral partners, participants encourage each other to take ambitious commitments to open government. The reward for accomplishment is international and national recognition, and, in the best cases, innovative policies and programs spread and adapt to other contexts. OGP’s Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM) gathers information on all OGP action plans. It has a dual role of promoting accountability and learning within OGP.

Before 2016, OGP did not track the final outcomes of most of its two-year action plans. This paper aims to update what we know about OGP action plans, starred commitments, and rates of implementation.

Prior analyses offer an incomplete picture of OGP’s accomplishments. They depended on findings from Year 1 IRM reports (“Progress Reports”), which are limited in scope to the first year of action plan implementation. These reports focused on midterm reporting in order to better inform the next action plan in a timely manner.  The OGP Steering Committee, in 2014, acknowledging the primacy of the IRM Year 1 report, nonetheless requested that the IRM develop a Year 2 report to provide a final accounting of progress made over the full two-year action plan cycle. Only taking results from the first year could result in a skewed and overly critical assessment of OGP accomplishment. For that reason, we present this paper to provide a more complete, and thus, more accurate record.

The data for this paper comes primarily from action plans submitted in 2014. While the first Year 2 (or “End of Term reports”) covered a set of 2013-2015 action plans (Hungary, Netherlands, Finland, and Ghana), the 2014-2016 action plans represent the first time a significant population of action plans – 47 in all – are ready for publication and analysis all at once.

The findings of the paper will directly inform OGP intervention at both international and national levels.

At the international level, it is important for us to understand if OGP is achieving its goal of motivating and enabling transformational governance reforms. 

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