FAQs about the Response Policy
What type of issues may form a relevant concern under the Response Policy?
What happens once the Steering Committee receives a letter of concern?
What are “Stage One Actions”?
What are “Stage Two Actions”?
What happens when a country is designated as suspended from OGP pursuant to the Response Policy?
Are countries in suspended status eligible to receive Steering Committee, Support Unit or Working Group support?
Where can I download the Response Policy?
The kinds of issues that have the potential to be sufficiently damaging to OGP values and principles to trigger a Response Policy review include, but are not limited to, the introduction of new or revised policies, practices or actions that significantly reduce any of the following:
- Access to information for citizens and civil society;
- The space for non-governmental organizations to work independently, voice critiques, and/or receive funding from domestic or international sources (e.g. new NGO laws);
- Enjoyment of fundamental freedoms, notably freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, and association; and/or
- Online or offline media freedom, or media ownership and independence.
Following its receipt of a Concern, the SU will send an acknowledgement to the filer(s), of the Concern and inform the Criteria and Standards Subcommittee (C&S) and the Subject, in writing, that the Concern has been received. The SU will conduct an initial review of all Concerns to determine whether they meet the eligibility criteria for a Response Policy inquiry.
If the SU finds that the Concern is eligible to trigger a Response Policy inquiry, it will notify the C&S, the filer(s) of the Concern, and the Subject that OGP is proceeding with a review of the Concern, and ask the government of the Subject for a formal response to the issue(s) raised in the Concern.
The Support Unit will then begin a review of the merits of the Concern in collaboration with, and under the oversight of, the C&S’s Co-Chairs. The review of the merits of a Concern will include the following steps:
- Establishing the veracity of the information provided in the Concern by cross-referencing Concerns with government, civil society, IRM researchers and third parties, including, but not limited to, UN bodies likely to have relevant information and informed views on the issue(s) under review.
- Establishing the degree to which the behavior that forms the basis of the Concern undermines the Subject’s commitment to the principles of the Open Government Declaration and OGP’s Articles, i.e., thereby calling into question the authenticity of the Subject’s OGP participation.
- Checking previous OGP data points on the Subject, including, but not limited to, cross- referencing with the findings of the most recent IRM report on the Subject, including the national context section of that report.
- Assessing whether an OGP intervention could have the desired impact in the subject country (Subject) and whether such an intervention is necessary to protect the credibility of OGP.
- Consideration of whether a visit by the SU to the Subject to discuss the issues raised in the Concern with pertinent parties is appropriate.
The final decision on how to handle all Concerns that are eligible for Response Policy review will be C&S’s responsibility.
For more information, please review the full Response Policy and its Procedures and Protocols here.
“Stage One Actions” are actions OGP may undertake when investigation of a Concern reveals that the Subject is engaging in conduct that contradicts the Participating Country’s undertakings in signing the Declaration and undermines OGP’s principles and values, as provided for in Section V (A) of the Response Policy.
Members of C&S’s Subcommittee, the Co-Chairs, the Support Unit, and other interested Steering Committee members, may carry out one or more of the following without the approval of the full Steering Committee:
- Engage in or broker diplomatic outreach to the government of the Subject at the official and/or political level. Such efforts may include outreach and engagement by the Criteria and Standards Subcommittee Co-Chairs. The Support Unit will coordinate such outreach.
- Offer to broker technical assistance to help the Subject to address the issues raised in the Concern;
- Contact Multilateral Partners active in the Subject to help address the issues raised in the Concern;
- Invite the Subject to work with the Support Unit and the C&S Subcommittee to establish a work plan with regular check-ins and a timeline for the Subject to address the situation, where applicable.
“Stage Two Actions” are actions OGP may undertake once it is determined that Stage One Actions have failed to adequately address the issue(s) raised in a Concern, as provided for in Section V (B) of the Response Policy.
A Stage Two Action may consist of one or more of the following actions:
- The SC Co-Chairs, on behalf of the SC, invites the government principal of the Subject to attend a special session of the SC to discuss the situation and its possible consequences for the Subject’s participation in OGP.
- The SC Co-Chairs, on behalf of the SC, write a letter to the government principal of the Subject informing him/her that the Subject will be listed as suspended from OGP until the Concern is resolved. The letter will explain;
- what actions and what level of engagement OGP expects of the Subject in order to resolve the issues raised in the Concern to the point where the Subject is no longer suspended and returns either to Stage One Action status, or to regular Participating Country status, detailing which actions by the Subject will lead to which status, and the timeframe within which such actions and/or engagement must occur;
- that failing a response by the Subject that warrants a change of status under (a) above, the suspension of the Subject from OGP will become permanent and the Subject will be deemed to have ceased being a Participating Country.
When a Participating Country is suspended from OGP pursuant to the Response Policy, such country;
- will not be entitled to recover dues paid to OGP covering the period of suspension. (Dues owed, but not paid, during the period of suspension, will be due and payable following termination of the suspension);
- will not be eligible to vote in Steering Committee elections;
- will only be allowed to attend OGP events as an observer for learning purposes; and
- will be designated as suspended on the OGP website and in all OGP public information materials concerning such country.
Yes, if requested, suspended countries are eligible to receive Steering Committee and Support Unit assistance, including from Working Groups and peer exchange visits.
You may access and download the full Response Policy here.
For more information on the membership of the Criteria and Standards Subcommittee, please visit the Steering Committee page.