Meet the Core Eligibility Criteria and Pass the Values Check
The first step towards full OGP participation is meeting the Core Eligibility criteria and successfully passing the OGP Values Check assessment. Core Eligibility metrics measure a government’s performance across four key areas of open government (Fiscal Transparency, Access to Information, Public Officials Asset Disclosure, and Citizen Engagement). The OGP Values Check is an effort to ensure that new countries joining OGP adhere to the democratic governance norms and values set forth in the Open Government Declaration, and applies to governments wanting to join OGP.
The Core Eligibility and Values Check assessment indicators used by OGP are drawn from various third-party databases and are updated by the OGP Support Unit during the first half of each year, using the most up-to-date information available at the time. Please refer to the Eligibility Criteria page for more details and a breakdown on the specific scoring methodologies used to assess both dimensions of OGP eligibility. Any questions on OGP eligibility can be directed to the Support Unit by emailing email@example.com.
Identify a Lead Ministry or Agency
Each government aspiring to join OGP should identify a lead ministry or government agency that will assume the responsibility for coordinating the government’s OGP process and activities and serve as the official contact point for the Partnership. The lead ministry or agency would ideally have oversight of matters related to good governance and public administration reform within the government and take the lead on coordinating across ministries or government agencies in open government matters. Each government is expected to designate both a high-level and working-level point of contact (PoC). The former is normally a ministerial level official who represents the government formally and officially within the Partnership, while the latter is a senior civil servant with ability to coordinate across government and serve as the day-to-day contact point for the Support Unit.
Submit a Letter of Intent
If a country passes the Core Eligibility Criteria and Values Check and the government identified a lead ministry or agency, it should signal its intent to participate in OGP by sending a Letter of Intent, which formally expresses the government’s intention to join OGP. Letters of Intent should confirm that the government is eligible to join OGP, specifically endorse the Open Government Declaration, describe past open government reforms, and specify the lead ministry or agency and at least the high-level point of contact that will be responsible for OGP within the government. An example of a recent letter can be found here (all letters can be found on individual member pages).
Letters of Intent should be addressed to the OGP Co-Chairs and sent to firstname.lastname@example.org, signed by a ministerial-level official from any ministry or agency within government, as long as that agency has received approval from the Head of State or Government to join OGP. All letters of intent are published on the OGP website.
A member of the OGP Support Unit’s Country Support team will connect with your government’s designated representative soon after receiving the Letter of Intent in order to answer any questions and provide an orientation to OGP. The Support Unit will also connect the government representative with relevant technical experts or other resources, as needed and available.
Engage Civil Society in the Process
OGP’s model does not require civil society organizations to join through a formal process as governments do, but these organizations and individuals are a vital part of a successful process. Governments should ensure that there are paths to becoming active in OGP through the global community, the government’s own OGP dialogue mechanism, or both. Civil society organizations and interested individuals can engage in the OGP process by becoming members of national and local OGP fora and helping to co-create, implement, and monitor action plans. They can also take part in OGP Global Summits, workshops, regional meetings, and other outreach events. Steps for getting involved at the national level are listed below. Individuals or organizations can also sign up for the civil society mailing list here.
Based on experiences thus far, here are some tips on what civil society actors can contribute to help a government join OGP:
- Becoming eligible: If your country does not yet meet the eligibility criteria to join OGP, scrutinize these first to see if the assessment is correct and what additional efforts may be needed to meet the Core Eligibility and OGP Values Check. Contact the organizations doing the assessments to learn best practices for improving eligibility scores or speak with a Regional Coordinator from the Country Support Team. In some countries bi-lateral and multilateral agencies like UNDP and the World Bank support governments to become eligible for OGP. (The eligibility scores of all countries are available and a good starting point to see if the assessment made by OGP is correct and what additional efforts are needed. In some countries bi- and multi-lateral agencies like UNDP and the World Bank support governments to become eligible for OGP.)
- Deciding to join: Team up with like-minded civil society organizations and citizens to develop support within government to join if your country is already eligible. Open government efforts are seldom new in a country, so identify and reach out to pre-existing networks within or outside government who are already working on transparency, participation and accountability efforts. Map and enlist key stakeholders, such as academics and researchers; reform-minded government officials or agencies (e.g. information commissioner, ombudsman, archivists, supportive parliamentarians, etc.); and influential or well-known citizens to help you advocate joining. Reach out to existing networks in other countries to learn more about the process and pitfalls. Learn about success stories, good practices and value propositions from existing members. Develop a shadow or draft action plan to draw attention to possible reform initiatives in your country and build support.