Eligibility Criteria

01 June 2018

In order to participate in OGP, governments must exhibit a demonstrated commitment to open government in four Core Eligibility areas, and pass the OGP Values Check outlined below. The Support Unit updates eligibility data in the first half of each year, using the most up-to-date information from each data source available at that time.

A database reflecting a complete list of current and historical eligibility scores can be found here.

Core Eligibility

Core Eligibility is determined by evaluations of countries’ performance in four critical areas of open government: Fiscal Transparency, Access to Information, Asset Disclosure, and Citizen Engagement. Countries can earn a total of 16 points for their performance in these four metrics, or 12 points if the country is not assessed in one of the metrics. Countries that earn 75% of the applicable points (either 12 out of 16 or 9 out of 12) or more are considered to meet the Core Eligibility criteria. Detailed scoring for each metric is included below:

Fiscal Transparency

The timely publication of essential budget documents forms the basic building blocks of budget accountability and an open budget system.

Measurement: Two points awarded for the timely publication of each of two essential documents (Executive’s Budget Proposal and Audit Report) for open budgets, using a subset indicators from the Open Budget Survey, conducted by the International Budget Partnership.

Access to Information

An access to information law that guarantees the public’s right to information and access to government data is essential to the spirit and practice of open government.

Measurement: 4 points awarded to countries with access to information laws in place, 3 points if a country has a constitutional provision guaranteeing access to information, and 1 point if a country has a draft access to information law under consideration. Countries with both a constitutional provision and a draft law under consideration will only be awarded the 3 points for the constitutional provision. Information taken from an ongoing survey by Right2Info.org (from the Open Society Institute Justice Initiative) and supplemented by the list at RTI-Rating.org (maintained jointly by the Centre for Law and Democracy and Access Info Europe).

Public Officials Asset Disclosure

Rules that require public disclosure of income and assets for elected and senior public officials are essential to anti-corruption and open, accountable government. It is also important to make the data publicly available so citizens can monitor the disclosures

Measurement: 4 points awarded to countries with a law requiring officials to submit asset disclosures that also has any requirement that the information should be accessible to the public, 2 points awarded to countries with a law requiring officials to submit asset disclosures, 0 points for no law on asset disclosure.

The source for the information on asset disclosures is the World Bank’s Public Officials Financial Disclosure database, which is updated on a rolling basis. The database is supplemented by a published survey the World Bank conducts periodically.

Citizen Engagement

Open Government requires openness to citizen participation and engagement in policymaking and governance, including basic protections for civil liberties.

Measurement: Using the 2016 EIU Democracy Index’s Civil Liberties sub-indicator where 10 is the highest and 0 is the lowest score, 4 points for countries scoring above 7.5, 3 points for countries scoring above 5, 2 points for countries scoring above 2.5, and 0 points otherwise.

Countries not assessed in a database for any of the Core Eligibility metrics, or those with recent updates not yet reflected in the OGP Eligibility Database are encouraged to provide additional information to the Support Unit. Any such information will be assessed independently by subject matter experts who will evaluate the submitted documents and evidence for participation to ensure that all OGP participating countries remain in good standing and that the performance measures are up to date.

If a participating country falls below the minimum Core Eligibility criteria at any point, the Support Unit will inform the Steering Committee of this occurrence. Per the Articles of Governance of OGP, participating countries that fall below the minimum eligibility criteria should take immediate and explicit steps to address issues so that it passes the threshold within one year.

OGP Values Check Assessment

The Steering Committee approved the implementation of a ‘Values Check’ assessment in September 20, 2017. From this date forward, countries who wish to join OGP still need to score 75% or more on the current four Core Eligibility Criteria listed above, and, additionally, they must also pass a ‘Values Check’ assessment before they are allowed to participate in OGP. This 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.

For the Values Check, OGP employs two indicators from the Varieties of Democracy ‘Dataset on Democracy.’ The V-Dem dataset is compiled by 50 political scientists based on six continents analyzing 350 measures of each country’s democratic practices, supported by over 2800 local experts. In the V-Dem dataset, countries are scored 0-4 on each indicator. OGP has elected to consider the ordinal scores. The Values Check only applies to countries that are yet to join OGP and does not affect countries which have already joined. To pass the values check, countries must score three or higher on at least one of the following two V-Dem indicators.

CSO entry and exit - Measuring the extent to which the government achieves control over entry and exit by civil society organizations (CSOs) into public life.

Measurement:

4: Unconstrained. Whether or not the government licenses CSOs, the government does not impede their formation and operation unless they are engaged in activities to violently overthrow the government.

3: Minimal control. Whether or not the government licenses CSOs, there exist constitutional provisions that allow the government to ban organizations or movements that have a history of anti-democratic action in the past (e.g. the banning of neo-fascist or communist organizations in the Federal Republic of Germany). Such banning takes place under strict rule of law and conditions of judicial independence.

2: Moderate control. Whether the government ban on independent CSOs is partial or full, some prohibited organizations manage to play an active political role. Despite its ban on organizations of this sort, the government does not or cannot repress them, due to either its weakness or political expedience.

1: Substantial control. The government licenses all CSOs and uses political criteria to bar organizations that are likely to oppose the government. There are at least some citizen-based organizations that play a limited role in politics independent of the government. The government actively represses those who attempt to flout its political criteria and bars them from any political activity.

0: Monopolistic control. The government exercises an explicit monopoly over CSOs. The only organizations allowed to engage in political activity such as endorsing parties or politicians, sponsoring public issues forums, organizing rallies or demonstrations, engaging in strikes, or publicly commenting on public officials and policies are government-sponsored organizations. The government actively represses those who attempt to defy its monopoly on political activity.

CSO repression - Measuring the extent to which the government attempts to repress civil society organizations (CSOs).

Measurement:

4: No. Civil society organizations are free to organize, associate, strike, express themselves, and to criticize.

3: Weakly. The government uses material sanctions (fines, firings, denial of social services) to deter oppositional CSOs from acting or expressing themselves. They may also use burdensome registration or incorporation procedures to slow the formation of new civil society organizations and sidetrack them from engagement. The government may also organize Government Organized Movements or NGOs (GONGOs) to crowd out independent organizations. One example would be Singapore in the post-Yew phase or Putin’s Russia

2: Moderately. In addition to material sanctions outlined in response 3 below, the government also engages in minor legal harassment (detentions, short-term incarceration) to dissuade CSOs from acting or expressing themselves. The government may also restrict the scope of their actions through measures that restrict association of civil society organizations with each other or political parties, bar civil society organizations from taking certain actions, or block international contacts. Examples include post-Martial Law Poland, Brazil in the early 1980s, the late Franco period in Spain.

1: Substantially. In addition to the kinds of harassment outlined in responses 2 and 3 below, the government also arrests, tries, and imprisons leaders of and participants in oppositional CSOs who have acted lawfully. Other sanctions include disruption of public gatherings and violent sanctions of activists (beatings, threats to families, destruction of valuable property). Examples include Mugabe’s Zimbabwe, Poland under Martial Law, Serbia under Milosevic.

0: Severely. The government violently and actively pursues all real and even some imagined members of CSOs. They seek not only to deter the activity of such groups but to effectively liquidate them. Examples include Stalinist Russia, Nazi Germany, and Maoist China.

For more information on V-Dem’s analysis, please consult the latest version of the Codebook here.

Current Non-Participating Countries Eligible to Join OGP

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Bhutan
  • Guyana
  • Iceland
  • Japan
  • Mozambique
  • Nepal
  • Poland
  • Senegal
  • Slovenia
  • Switzerland
  • Timor-Leste

OGP subnational members must be located in an eligible national member country at the point of joining. If a national member country chooses to leave OGP and contains a subnational member, then that subnational member may remain as a participant in OGP.

For more information, you may contact OGP at info@opengovpartnership.org.

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