100th OGP National Action Plan Published
Finland has today published the 100th Open Government Partnership action plan since the initiative launched in 2011. These plans have contained over 2000 specific open government reform commitments, representing a remarkable effort from the 65 governments participating in OGP and the hundreds of civil society organizations that helped influence the policy agenda in their countries.
The National Action Plan is at the core of any country’s participation in OGP. It is a technocratic term for a political document that commits the government to a series of reforms that should address some of the biggest challenges the country is facing. These reforms should reflect the priorities of reformers in government and civil society, and should have a clear openness dimension. Analysis of OGP to date shows that countries have prioritized public participation, open data, fiscal transparency, public service delivery and access to information. Countries are required to publish a new action plan every two years and are independently assessed on the implementation of their commitments.
The Finnish action plan – their second since joining in 2013 – is a good example of how a government has used the OGP platform to focus on national priorities. The overall theme is improving youth participation and making progress on digital government. Under that heading they have included commitments to make public services more customer friendly, to improve engagement of children and youth in state government, to open up government data to businesses and civil society, and to consider creating a lobbying register. If implemented successfully the Finnish government believe these reforms will help win back citizen trust and increase participation. The plan calls for “enhancing open government [to] be part of all public governance development”.
OGP can be a powerful tool to increase the speed and breadth of reform in the 65 countries that are currently participating. But this can only happen if the reformers in government and civil society seize the opportunity of the National Action Plan. Later this year more than 20 OGP countries are due to publish their own new plans. The degree of participation between now and then will decide how ambitious and potentially transformative these plans are.