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Announcing the six new members of the OGP Steering Committee

Paul Maassen|

Late December OGP started the search for six new civil society steering committee members – a unique opportunity for talented and committed civil society leaders to further shape OGP, represent the interests of the civil society community and assure that ambitious open government reforms get delivered.

The OGP Steering Committee (SC) has the responsibility of leading and executing strategic decisionmaking for OGP and representing OGP globally. The civil society members of OGP, in particular, have an added critical responsibility: to ensure that the interests of OGP’s civil society community global are adequately represented and addressed.

Results of the 2016 SC Rotation Process

We’re delighted to announce the names of the 6 new civil society members of the OGP Steering Committee. These 6 civil society leaders got selected in a process that has been more transparent and inclusive than ever before. We published criteria and scores and all candidates engaged with the overall community in public webinar interviews.

We look forward to seeing and hearing more of them in the near future as they take up their formal roles – and start in-depth engagement with all of you that are part of the OGP community. Join us in welcoming them!

The 6 new members are:

  • Aidan Eyakuze (@aeyakuze) is Executive Director of Twaweza, one of East Africa’s leading initiatives on open government and citizen agency in East Africa. Aidan has a long track record as strategy and scenario thinker. He has been engaged with the national OGP process in Tanzania. The selection committee was impressed with his eloquence, persuasiveness and fresh thinking. The committee also felt he would be a great OGP ambassador across Africa. Aidan was the highest scoring African candidate (score 77 out of 90). He will join the SC in May.

  • Helen Darbishire (@helen_access) is Executive Director of Access Info Europe, and has been an active and critical member of the OGP civil society community since OGP’s early days. She is a leading expert on access to information issues globally and has been a vocal advocate for higher transparency and engagement standards within OGP. Helen has been actively involved in the Spanish national OGP process. The selection committee was impressed by Helen’s energy and passion for making OGP better in Europe and across the globe – especially when it comes to the rules of the game. Helen was the highest scoring European candidate (score 79 out of 90). She will assume her SC role in October.

  • María Baron (@DireLegislativo) is Executive Director at Fundación Directorio Legislativo. She is a well-known leader across the region, in the field of legislative openness. Her candidacy received solid support from key OGP actors from across the region. Latin America is an important region for OGP – one where civil society has been passionately engaged and outspokenly critical of OGP. It will be tremendously helpful to have a well-connected, well respected civil society leader from the region who can be a strong ambassador for OGP, while also helping to solve some of the real problems Latin American civil society actors face in using OGP. The selection committee valued Maria’s strong, intrinsic motivation to support the further development of OGP that has deep roots in her own beliefs and career. Maria was the highest ranking Latin American candidate (score 63 out of 90) and has been actively engaged in the OGP process in Argentina. She will assume her SC role in October.

  • Robin Hodess (@RobinHodess) is Group Director, Research and Knowledge at the International Secretariat of Transparency International. The chapters of Transparency International are at the heart of national OGP processes in most OGP countries. Robin  has been a long-time champion of OGP and on behalf of TI acts as one of the co-anchors of the recently launched OGP Anti-Corruption Working Group. Robin impressed the selection committee with her nuanced, long-term thinking, clearly showing her extensive experience across the globe. She was the second highest scoring global candidate (score 71 out of 90). Robin will assume her SC role in October.

  • Suneeta Kaimal (@NRGInstitute) is Chief Operating Officer at the Natural Resource Governance Institute, and the only candidate on the list that currently also serves as a Steering Committee member. Suneeta served as the Steering Committee Co-Chair last year, and among other things put civic space high on the agenda of OGP. As a member of the Criteria & Standards subcommittee she is well-placed to continue leadership on civic space. She is also a member of the PWYP Global Council and as the NRGI representative, co-anchors the OGP Working Group on Openness in Natural Resources. The selection committee appreciated her honest reflections on the development of OGP – and her own role as chair in it – and how she managed to turn those reflections into strategic priorities. Suneeta was the highest scoring global candidate (score 80 out of 90).

  • Zuzana Wienk (@ZuzanaWienk) is Founder and Executive Director of Fair Play Alliance in Slovakia. The selection committee was impressed by how Zuzana brings together the skills of an investigative journalist, a seasoned campaigner, a civic tech leader and a diplomate. She is a prominent, well-connected and respected public (media) figure in Slovakia. Zuzana has been actively engaged in the OGP process in Slovakia. In fact – as an example of her access and skills – she personally convinced the then Slovakian prime minister to attend the first OGP meeting and join. Zuzana was the second highest ranking European candidate (score 60 out of 90) and will assume her SC role in May.

The selection committee first assessed if the shortlisted candidates had what it takes to do the job. Individual OGP Steering Committee members need to bring a wide set of skills and experiences to play the diversity of roles that are asked of them. The selection committee feels that all selected candidates meet these criteria to a very high extent, while also realizing that some of the aspects of the job might fit each of them better than others. The selection committee also wants to emphasize that to be effective as a group the civil society SC cohort needs to be diverse and balanced across experiences, issues, skills and regions. Not primarily as a matter of principle, but mostly so that amongst themselves they have the skills and richness of experience needed to make OGP succeed in general and especially for civil society.

The Selection Process: A Brief Recap

OGP invited nominations for six new positions in its Steering Committee late 2015. The Support Unit received a highly competitive and accomplished list of 47 nominations – a near equal split between male and female candidates with 13 from Europe, 13 from Asia-Pacific, 13 from the Americas, and 8 from Africa.  

The selection committee this year was comprised of of Anne Jellema (Webfoundation), Juan Casanueva (SocialTIC), Mark Robinson (WRI – on behalf of co-chair Manish Bapna), Mukelani Dimba (ODAC – Steering Committee member), and Paul Maassen (OGP SU).  

The selection process involved two key rounds – an initial shortlisting based on the nomination statements, endorsements, and other material submitted by the candidates. According to the criteria and process, as shared on the OGP website, the selection committee examined the nominations according to three key criteria: leadership; working across stakeholders; and ability to read and represent the interests of civil society. In addition, the committee also took into account the candidate’s track record of working on open government and related cross-cutting themes, as well as engagement with open government networks. In that discussion the selection committee also took note of other crucial factors including diversity across open government issues, regions, and gender.

This initial assessment resulted in individual candidate scores of up to 75 points (3 criteria, 5 points max per criterion, 5 members of the selection committee). All successful candidates scored between 36 and 73 points on the three criteria combined (and non selected candidate scores ranged from 3 to 48). For the first time, the OGP SU not only published the shortlist, but also the scores of each candidate on the OGP website, inviting questions and feedback from the community.

In the second round of the selection process, each shortlisted candidate was invited for an hour-long interview over Skype with three members of the selection committee. After each interview the selectors scored the candidates on 6 criteria across two categories, drawn from the roles and responsibilities of the Steering Committee, as outlined in the Articles of Governance. These two categories are: job criteria and the desired skills/attributes. In keeping with efforts to make this process more transparent and participatory. Selected candidates scored between 60 and 80 points (out of 90), non-selected candidates scored between 40 and 66 (out of 90). All 16 shortlisted candidates also participated in 3 public webinars, organized by Alianza Regional, for which questions were also sourced via Twitter.

The selection committee virtually convened on Friday April 8 to discuss the 16 shortlisted candidates and agree on the six final candidates that would be presented to the current civil society Steering Committee members for endorsement, per the process outlined the Articles of Governance. The selection committee took the individual scores into account, the references, the performance during the interviews and webinars, in addition to their own professional interactions with the candidates at the regional/global level. The criteria helped guide the discussion, as did the ambition to balance candidates across regions.

Earlier this week the current members of the OGP Steering Committee endorsed the selection made by the selection committee, after which all shortlisted candidates were informed of the outcome.

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