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Co-Creating the Way Forward for OGP: Mid-term Review and Strategic Refresh

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Over the past two months, OGP’s government, civil society and other stakeholders have heard me deliver a key message: OGP is at a critical juncture – it has grown significantly in scale, with 70 countries joining the partnership in just five years, along with thousands of civil society organizations, together co-creating national action plans whose implementation is assessed by the Independent Reporting Mechanism.  We know that this is just the beginning.  We need to capitalize on this solid foundation to catapult OGP to deliver transformational impact in the lives of citizens over the next five years. At the London Anticorruption Summit, OGP was positioned as the definitive ambition, implementation and accountability mechanism for key open government reforms. This is OGP’s promise, but many of you will now be asking how we make this a reality?

In May 2016, the OGP Steering Committee agreed that OGP should undergo a “strategic refresh”(see here), building on our existing strategy to outline a vision for greater impact in the next five years. Inside OGP, we have identified some big questions that the refresh will need to tackle. How do we ensure genuine co-creation of action plans between government and civil society? How do we go beyond transparency, moving towards more involved citizen populations and a full embrace of accountability? How do we help countries facing an implementation gap, when transformative commitments are not completed due to a range of capacity, resource and political obstacles? The refresh will present a set of key strategic choices that OGP will need to make, and identify the relative roles of OGP principals (participating governments and civil society organizations), partners (e.g., bilateral and multilateral institutions), and the Support Unit in moving OGP in its new direction. An overarching imperative is to mobilize the collective leadership of OGP principals to further advance a dynamic global movement on open governance, demonstrate transformative impact in their countries, support other countries to do the same, and galvanize other countries and partners to join the OGP movement.  

But to have a plan that is far-sighted and carves out a clear direction for greater impact, we need evidence of our performance till date. We are serious about this being a rigorous, fact-based process. As much as we reflect on ourselves, we also need others to hold a mirror to us. That is why OGP has commissioned a mid-term review of its existing strategy, which will inform the strategic refresh going forward. An independent evaluation team will be examining OGP’s theory of change, paying close attention to its country-level engagement, global work and support to its stakeholders. It will investigate OGP’s contribution to the open government movement and give us honest feedback on where we have or have not made a difference, as well as why. The review will also examine OGP’s ‘rules of the game’ and assess whether policies like the eligibility criteria, response policy and consultation guidelines are working as intended. The main findings from this review will inform the strategic refresh, which will be launched at the Paris Global Summit in December 2016. The more granular implications will be taken up in an Implementation Plan, to be developed in early 2017.

Both the mid-term review and strategic refresh will be informed and guided by consultations with representatives of all of our stakeholders.   The Support Unit will organize the process of the strategic refresh, under the guidance of the Governance and Leadership (GL) subcommittee of OGP, and will ensure an inclusive consultation, involving national government officials and civil society organizations who are implementing open government reforms day-to-day.

The mid-term review and strategic refresh are big undertakings, but they are essential for us to pause, reflect, learn and reinvigorate. We are committed to learning as much from our successes as from our failures, and we hope that from these exercises the partnership will emerge better armed to reach its goals.

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