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Faces of Open Gov: Mary Francoli

Rostros del gobierno abierto – Mary Francoli

OGP Support Unit|

Mary Francoli is the International Experts Panel (IEP) Chair and Associate Dean, Faculty of Public Affairs, Carleton University

You are a chair of the International Experts Panel (IEP), the body overseeing OGP’s Independent Reporting Mechanism. How would you explain the role of the panel?

In overseeing the Independent Reporting Mechanism, the IEP is key to safeguard the IRM’s independence and ensures quality and accuracy of the IRM reports.  The IEP helps to establish a vision for the IRM, periodically reviews the methodology used to generate the IRM reports, and promotes IRM findings.

How do you see the role of the IRM evolving to improve accountability and learning in the partnership?

The IRM is vital to improving accountability and learning across the partnership. The IRM produces three different products that can be used for accountability and learning: 1) IRM reports, 2) data from these reports which is available in an open format in the OGP Explorer, and 3) technical papers and analysis that draws on cross-cutting findings from the reports. The data produced by the IRM is used not only by OGP to engage in learning, but it is also used by civil society, government, and by academics studying open government.

Currently, the IRM is engaged in an exercise of reflection and vision setting to ensure sustainability of its vital role as an accountability and learning mechanism as OGP evolves. With the increased number of OGP participants from eight to ninety-nine in just eight years, it’s time for us to think about new ways to improve the way we report the development and implementation of OGP action plans to strike the right balance between accountability and learning.

You are from Canada, the current chair country of OGP, that has identified inclusion and gender equality as priorities. As someone who has read many IRM reports, how would you say women’s voices are currently represented in OGP action plans?

There have been some interesting initiatives to engage women in the co-creation process of the action plans, and some interesting commitments that are aimed at increasing women’s voice, or removing particular barriers women face. OGP’s CEO Sanjay Pradhan addressed this eloquently in his post ‘Why Gender, Why Now?’

I am glad that Canada has raised the important issues of inclusion and gender equality as they are important conversations to have. I hope that future chairs will continue to focus on inclusion, and to recognize that there are other ‘lens’ through which we need to look at open government if it is to be more inclusive. There are other voices that are also not clearly represented across action plans. Among others, this includes youth, indigenous populations, and those who may not speak the administrative language of a member government.  Continuing to look at inclusion is vital to ensure the long term relevance of the partnership and to maximizing the impetus for effective change.

You are helping to organize the Academic Day at the 6th OGP Global Summit in Ottawa. What are your expectations for the event?

Academic Day has evolved somewhat organically since OGP started as a means for academics to share research. The Academic Day at the Ottawa Summit will take place at Carleton University. The theme mirrors the Summit theme of ‘Inclusion, Participation, and Impact.’

I expect that the event will be a good way to continue building a community of practice around open government. It will provide a venue for those working and researching open government to come together to think critically on the issues of inclusion, participation, and impact, to learn about initiatives taking place across the partnership, and to reflect on tools and methods needed to assess open government.

Those presenting research at the Academic Day will have an opportunity to submit their work for publication in a special edition of the Journal of e-democracy and Open Government, dedicated to OGP and the Summit themes. This will be the second special edition of the Journal that is dedicated to OGP.

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