Faces of Open Government – Linda Frey
In this week’s newsletter we feature Linda Frey, Executive Director of the Open Government Partnership. She talks to us about OGP’s vision and four-year strategy which is launching today.
What does the publication of this strategy signify about OGP’s evolution?
When OGP was launched 3 years ago, no one knew exactly where it was headed or how fast it would grow. But its founders had a compelling vision, which in hindsight seems to have been the right approach at just the right time. Who would have thought more than 60 countries would voluntarily sign up to take concrete steps to open up their governments to public oversight, and then subject themselves to independent reporting on their progress?
OGP morphed very quickly from a big idea to an incredibly exciting – but admittedly daunting – implementation challenge. At 60 plus countries and growing, could we deliver on the original vision: the idea that by joining this initiative, countries would be encouraged and inspired to make real progress on critical open government reforms?
By early 2014, it was clear that we needed a road map to take OGP from scrappy start-up to a consolidated, high-impact organization. Hence the decision to develop an ambitious, but pragmatic, 4-year strategy for OGP.
The publication of this strategy signifies two important things. First, OGP is here to stay. There is enough evidence that the model is working that we need to double down and make the necessary investments to deliver on its full potential. Second, it isn’t going to be easy. But we have now put a thoughtful plan in place that will increase the likelihood of success.
What does the strategy cover?
It’s not always easy to explain what OGP is or how it works. We hope this document will serve as a comprehensive and accessible resource for those who want to know more about OGP. With that in mind, I would urge everyone to read the “OGP in Context” and “Theory of Change” sections to better understand what OGP is, and what it isn’t.
If you are curious how OGP plans to operationalize its ambitious vision you should check out the “Core Program of Work” section, which outlines the specific activities we are implementing to help civil society and government reformers make the most of the OGP platform.
How do OGP’s upcoming events in NYC relate to this new strategy?
In just 10 days we’ll be convening OGP participating countries in New York for a series of activities to celebrate OGP’s first 3 years and honor those visionary reformers who are taking bold steps to change the culture of government. These events are designed to advance OGP’s four strategic objectives, including, of course, building high-level political commitment for open government reforms.
We are therefore thrilled that so many heads of state and senior ministers have already confirmed their attendance at the OGP High-Level Event on September 24th. We are also looking forward to welcoming all of our new Steering Committee members to New York, as the leadership and support of this group will be critical to realize our ambitious goals.
Whether or not you will be joining us in New York, I encourage you to give the strategy a read and share your feedback. In doing so, we sincerely hope that you will quickly see where YOU fit into the strategy, and what role you might play to help advance it. Because as a platform to catalyze reform, OGP is only as powerful as those who use it.