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Launching Open Response + Open Recovery

Lanzando Respuesta Abierta + Recuperación Abierta

COVID-19.Hanoi.2
Joe Powell|

Like most organisations, the Open Government Partnership (OGP) has been working out how to best contribute to saving lives, saving livelihoods and advancing longer-term reforms that can build resilience, trust and fairness in our societies. Now we are launching a campaign – Open Response + Open Recovery – to highlight the ways in which transparency, accountability, inclusivity, and public participation can make a difference. Reformers in OGP have almost 10 years of experience to build on in using open government approaches to tackle critical societal challenges. This campaign is also inspired by over 200 COVID-19 related examples that we crowdsourced from around the world in recent weeks. It has been informed by discussions with many in the open government community on where OGP can be most useful, incorporating the important points made by civil society organisations signing on to this statement.  

The examples that our partners have already shared show the importance of a response that mobilises open data to help frontline healthcare workers coordinate and to keep the public informed, that ensures emergency procurement is fast, effective and doesn’t spur corruption, and ensures social security and safety net programs reach the most vulnerable and excluded, such as those in the informal economy. They also show the importance of an open recovery, including oversight and accountability for stimulus funds, ensuring fiscal transparency of new government support programs, and making sure that democratic accountability is not undermined by parliaments not sitting or operating remotely. 

Our goal is to share the examples, tools and resources that are working, to support reformers in government and civil society in our 78 member countries to implement relevant open government policies for their context, and to call attention to civic space rollbacks. We will focus on being a platform to share experiences and to bring together many of the coronavirus related governance initiatives and campaigns under one banner and partnership. All of the policy guidance will be situated in an Open Gov Guide for Coronavirus Response and Recovery, that has been built with our friends and colleagues across the community. New content will be added to the guide over the coming weeks. 

How to get involved in the Open Response + Open Recovery campaign?

OGP is organising a series of digital conversations on key strands of the campaign which are open to all to participate. This digital forum will be opened on May 5th by the co-chairs of OGP, including the Government of South Korea which has had one of the most effective responses using open approaches, and OGP Ambassador Helen Clark. It will be followed by sessions on:

We hope you will join discussions relevant to your work, and leave armed with inspiration, practical advice and new contacts. In addition, there will be a series of discussions throughout May focused on open government and COVID-19 at the regional level. All of these events will be posted on the campaign events page. We’ll also soon be launching a new OGP video and social media campaign.

Our goal of the campaign is not just to raise awareness about the great work going on, but to support OGP members at the national and local level to integrate open government approaches into their response, recovery and to set the stage for the longer-term governance reforms that can build more resilient societies.

We are already working intensively with several OGP members at the national and local level on an Open Response + Open Recovery package. The OGP forum in your country can be used to discuss this approach, and to see how your OGP action plan can incorporate specific reforms that will make a difference now. When policy decisions are being made quickly, and sometimes without the depth of co-creation that OGP advocates for, OGP’s concrete action plans and accountability mechanism via the Independent Reporting Mechanism can be even more important tools. Please get in touch with your Support Unit regional point of contact if you would like to discuss how to proceed in your country. 

Making our governments more citizen-centric and open will build the trust that is vital when acute challenges like COVID-19 arise, but we also know that there will need to be a rollback of emergency laws and policies that have curtailed civil liberties online and offline. Many great organisations like ICNL, IDEA and the Centre for Law and Democracy are already tracking these measures. OGP has built a simple tool to look across them all and see how your country has been affected. This can help guide how the OGP forum in your country responds to potential restrictions.

We also know that the coronavirus pandemic will mean a significant change to how OGP will function, at least for the rest of 2020. Some OGP countries due to submit new action plans in 2020 will now delay until 2021, while others will change how they do co-creation with government and civil society. In person events and convenings will be difficult in most countries for the foreseeable future. At OGP, we want to help governments and civil society organizations to take these deliberations online where possible, and we’ll be rolling out a series of tools and guidance documents that partners have developed to help facilitate this.

As OGP approaches its tenth anniversary in 2021, the relevance of a government that truly serves and listens to citizens is as strong as ever, as is the powerful role that citizens have in working with their governments to tackle society’s biggest challenges, including the pandemic. 

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