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Launching the Open Gov Awards 2016 – Civil Society Organizations Step Up!

Munyema HasanandPaul Maassen|

OGP is launching the 2016 Open Government Awards today! The Awards have consistently been one of the annual highlights of OGPs calendar. They shine a spotlight on reformers and convince us that difficult open government reforms can be achieved. In the past they have generated lots of excitement and are given a prominent place at  OGP’s global events. Winners of the Awards in previous years have been showcased at OGP’s third anniversary at the United Nations in 2014 and the OGP Global Summit in Mexico last year.

This year we are changing things up a little bit, and here’s what’s new:

First – the 2016 Awards theme is “Making Transparency Count”. Transparency is one of OGP’s foundational values, and has also featured in a large percentage of OGP commitments made in country Action Plans. But five years into OGP’s life we need to show that this is a value worth fighting for. So we are asking applicants to tell us how transparency in government held data or information was made useful for the average citizen? It may look like we are moving back to basics, but that is the point. What does transparency’s real promise look like? Increased citizen participation? Better service delivery? Accountable policymakers? We are looking for impact, impact, impact!

Second – in previous years the Awards invited applications from all OGP participating governments. We encouraged them to show how they partnered with civil society organizations in designing, implementing or scaling up an initiative. This year we are inverting the opportunity. Civil society organizations are invited to participate and be the primary applicants. They will show how they partnered with governments in the initiatives they choose to submit. Civil society organizations are the other key player  in this “Partnership,” and central to OGP’s promise of co-creation of ambitious open government reform. We are more likely to see progress on ambitious open government reform promises if they are based on shared priorities from an engaged and strong civil society. The Awards are meant to reward and incentivize open government reformers, and now is the turn for civil society organizations to take the stage.

Third – this year we are seeking out initiatives made possible as a result of the OGP process and/or commitments made in OGP National Action Plans. OGP celebrates  its 5th anniversary in September this year, and has come a long way since it’s inception – growing from 8 to 69 countries,  with over 100 Action Plans, and 2000+ commitments. In other words, there are many reformers who are neck deep in engaging with OGP, plenty of initiatives that can now compete for the Awards, and we’re excited to showcase and honor them! That said, civil society from countries which have recently joined OGP should not look away though – visit the Awards website for more details on how you can participate!

Lastly – we are excited to announce a new Youth Award for initiatives led by people aged 30 and under. In the short history of OGP, we have seen the great potential of young people to bring about impactful changes in government due in parts to their interest in new technologies, their ability to think big and their desire to create a better world for future generations. We want to see greater youth involvement in OGP and hope this award will help us identify future open government champions!

As in previous years, our high-profile jury will be comprised of a mix of senior government officials, civil society, academics, and other leaders in the open government field.  Winners will be honored at the OGP Global Summit in Paris, being held from December 7-9, 2016. It’s a unique opportunity to showcase impactful reforms to an audience made up of high-level guests  and fellow reformers  from around the world, all with an active media presence!

So register your initiative now!

Registration deadline: June 27, 2016

Application deadline: July 27, 2016

Filed Under: Impact
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