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Let’s Put Some Pride into Open Government Action Plans

Agregando orgullo a los planes de acción gobierno abierto

Since 2019, OGP’s Break the Roles campaign has encouraged open government reformers to be more intentional, strategic, and ambitious in bringing women and gender diverse perspectives into open government action plans. 

In fact, gender was the most popular topic area addressed in OGP action plans in 2019. To date, 41 members have made 127 commitments that focus on gender or specifically mention women, girls, or LGBTQIA+ communities. In the 2019-2021 action plans, 39% of members made a gender-related commitment, up from 34% in the 2018-2020 action plans.

Yet it cannot be ignored that LGBTQIA+ people still face limits on freedom of assembly and expression in some OGP member countries. In extreme cases, being LGBTQIA+ may still lead to imprisonment or even the death penalty. 

While it is clear that basic civil liberties must be protected, there is space to explore how the pillars of open government can help address LGBTQIA+ issues. We know that transparent and reliable data can ensure policy is driven by evidence and facts, particularly related to discrimination and the impact of policy on the LGBTQIA+ community. Participation by the LGBTQIA+ community in policy-making and service delivery can ensure that their voices are heard and changes are more likely to effectively reflect their needs. Mechanisms for LGBTQIA+ people to monitor and provide oversight can ensure their unique experiences and suggestions lead to more accountable and inclusive government and public services. Through their action plans, OGP members have made 19 commitments that use transparency, participation and accountability to address the needs and values of the LGBTQIA+ community.

Some commitments seek to improve policy-making by engaging with LGBTQIA+ communities. For example, Uruguay committed to implementing an observatory for equality and nondiscrimination to engage and provide information during the public policy cycle with a focus on sexually diverse populations, immigrants and people of African descent. Canada committed to implementing a Gender-Based Analysis Plus (GBA+) in public engagements and consultation, increasing access to national gender and inclusion data, and putting the experiences of marginalized groups at the center of policy creation. Government officials and civil society organizations from other OGP countries have begun to adapt and test this for their own contexts. Canada has also applied an intersectional lens to open government activities and work. 

Other OGP members have sought to both raise public awareness about LGBTQIA+ issues, while establishing safeguards to protect them from violence and discrimination. Germany created an online portal to educate and connect citizens and experts with advice and support on gender diversity and same-sex relationships, as a way to raise awareness and encourage better quality data. Ecuador plans to eradicate violence against women and people across the gender and sexual identity spectrum through better public education about, and enforcement of, existing regulations that prohibit such discrimination and violence. 

Finally, OGP members have also used action plans to strengthen the legal rights of LGBTQIA+ people through participation. Through a commitment in their 2014-2016 action plan, the Government of Ireland held a referendum on same-sex marriage. In doing so, Ireland changed its constitution and now allows all people, regardless of sex or gender identity, to marry – further broadening the inclusion of LGBTQIA+ citizens.

Future action plans could consider similar or novel approaches – engaging with LGBTQIA+ organisations as part of the co-creation process, mainstreaming the values and needs of the LGBTQIA+ community throughout all commitments, or designing commitments that specifically advance LGBTQIA+ priorities. Additionally, OGP will also explore ways to support further research on ways that open government approaches can advance LGBTQIA+ rights, but also host thematic peer learning exchanges between countries co-creating and implementing related commitments.

Many OGP action plans will come to an end this year, and new action plan co-creation processes will begin. This provides a perfect opportunity for OGP members to inject a bit of pride – by ensuring co-creation processes are ever more inclusive, and by engaging and addressing the issues LGBTQIA+ communities face through concrete commitments. 

Featured Photo Credit by Luis Cortés on Unsplash

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