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Looking Back, Moving Forward: A New IRM

Una mirada hacia atrás, el camino hacia adelante: Un nuevo IRM

Denisse Miranda|

Three words describe the lessons that 2020 left for the Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM): adapt, adjust, and advance. The year began with a milestone for the IRM, with the OGP Steering Committee endorsing the IRM Refresh in March. But for most of 2020, the IRM focused on navigating the impacts of the new reality brought by the global pandemic and figuring out what it meant for the recently approved Refresh.

The approach from the get-go was to turn the challenge into opportunity. As it turns out, there isn’t a better driver for change than a crisis. This meant the IRM had to adjust timelines, flexibility and simplify the reports scheduled for 2020 to prioritize the transition to the refreshed IRM. 

The IRM is not only about reports; in fact a report is only the starting point and what happens next is what matters most. 2020 gave the IRM an opportunity to innovate in a virtual world with the first ever IRM Week. During the first week of November, the IRM hosted a series of online events, blogs, and social media outreach that brought IRM findings as close as they have ever been to the OGP community. As one of OGP’s Steering Committee members said, the IRM is more than a “control-check” – it is a resource that evidences the factors that can strengthen or hinder policies. 

As challenging as it was, there is a lot 2020 taught us that helped shape the IRM’s priorities for 2021. Here are the top five things to expect from a refreshed IRM in 2021:  

  1. A more accessible and engaging IRM. Evidence can also be co-created and in that spirit, the IRM will strive to create opportunities to engage with open government research networks, academics and policy experts to enhance evidence-based research and collaborations for policy recommendations.
  2. Innovation and communication. The IRM’s communications and outreach strategy will look for new channels to engage with the OGP community, enhance content from IRM findings and produce a second edition of IRM Week.
  3. Enhanced resources for OGP processes. Collaboration will be at the heart of the refreshed IRM, especially working with OGP to support countries co-creating in 2021.
  4. Improved guidance. The IRM will open a monthly online space to anyone interested in learning more about the implications of the IRM Refresh and guidance on the new IRM products. We will host a series of webinars on February 3 and 5, across different time zones to kick-start this initiative.
  5. New IRM products. Beginning with 2020- 2022 action plans, the IRM will roll out its first new product: The Action Plan Review. This technical review of recently submitted action plans aims to provide a quick, independent and evidence-based overview of the strengths and challenges of action plans to inform its implementation.

2021 is a landmark year in more ways than one. More than 100 action plans are expected from OGP members, which represents a unique opportunity for the Partnership to build stronger and more resilient democracies in a post COVID-19 world. For the IRM, it’s a year of new beginnings.  

Comments (1)

Mauricio Cardenas G. Reply

Congratulations to the IRM/OGP team on all milestones achieved amidst challenges posed by the pandemic. Surely IRM’s new approach and tools will help citizens, institutions improve their public policies on open government practices. Well done!

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