OGP Annual Report 2014
In 2014, the Open Government Partnership (OGP) grew to 65 countries that collectively have developed more than 2,000 policy initiatives to make their governments more open, transparent and responsive to citizens. This was a critical year for many OGP countries to recommit to the initiative. Twenty-nine countries submitted their second OGP Action Plans indicating a strong desire to continue participating in OGP. In addition, seven countries submitted their first OGP Action Plans. This result can be attributed in part to regular communication and guidance provided by a new, dedicated team within the Support Unit.
OGP’s Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM) was put to the test in 2014, as it published progress reports for 35 OGP countries completing the first year of their National Action Plan. Based on the data and findings presented in these reports, the IRM created two synthesis products this year: the OGP commitments database and the IRM’s first technical paper. These resources collectively provide substantial evidence of the level of compliance with OGP requirements and completion of OGP commitments across participating countries. However, many questions are still unanswered about how and why countries succeed or falter and about the impact of OGP reforms in the long run. To help stimulate independent research on these questions, the Support Unit published a new OGP research agenda in September 2014.
As countries developed their second OGP action plans, there were encouraging signs that the dialogue between government and civil society actors was improving. Several countries, such as Sierra Leone and Georgia established multistakeholder bodies (including civil society) to oversee OGP design and implementation. Irish civil society successfully used OGP regional meeting in Europe to advocate for the government to abolish fees related to information requests. Meanwhile, for countries where civic freedoms are under threat, the Steering Committee took the important step in 2014 of developing a new response policy designed to protect the values and principles of OGP.
Finally, 2014 was a critical year for OGP in its evolution from young start-up to a consolidated initiative with the necessary infrastructure to deliver on an ambitious vision. To chart this path, the OGP Steering Committee and Support Unit worked together to develop a comprehensive four- year strategy for OGP. It outlines four overarching objectives – building high- level political commitment, empowering government reformers, strengthening civil society engagement and promoting accountability for results – and presents a staff structure and funding model that will allow the OGP Secretariat to advance these goals.
OGP held a High-Level event at the United Nations in September 2014, where it launched this strategy and showcased a new video celebrating OGP’s third anniversary. The event attracted 10 Heads of State and Government and 30 Ministers, along with hundreds of global civil society leaders. This impressive turn out is a promising sign that OGP is building the high-level political commitment to help catalyze open government reforms in a diverse group of countries.