OGP One Year On: Learning from experience
As the UK meets today to discuss OGP One Year On, Mark Robinson of the UK’s Department for International Development offers his view on the challenges facing participating countries for the year ahead.
One year on from the September 2011 launch, the Open Government Partnership continues to gather strength and momentum. There is growing interest from governments, civil society and the private sector in the potential of open government to effect far-reaching change. Governments around the world have committed to significant changes in laws and procedures to open government business to public scrutiny. All kinds of open government innovations are being developed, promoted and shared. The adoption of the peer review mechanism will further strengthen the credibility of the OGP as a force for change by adding a means of independent assessment of country progress.
Despite these achievements a number of challenges remain. First, how can governments which are close to the threshold for entry be motivated and supported to sign up to the OGP, both fledgling democracies in Africa and Asia as well as mature democratic states in the OECD? Second, how do we translate formal commitments in all country action plans into concrete achievements? Third, how do we demonstrate results to show that commitments to open government reform translates into meaningful progress for ordinary citizens? Fourth, what is the best way to share and communicate the best innovations to inspire and motivate open government reformers around the world? And fifth, how do we avoid the pitfalls of some other international conventions which have secured widespread buy-in and legitimacy but falter and fail to engender significant change in practice? These are some of the critical questions that adherents of open government will need to address in the coming year for the OGP to thrive and demonstrate its full potential, through a full and active partnership between governments, civil society and private sector.