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The OGP’s New Report is a Valuable Tool for Advocates

El Nuevo Informe de OGP es una Herramienta Util para los Impulsores del Gobierno Abierto

Joseph Kraus|

The OGP’s growth has been so rapid that it’s easy to forget that it launched only eight years ago. What started as a membership of eight countries in 2011 has blossomed into 79 countries and a number of local governments today that represent more than two billion people. OGP members have made more than 3,800 commitments (!) to make government more open and effective.

But what impact have those thousands of commitments had, were they implemented effectively, and how can future commitments be improved? The OGP’s State of Open Government is an impressive undertaking that aims to shed light on those questions.

The report draws upon data from the OGP’s Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM) and a wide range of 3rd party sources to assess the state of the open government movement at both the aggregate (global) level and the granular (country) level. Those who have grappled with the IRM’s raw data will appreciate the value of having a contextualized analysis of global trends and country-level performance that is at once easily accessible and readily digestible.

The report should be a very useful resource for government reformers, as it provides useful roadmaps on the types of commitments that other countries have made, as well as the gaps in both commitments and, more importantly, implementation across a range of issues.

For those of us engaged in advocacy, the report will serve as a valuable resource for monitoring whether governments are adequately implementing existing commitments and for identifying policy and data gaps that could form the basis of future commitments. It also helps assess whether government commitments are adequately ambitious and transformative, and could be used as a playbook for identifying commitments in other countries that may have relevance in addressing similar challenges locally.

The report includes country pages for each OGP member that can be used as a quick reference tool for checking an OGP member’s achievements and “reforms to watch”. These pages are handy for checking a country’s progress against OGP commitments and for identifying areas in which the quality and level of ambition of a country’s commitments could improve.

While the report does not directly compare countries against each other, the country pages enable readers to assess how their country’s commitments and progress on specific issues compares to other governments in the region or globally. Advocates could use that information to start a discussion about necessary domestic reforms.

I find it particularly noteworthy – and useful – that the report provides analysis on specific areas in which OGP members are falling short, essentially providing a roadmap for both governments and civil society as new national action plan commitments are developed. For instance, the report notes that health outcomes data lags far behind data on inputs across OGP commitments globally, and recommends that OGP members consider making commitments to centralize and make comparable data on health facilities and outcomes, disaggregated by gender and at local levels. The report also concludes that too few countries provide disaggregated budget and expenditure data, and suggests that reformers and advocates prioritize securing new government commitments in those areas.

The report helpfully synthesizes a series of lessons learned from the OGP experience to date, highlighting numerous case studies of government efforts to implement their OGP commitments, some more effectively than others. The case studies are rich in lessons learned that both reformers and advocates can draw upon to avoid repeating the same mistakes.
Several years ago, a European politician quipped to me that transparency was just a fad, and that in 15 years people would no longer be talking about it. The robust (if uneven) evidence and thoughtful stock-taking reflected in the OGP’s landmark report suggests that the open government movement is just getting started.

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