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Reflections from the OGP Leaders Network Pilot Program

Reflexiones del programa piloto de la Red de líderes de OGP

Bianca Nelson|

The OGP Leaders Network Program

Over the years, OGP has evolved as a prominent platform for thematic reform and ambition, and initiatives like the OGP Leaders Network (2020-2021) have catalyzed thematic leadership across the Partnership. The Leaders Network was designed to give voice and momentum to open government reformers and pioneers, and inspire governments and civil society organizations across the Partnership to advance specific thematic areas. This effort recognized an increasing demand for expertise and innovation across a rising number of OGP policy areas and the need to channel the demonstrated abilities of governments and civil society in a way that meets the needs of the dynamic OGP community. Working closely with the OGP Support Unit, each of the teams selected for the program were asked to share their expertise and lessons learned, and provide technical support to governments and reformers advancing similar efforts.

The Leaders

Five teams, called ‘Leaders’, working on inspiring, cutting edge reforms were selected to launch the program in 2020. Each team consisted of governments working in collaboration with civil society organizations, and were chosen for their proven track record of delivering ambitious open government reforms.

  • In Latvia, the State Chancellery, the Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau of Latvia (KNAB), and Transparency International Latvia (Delna) are increasing public awareness on reporting breaches, including corruption, and the protections provided under the 2018 Whistleblowing Law.
  • In Mexico, the National Institute for Women (INMUJERES) working with the Simone de Beauvoir Leadership Institute designed a national policy on public care services. This policy is monitored by citizens to increase their ability to monitor and shape these services, reduce the gender inequality gap in Mexico, and position the right to care in the public agenda.
  • In New Zealand, Stats NZ and Transparency International New Zealand work to increase the transparency and accountability of how the government uses algorithms to deliver essential public services, including through outreach to relevant user communities.
  • In the State of Kaduna, Nigeria, the Department of Monitoring and Evaluation in the Planning and Budget Commission and Follow Taxes work on a citizen-led budget monitoring initiative designed to track state funded projects through the Kaduna Citizen Feedback App. This has empowered citizens to become the eyes and ears of the government to oversee public spending.
  • In Buenos Aires, Argentina, the Council of Magistrates and the Civil Association for Equality and Justice (ACIJ in Spanish) launched the Open Justice and Innovation Lab (JusLab), a space for exchange, co-creation, and collaboration between sectors to promote transparency and accountability in the judicial system.

Through an OGP commitment, the City of Buenos Aires, Argentina created JusLab to find ways to open up the justice system.

Accomplishments of the Program

Over the course of the pilot program, we spotlighted specific reforms and the reformers behind them through interviews for our podcast, speaking roles in global summits, and participation in global peer learning events.

Each of the Leaders also participated in OGP’s major global events during their terms.

    • During the 2021 Open Gov Week, the Latvia team submitted a lightning talk on the importance of protecting whistleblowers, and the Mexico team spoke in the Opening Plenary.
    • During the 2021 OGP Global Summit, heads of government in Buenos Aires and Kaduna State delivered remarks at the Local Leaders Plenary, giving the teams an opportunity to have their work recognized at a higher level in their domestic contexts. The Latvia team spoke during the Anti-Corruption Plenary and participated in the Future of Democracy Community Dialogue during the Summit Week. The New Zealand team participated in the Community Dialogue “What’s Next for Algorithmic Transparency and Accountability?” And the Mexico team spoke at both a Summit side event called “Shaping the Agenda on Gender & Open Government”, and a Summit panel hosted by Center for Global Development titled “Next Steps for Generation Equality: What Lessons Can OGP Offer?

Several of the Leaders participated in peer learning and knowledge sharing opportunities as well.

  • The Mexico team presented their work on gender and public care services to the Thematic Leadership Subcommittee of the OGP Steering Committee and weighed in on OGP’s next steps on gender and inclusion policy. The Mexico team also joined the Gender Coalition, bringing their experience to a dedicated group of global leaders on open government and gender equality.
  • The Buenos Aires team joined the OGP Coalition on Justice, a group of OGP members, civil society organizations, and other national and international partners advancing a people-centered approach to justice through their OGP action plans.
  • The New Zealand team joined the Open Algorithms Network and participated in a roundtable discussion on civil society and citizen engagement in algorithmic policy and a public panel at RightsCon in 2021.

Lessons Learned and Next Steps

We are grateful for the enthusiastic participation of each of these Leaders in this pilot program, and there are many valuable lessons to learn from this experience. The Leaders Network spotlighted exciting, innovative reforms designed to improve the lives of citizens all over the world, and all under the umbrella of open government values and principles. But they aren’t alone. The community is filled with the kinds of initiatives showcased in this program. It is crucially important to find ways to showcase and demonstrate concrete ways of making actionable change to make the value of open government real and tangible for citizens and governments at all levels.

Reformers can share their stories and engage with the broader community through OpenStories. OGP is also currently developing its new strategy, which provides an incredible opportunity to take the lessons of the last decade and continue growing and strengthening the open government movement for many years to come.

The Leaders Network was a part of OGP’s Action Network, including OGP Envoys and Ambassadors. Learn more about the program here.

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