Strengthening OGP Action Plans through Collaboration
During the last five months, as part of the Direct Country Support Program, the Support Unit has focused on the large number of countries that are developing their first or second National Action Plans. We have managed to stay in close contact with representatives from most of these countries, and have advised them on a wide array of subjects like: National Action Plan structure, consultation process requirements and options, using IRM recommendations and getting support from other actors like our multilateral partners or the five OGP Working Groups (During this time, the help of the IRM and Civil Society Coordination team has been invaluable). The feedback from country representatives about this new set of activities has been very positive.
This year we are also trialing a new process in which we are asking governments to submit a draft of their new action plans for a review phase. We hoped that this would allow us to do a brief technical revision of the drafts in order to make sure that their structure complies with the Articles of Governance and best OGP practice, such as using the SMART criteria for developing commitments (Specific, Measurable, Answerable, Relevant and Time-bound).
It is very important to emphasize that this review is not intended to replace or undermine the consultation process with which each National Action Plan should have been created; but to complement it by providing specific technical expertise about OGP’s norms, formats and basic tips.
In addition to this, during the European regional meeting in Dublin, countries were able to take part in a peer review process in which they learned about each other’s experiences. For countries that did not participate in these sessions, or for those interested in deepening their peer review processes, we will coordinate a commenting process from the Working Groups, multilateral partners and other countries. In these cases, the Support Unit will only act as a broker between the interested government and the optional peer reviewers.
After receiving the comments, we will advise the government representatives to communicate and share these results to their national civil society counterparts before submitting the final version of the National Action Plan.
The first draft versions of the National Action Plans have now started arriving at the OGP Support Unit and the review process is underway. We hope that this project will help consolidate OGP as a platform for transparency, accountability and public participation champions from all countries and from all sectors to come together.