This Is Why OGP Commitments Fail
In Greece, the government committed to create an open process for filling public sector positions. In Macedonia, the government committed to require consultations with citizens at the municipal level. And in Mongolia, there was a promise to establish a new system of asset disclosures for public officials.
What do these reforms all have in common? Well, they were recent OGP commitments, they had the potential for transformative impact, and none were implemented.
Across OGP, nearly two of every three commitments are not fully implemented within the two-year action-plan period. And there is little to no progress on nearly one of every three.
Why are so many OGP commitments falling behind?
The Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM) recently published a paper that begins to answer this very question. By sifting through the annual IRM reports that track progress in each OGP country, the paper identified 17 specific reasons for commitment failure. As explained in an earlier blog post, these reasons cover a wide spectrum of issues – including some surprising ones – such as commitment objectives that violate existing laws, and commitments that do not have a government institution assigned to their implementation. The 17 reasons fall under five broad categories:
Institutions and coordination
Of these reasons, the capacity issue is the most common. Insufficient funding and limited technical capacity, in particular, appear to be the main culprits. Nearly one of every three delayed commitments are not implemented for these reasons. The paper also shows that dedicated government funding for OGP implementation is associated with better implementation.
Where do we go from here?
There are concrete steps that both governments and the wider OGP community can take to close the implementation gap. On the government side, the effective implementation of open government reforms begins in the design phase. Assigning a lead actor to each proposed policy, establishing concrete deliverables, and setting timelines is essential, as is preparing funding and implementation strategies. Aligning OGP with other national priorities can also attract funding and strengthen political support.
During implementation, interagency working groups can ease the burden of coordination. Up-to-date trackers of OGP progress can further streamline interagency communication and improve external monitoring efforts.
As for the broader OGP community, the natural place to start is to leverage the newly created Multi-Donor Trust Fund, which will be an important tool for supporting the implementation of OGP commitments. In addition, ensuring awareness and uptake of the new OGP Participation & Co-Creation Standards will improve the design and monitoring of commitments. Lastly, further research on the dynamics of OGP in participating countries – particularly at the subnational level – will improve our understanding of current challenges and help us close the implementation gap.
The full results of the IRM’s recent analysis, “Why OGP Commitments Fall Behind”, are available here. Questions or comments about the paper can be directed to the author firstname.lastname@example.org or to email@example.com.