Update on Co-Creating the Future of OGP
Just over two months ago, we launched the process to co-create OGP’s new strategy for 2023-2028. As part of the first phase of this process, we’re asking the OGP community and beyond about the role and relevanceAccording to the OGP Articles of Governance, OGP commitments should include a clear open government lens. Specifically, they should advance at least one of the OGP values: transparency, citizen partic... of open government for the next five years.
Where we are
Over 500 participants have joined more than 30 consultations to date. These include open regional community dialogues, smaller consultations with specific groups of peoples, strategy consultations during partner events, and a handful of conversations with new communities who haven’t previously engaged – including one with youth in Africa, and another with human rights defenders in the Eastern Partnership region. We also invite anyone from the community to host their own community conversations.
What we’re hearing so far
The conversations to date have been incredibly insightful. There are a lot of great ideas in our community to make the Partnership stronger and more effective.
Some themes are emerging as salient across conversations. We’re hearing there is more OGP can do to strengthen democratic participation. Many suggest to shift the approach away from one-off consultations and pilots and make participation in policymaking the norm, with a greater emphasis on improving the enabling conditions for meaningful and inclusive participation. It is also no surprise, perhaps, that shrinking democratic freedoms continues to be a major impediment in many contexts and open government rhetoric being co-opted by illiberal or authoritarian forces in others.
Many of the conversations have explored what OGP can do to ensure that digital transformation produces better outcomes for people rather than drive disinformation and polarization, and how digital technologies and platforms can be better governed and regulated. Tackling corruption – building on, but going beyond data disclosures to addressing lobbyingLobbying transparency allows the public to ensure that there is diversity of participation and contribution to public decision-making. Technical specifications: Policies and actions affecting lobbying... or money in politics – has come up in a number of conversations. We’re also hearing that the open government and anti-corruption communities can do more to build popular demand for these reforms and connect with citizens. Across these areas, there has been strong support for investing in open government at the local level. Some have also highlighted the need for OGP to do more on addressing the climate emergency.
There’s a lot more, of course. We’re still in the early stages of this process,so these emerging themes need to be considered in the context of who has been able to contribute to the conversations so far.
In terms of OGP’s role, there’s plenty of food for thought. We’re hearing that OGP’s added value is its focus on action and co-creation, but at the same time there is an appetite to rethink the action model, including and beyond the action plans. There are questions (and some ideas) around the options, incentives, and focus of action plans, particularly for members entering their fifth or sixth action planAction plans are at the core of a government’s participation in OGP. They are the product of a co-creation process in which government and civil society jointly develop commitments to open governmen... cycles. However, there’s also a question on how OGP might encourage, incentivize, and recognize innovation and ambitionAccording to OGP’s Articles of Governance, OGP commitments should “stretch government practice beyond its current baseline with respect to key areas of open government.” Ambition captures the po... beyond the action plans.
Open government existed long before OGP, but the Partnerships role in catalyzing the field has emerged as significant. The platform has played a role in enabling open government to become more embedded in other global fora and helping improve collaboration between reformers working on a diverse range of issues. However, in a backdrop where political support and momentum for this agenda is waning in many places, questions are emerging about the focus of OGP’s catalyzing role and the overall positioning and narrative for the future that can help reinvigorate the Partnership and attract new leadership.
There are two relatively new areas that we’ve heard across conversations. First, an appetite and a desire for OGP to invest more in building coalitions of committed leaders from government and civil society to drive open government reforms, including by investing in their individual and collective leadership capacities and technical skills.
Second, for us to consider whether OGP can do more to establish norms, standards, benchmarks, or maturity models both on core open government areas of transparencyAccording to OGP’s Articles of Governance, transparency occurs when “government-held information (including on activities and decisions) is open, comprehensive, timely, freely available to the pub... More, accountability, and participation, and on specific policy areas. These need careful consideration of how OGP might play these roles, the pros and cons, and the added value of OGP within the broader ecosystem of actors working on these issues. There are a variety of views on how OGP should incentivize a race to the top and whether we emphasize more positive or punitive measures.
This by no means does justiceTo address barriers that prevent citizens from having their justice needs met, OGP participating governments are working to expand transparency, accountability, and inclusion into all systems of justi... to the full breath of inputs we’ve had to date. So stay tuned for a comprehensive readout and our reasoned responseOngoing dialogue between stakeholders during the development of an OGP action plan is critical to the plan’s success. Specifically, communicating back to stakeholders the ideas received and decision... on how your input shapes the next steps of the strategy.
Parsing through everything we’ve heard so far to draw conclusive insights for the next phase will take some time, and will commence once phase one concludes at the end of August. For those who are interested, the raw, unfiltered notes from all the sessions the OGP Support Unit has organized or supported so far are available here. You can follow and contribute to the online discussion on Pol.is at any time here.
Tell us what we’re missing
We are only halfway through the first phase, so we are not drawing conclusions yet and are still open to new input. If the highlights above resonate or more importantly if they don’t, there is still plenty of time to join the conversation and have your say on the future of OGP. We have just launched a new Pol.is discussion to further test ideas that are emerging from the community conversations. Respond to the discussion below to let us know what you think, or take part in the previous Pol.is discussion here. You can also host your own community conversations and share your feedback.
This blog post provides an update on the process for co-creating OGP’s 2023-2028 strategy. While it highlights provisional feedback we’re hearing on OGP’s contributions and role, it does not constitute a comprehensive or substantive analysis of all inputs received to date. This analysis will be published in September, after the first phase concludes at the end of August. More information on the overall process and timeline are available here: https://www.opengovpartnership.org/creating-ogps-future-together/
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