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The Open Gov Challenge: Frequently Asked Questions image

The Open Gov Challenge: Frequently Asked Questions

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What is the Open Government Challenge and why was it launched?

The Open Government Challenge is a call to action for all members to raise ambition in ten areas of open government to help strengthen our democracies and improve our communities. The topics are listed below. Each of these has a head line challenge, some suggested actions and reforms to advance the challenge. The accompanying Open Government Guide is a one-stop shop for concrete recommendations, examples of reforms, and international standards and guidance, and a resource to help reformers meet the Challenge.

Note: click on the links to see the full text of the Challenge.

  1. Access to Information
  2. Anti-Corruption
  3. Civic Space
  4. Climate and Environment
  5. Digital Governance
  6. Fiscal Openness
  7. Gender and Inclusion
  8. Justice
  9. Media Freedom
  10. Public Participation

The Challenge operationalizes Strategic Goal 4 on accelerating collective progress on open government reforms in OGP’s 2023-2028 strategy. The topics for the Challenge were identified based on the themes that emerged as priorities for the Partnership through the extensive consultations that informed the development of OGP’s strategy.

The Challenge duration is five years, coterminous with the current strategy.

What actions or commitments are eligible for the Challenge?

Actions or commitments that meet all of the following criteria:

  • Any commitment, policy, program, or reforms that aim to advance the goals of the Challenge headline, and suggested actions or reforms, including those included in the relevant Open Government Guide chapters.
  • The action is ongoing or planned, with future milestones.
  • The action must have clear open government values – transparency, public accountability or civic participation, embedded in them

Who can participate in the Challenge?

Any public sector institution across all branches and levels of government of an OGP member. Members are encouraged to participate in as many Challenge areas as possible.

Where more than one public institution in an OGP member wishes to participate in a specific challenge area, the OGP Support Unit will aim to facilitate coordination between the actors.

Civil society and other partners can co-create and support a Challenge, but the Challenge must be owned and implemented by a public sector institution. At the time of awards, partners and civil society could nominate governments, as long as the reform is adopted and implemented by the government.

What are the mechanisms to participate in the Challenge?

Members can participate in any of the following ways.

  • Co-create relevant commitments in OGP action plans
  • Submit a standalone action/commitment, independent of the OGP action plan
  • Submit entries for the OGP awards
  • These are not mutually exclusive options. Members can participate in more than one of the above concurrently.

Beyond these options, OGP will enable members and non members to share stories for inspiration on their work on Challenge areas. Similarly, civil society and partners can share stories of government actions. These will not be used for measurement of Challenge performance, but may be used in our narratives and communication and inspiration efforts to promote the Challenge.

Can non-member eligible countries submit challenges?

No. The Challenge is open to any public sector institution across all branches and levels of government of an OGP member. Non-members can share stories of progress towards the challenge, contributing to OGP’s storytelling and communications work in support of the Challenge. More information on mechanisms to do so will be available in the future. For now, they can route this via their point of contact within the SU/IRM.

What rules will apply to the Challenge?

Rules will depend on the mechanism through which members submit a Challenge.

  • Commitments included in action plans will need to follow existing Co-creation and Participation Standards, and reporting requirements. They will be subject to the existing IRM methodology for assessing action plans or stock takes.
  • For standalone actions/commitments and awards entries, the submissions must meet the eligibility criteria of the Challenge (see FAQ 1). For these, co-creation is encouraged, not mandatory. Once the objectives of the scope of the mid-term and end-term review of the Challenge are agreed, members will be asked to self-report some information on the progress of these actions, based on the scope of the reviews.

What are the timelines/deadlines for participating in the Challenge?

  • Commitments included in action plans will follow the regular action plan timelines. Members that have already submitted their action plans may use the window for amending their action plans or adding “challenge commitments” within the prescribed time frame for these. The OGP commitment templates will be modified to enable members to flag commitments as entries for the Challenge.
  • Standalone actions or commitments may be submitted at any time, through the Standalone Commitments form. The mid-term and end-term review of the Challenge overall will take into account information available at the time of conducting those reviews.
  • Entries can be submitted during the OGP awards processes. More information on this will follow.

Stories for inspiration can be shared and captured at any time.

For members wanting to include commitments in action plans, what process should they follow?

In 2024, the OGP commitment templates will be modified to enable members to flag commitments as entries for the Challenge. If a member wants to submit an action plan commitment as a Challenge commitment before this modification to the template has been made, they can indicate it in their action plan document, in the narrative or the commitment itself.

If a member is implementing a current OGP action plan with commitments relevant to the Challenge, can these be submitted as Challenge commitments?

Yes, as long as the criteria are met, including the criterion that the work must be ongoing or planned for the future. Members may notify their Support Unit point of contact regarding commitments they would like recognized as entries towards the Challenge. This will be reviewed by the Data team for relevance.

If a municipality is not a member of OGP and the country is, can the municipality submit a challenge commitment?

Yes. Any public sector institution across all branches and levels of government of an OGP member can submit Challenge commitments. The commitment should be submitted through the Standalone Commitments form. They should select the country under the ‘membership’ field and specify the local government unit in the lead implementing institution field, along with the details of the specific agency or department within the local government.

Does submission of a Challenge commitment require endorsement from a POC?

For Challenge commitments in an action plan, an OGP member’s MSF, in coordination with the POC, is responsible for nominating which commitments are submitted for the Challenge. However, Challenge commitments and actions can also be submitted outside the action plan process, and any public sector institution across all branches and levels of government of an OGP member can submit such actions. Doing so does not require endorsement from the OGP POC. The Support Unit will keep the POC informed of such submissions of standalone challenge actions.

How will progress on the Challenge be assessed?

  • The IRM and data teams will do a stock-take exercise (somewhat similar to the OGP Local exercise) at the mid-point and end-point of the Challenge (to coincide with the mid and end-term of the strategy period). Progress measures will take into account action plan commitments, standalone actions/commitments, and awards entries. Any other information obtained through stories and other efforts may be used for illustrative purposes only.
  • Actions co-created as part of OGP national and local plans will be part of the IRM’s regular assessment and IRM stocktakes of Local respectively.
  • Challenge submitters/implementers will be invited to self-report (light-touch) on some progress before the midterm and end-of-term Challenge review (which will coincide with the mid and end-term of the strategy period). Such self-reported information will inform the progress reporting on the Challenge. More information on self-reporting will follow.

For two-year action plans, how will the Challenge commitment be evaluated?

If a member includes a Challenge commitment in their action plan, the commitment will be evaluated as part of the regular IRM review process. Once the scope of the midpoint and end-point Challenge review is established, the Support Unit/IRM may reach out to the commitment holder for additional information/updates.

Who will determine eligibility and relevance of an action to the Challenge?

Members will identify and tag this themselves. The SU data team will then re-tag/validate using the criteria for the Challenge. The final tagging and relevance decisions will be with the Support Unit’s data team.

How will we maintain ambition around the Challenge?

While any relevant action can be submitted as a Challenge action, awards, support and other incentives will be mobilized for those actions that are promising, and that embed multi-stakeholder collaboration.

What are the incentives for a member to participate in a Challenge? What does a member get out of it?

  • Political opportunity to fast track progress
  • Visibility, learning, and credibility
  • Technical and peer assistance
  • Opportunities to lead cohorts, peers
  • Recognition in the form of awards, spotlighting through communications, events, etc.

How do the different submission modalities differ in timing, evaluation, chances of winning, etc. Is it better to wait and directly submit to an Award, or submit now? Or via both/multiple channels?

  • Submissions through the action plan follow the timing and assessment process of the action plans. Standalone actions can be submitted at any time.
  • Entries for the awards may be submitted in the window when the call is open for these (more information to follow). Submission via the other two modalities does not preclude the possibility of submitting action plan commitments or standalone actions as entries to the awards. 
  • Members should prioritize those actions/commitments that are ambitious, and show promising potential for or actual early results for awards. Criteria for awards will be developed and shared at a later time. Therefore members are encouraged to not wait to submit via this modality.

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Open Government Partnership