Policy Innovations / The Open Government Partnership

The Open Government Partnership

Corruption, lack of transparency, and poorly functioning tax systems not only deprive government of revenues; they inflict a quieter and in some ways an even more dangerous cost as well, because they corrode citizens’ trust in each other and in their government.

Hillary Clinton, US Secretary of State

To improve their effectiveness and enable an efficient response to citizens’ concerns, governments around the world are taking new and creative steps to become more transparent, accountable and participatory.

A growing number of countries have passed progressive legislation mandating regular public access to information in practical and usable formats. Governments are also making revenues and expenditures more transparent and enlisting communities to help track the delivery of essential public services. Others are increasingly experimenting with new forms of citizen engagement, often with the encouragement and partnership of civil society and with the benefit of new technology.

Yet these are just the beginnings of what can be done to open up government.

New partnerships

The Open Government Partnership (OGP) was formed to help promote innovative ways for governments to increase their openness. Its goals include:

  • increasing public sector responsiveness to citizens
  • countering corruption
  • promoting economic efficiencies
  • harnessing new technologies
  • improving the delivery of services

Developed in 2011 by a group of committed governments, civil society leaders and private sector representatives, this new coalition aims to stretch countries beyond their current limits in the areas of transparency, accountability and citizen engagement.

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The Transparency and Accountability Initiative (T/A Initiative) supports the OGP through the provision of a full-time advisor and promoting civil society engagement among leading open government activists from around the world.  OGP participating countries and civil society will develop, implement and monitor new open government initiatives under OGP.  The OGP process includes:

  • A high-level declaration on open government to be signed by the founding OGP governments
  • Concrete pledges and specific commitments by these countries on how they will put open government principles into practice
  • An independent reporting mechanism to track the progress that governments are making on their OGP commitments
  • An extension to new countries to sign the declaration of principles and develop their own country-specific commitments on open government reform

International and local organisations will also be encouraged to track and assess country progress.

Open Government Partnership

The OGP is overseen by an 17-member multi-stakeholder International Steering Committee that includes both governments and leading civil society representatives.

The governmental partners in the OGP include: Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico, Norway, Philippines, South Africa, United Kingdom, United States.

The nine leading civil society partners in the OGP are: Africa Center for Open Governance (Kenya); Instituto de Estudos Socioeconomicos (Brazil); Instituto Mexicana para la Competitividad (Mexico); International Budget Partnership (international); MKSS (India); National Security Archives (US); Revenue Watch Institute (international); Transparency and Accountability Initiative (international) and Twaweza (Tanzania).

This is part of the work of the T/A Initiative’s Policy Innovations working group. This group identifies and implements innovative recommendations to improve transparency and accountability in programmes and policies and includes five other areas:

  1. Budget processes
  2. Climate change
  3. Donor aid
  4. Financial sector
  5. Natural resource governance

Our research includes two other work areas: