A lot of talk here at Personal Democracy Forum Poland about whether there either:
(1) already is a vibrant, coherent, global open government movement and how best to strengthen it,or
(2) that there is a great potential for but not yet a truly ‘global’ open government movement – rather somewhat silo-ed “open government” communities working on budgets, extractives, data, FOI etc.that don’t quite share the same language to describe their (very similar) work. Some refer to their work as being part of the “open data movement”, the “open government movement”, the “anti-corruption movement”, the “transparency movement” etc. The question being how to best bring them together more strategically and how to share the same discourse/words/language.
On my side, I feel that (2) is correct – silos are still a problem albeit much less than they were. One example – 5 years ago budget and FOI groups in Latin America were not working together (which I always thought was v odd) and now they are – much more so. There are dozens of such examples, and the Open Gvt Partnership has helped provide a platform for these groups to work together. In the UK, every Thursday civil society groups of all background (e.g. poverty campaigners, aid transparency advocates, construction sector transparency experts etc) get together at the Open Data Institute with the Cabinet Office OGP team to discuss how best to move the needle further via OGP. This is great – and very new. Prior to March 2012, these groups hadn’t all met (in the UK), and didn’t benefit from the OGP platform to this degree.
Ultimately, the two views mentioned above are two sides of the same coin, we are both working towards the same aim: that in our lifetimes, open government/transparency/accountability (whatever we will end up calling it) should be as recognised a discourse and movement as human rights, the environmental movement, the gender movement. That our families and friends should ‘obviously’ know and understand what open government is. That mainstream media should cover and ‘get’ open government. And that advocates strategically understand where and when best to work together and when where best to work separately to best drive effective social change and open governments.
And however this plays out, we should come up with a consensus definition of ‘open government’ (if that is the term that best unites our work) that goes beyond transparency, and includes public engagement and accountability. See http://www.globalintegrity.org/blog/working-definition-opengov and http://www.opengovstandards.org/