The Ambition of Open Government Partnership


Coming back from two weeks on the road for OGP events, I’ve been struck by a few important developments within the global platform that OGP has now clearly become that I wanted to share:

(1) This seems obvious, but it’s worth emphasizing the degree to which OGP is a truly global platform. I was fortunate to attend the Paris Conference “from Open Data to Open Gov” where France announced it would join OGP. Then on to Bali, Indonesia where the Indonesian government hosted over 600 representatives  from all over the Asia Pacific region (incl. 20 representatives from Burma) for two days in an event presided by President Yudhoyono,  Minister Kuntoro and civil society co-chair Rakesh Rajani. And finally to Dublin, Ireland where the Irish government hosted what was likely the most important peer learning event to date where 29 European OGP country members discussed and debated lessons learned from their first OGP action plans as they prepare or finalise their second action plans. The level of government/civil society exchange taking place is symbolically and practically helping us re-imagine government.

(2) The Independent Reporting Mechanism – the independent body that monitors progress of OGP national action plans – has “starred” those government commitments that have significant social impact, are substantially or fully completed, and relevant to OGP values. 24.7% of OGP commitments from the most recent 35 OGP countries to have completed their action plans are starred. This means that out of the 783 government commitments that were recently assessed (those 35 countries from OGP’s ‘second cohort’), 194 commitments were ambitious, in line with OGP values and mostly or fully completed. From a funder’s perspective, I think this makes OGP one of the best returns on investment we’ve had. I can’t think of any other program I’ve been involved in that has led to almost 200 instances of change in 35 countries around the world in less than 3 years.

There are three other areas I’ve also been struck by in recent weeks and that point to OGP’s transformation and maturation as a global platform:

(3) OGP was created as a form of ‘solidarity network’ to bring reformers together, and it seems to be working. OGP has become a platform where senior politicians from both the left and right of the political spectrum come together, work together and relate to one another as ‘open government reformers’. This will create fascinating dynamics over the years to come. One of these dynamics is already apparent – foreign ministries are becoming more involved in OGP. This is important – we need diplomatic presence (clearer linkages to open government reform opportunities at the G20 and post-2015 development framework are precious). But I suspect the long-term success of OGP may in part be predicated on how well we strike the balance between OGP as a platform for reformers vs. a diplomatic forum. Domestic open government reformers could help inform and improve these international negotiations.

(4) The importance of what we call ‘peer learning’, i.e. how countries can learn from one another and replicate innovations from one country to the other (but also learn from their failures). Countries are committed: success going forward is about supporting their capacity to fulfill their commitments. We are starting to see some instances of exchange, but we still far too episodic (i.e. they happen but we don’t know enough how or why they happen). We are experimenting with the creation of smaller networks of open government reformers to see how these forums could help boost learning and networking.

(5) How best to harness the potential of the private sector: we are still missing investors at the table. If ‘open government is good for business’ as the OGP private sector council states, then where are the sovereign wealth funds, the pensions funds? These should benefit from better risk analysis and due diligence if they had both had (a) rigorous and extensive data on open government in a range of countries (see above), and (b) the ability of tools to quantify these.

I’ll be writing a few of these up in more detail and very happy to discuss if anyone would like more detail.

A prior version of this post stated that: “21% of 958 OGP commitments to date are starred.” In fact, according to the final versions of the reports, 24.7% of 783 the commitments were starred in the most recent 35 countries.





5 thoughts on “The Ambition of Open Government Partnership

  1. Pingback: Aspiration of an inclusive Open Government Partnership | openmindedly

  2. Pingback: Other relevant reads on OGP and open government (and one vacancy) | The OGP Civil Society Hub

  3. Speaking of networks …

    1. I am quite impressed with the network the Poplus network is putting together. I’ve done a bit of outreach to help boost them. Having OGP networks in place (including the civil society list) makes it far easier to reach folks. I’d join the online group if you haven’t:

    2. I’ve noticed how a new generation of elected officials (mostly local) are essentially “friending” their way to office on Facebook. So I’ve created an Open Government and Civic Technology Facebook Group – – It has rapidly attracted
    1300 folks (a majority from email lists ironically) and now sits in this ecology: – My goal is to reach out next to the 500 most wired politicians on Facebook and make connecting with the open gov movement one click to join.

    3. If you are interested in how one creates online sharing networks when you don’t have a large travel budget or how after you have a major event you grow the network, here is a thought. As someone who has spoken across 31 nations, I get the value of in-person events to build
    trust, but I have also met thousands people doing the hard work who are rarely senior or established enough to get travel opportunities. Imagine if we reached out to the next 10,000 open government builders strategically (across various sectors, across many countries) and
    helped sort them into various online groups and channels of information proactively instead of settling for a natural trickle of 2,000 over the next five years?

    A lot of the failure to build strong virtual peer learning networks comes down to the lack of community management (the main OGP list shows *good* management) that is plotted/resourced along the lines of what you’d do with in-person events. Who is in the room matters. The topics raised intentionally and the friendly environment fostered for useful exchange that embraces “popcorning” of bottom-up topics matters too. Transferring inspiration to perspiration is key.

  4. Pingback: Breves de Gobierno Abierto – 6 de junio | The OGP Civil Society Hub

  5. Pingback: Improving how we measure impact: a round-up of methods & projects | the engine room

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