More than 1 000 people, representing countries with populations of 1,94-billion, and hundreds of civil society and multilateral organisations, are coming together in London for the Open Government Partnerships’ (OGP) Summit today and tomorrow (31 October and 1 November).
This group of 61 countries is expanding, with New Zealand becoming the latest country to express its intent to join. Other countries who have done so in recent months include Australia, Ireland and Malawi.
Of the members, 54 countries have developed and published Action Plans, containing a total of 1 078 commitments which their governments will make to further greater transparency, accountability and citizen engagement. Countries are bringing with them a new flagship commitment which will be announced at the Summit.
Alongside this, five thematic working groups will be launched that will challenge and support governments to implement more ambitious commitments in key areas for open government reform. The focus on delivery is symbolized in the Bright Spots competition, which will see seven impressive individuals, from seven different countries, share their success stories in a seven minute talk on the main stage. The crowd will have the chance to vote on the most inspiring talk.
The London Summit comes two years on from OGP’s creation and will see the launch of the first independent Progress Reports for the eight founding OGP countries – Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico, Norway, Philippines, South Africa, United Kingdom and United States.
These are produced by a new tough accountability instrument – the Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM) – which provides a comprehensive account of each country’s progress toward meeting its OGP commitments.
The IRM reports for the eight founding countries show that of their 175 commitments, 49% are completed, 44% are in progress, 1% have not been started, 2% progress is unclear and 4% have been withdrawn. Mo Ibrahim, senior adviser to the IRM, will share his reflections on the first eight reports on the second day of the Summit.
Francis Maude, Minister for the Cabinet Office of the UK and lead co-chair of OGP, comments: “Transparency is an idea whose time has come. The momentum building behind open government is accelerating change both here and across much of the world. It is for Governments to use this opportunity to drive prosperity for their citizens, to foster innovation based on open data, and to improve public services by sharpening accountability.
“As the UK’s chairmanship of the OGP draws to a close we are determined to use this summit to hardwire transparency into international governance. Representatives from 61 member states, as well as other observers, will gather in London alongside civil society and the private sector. We look forward to a vibrant discussion and to sharing stories of our successes and failures in pushing for ever greater openness and transparency.”
Vice-president Boediono of Indonesia, co-chair of OGP, says: “Indonesia is proud to be taking over as the Lead Government Chair of the Open Government Partnership. The OGP is continuing to gain momentum, with more countries making more commitments to open government reform than ever before. The UK has helped to lead the transition from political commitments to delivery on the ground.
“Globally Indonesia will ensure OGP becomes an indispensable player in the global system and strategically broaden OGP. We will promote action plans due next year, encourage new ways of working with civil society and governments working together, and support countries in executing their commitments.”
Warren Krafchik, lead civil society co-chair of OGP, adds: “Openness without accountability is meaningless. That is why it is so important that civil society experts and activists are attending the summit, so that governments can be held to account for their commitments. Together the two parties need to become partners and agents for change.”