RWI and the Open Government Partnership

The Open Government Partnership (OGP) is a multilateral initiative to secure concrete commitments from governments to promote transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption, and harness new technologies to strengthen governance. In the spirit of multi-stakeholder collaboration, OGP is overseen by a steering committee of nine governments and nine civil society organizations, including the Revenue Watch Institute.

OGP was formally launched on September 20, 2011, when the eight founding governments (Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico, Norway, Philippines, South Africa, United Kingdom, and the United States) endorsed an Open Government Declaration and announced country action plans. Forty-seven new countries have become members since the launch.

Governments are eligible to join the Open Government Partnership if they exhibit a demonstrated commitment to open government in four key areas, as measured by objective indicators and validated by independent experts. Eligibility criteria include fiscal transparency, as determined by the timely publication of essential budget documents; an access to information law that guarantees the public’s right to information and access to government data; rules that require public disclosure of income and assets for elected and senior public officials; and openness to citizen participation and engagement in policymaking and governance, including basic protections for civil liberties. Eligible countries can become members of OGP by embracing the high-level Open Government Declaration; delivering a country action plan developed with public consultation; and committing to independent reporting on their progress going forward.

Revenue Watch supports the Open Government Partnership by:

  • Representing the interests of civil society as a steering committee member;
  • Disseminating information about the opportunities presented by the Partnership, the process and role of civil society;
  • Working with civil society partners in OGP member countries to ensure consultation and active participation by civil society;
  • Identifying and advocating country-specific transparency commitments that will advance good governance of the oil, gas and mining sector;
  • Providing  technical assistance to governments on extractive industries related commitments;
  • Working with local civil society to monitor implementation.

Revenue Watch is working with international and local civil society partners to ensure meaningful consultation processes, inform transparency commitments and monitor implementation of national action plans. Active and informed civil society engagement is a cornerstone of the Partnership. Civil society can play a proactive role in the process by:

  • Convening a meeting with civil society partners to share information about the initiative and discuss priority commitments;
  • Writing letters or short memos to the heads of state or focal points for OGP requesting consultation and making concrete recommendations;
  • Proactively seeking meetings with government officials to share recommended transparency commitments;
  • Actively monitoring and reporting on implementation of national action plans;
  • Providing technical assistance to governments that show interest in extractive sector commitments.

To support these efforts, Revenue Watch offers the following resources:

The Open Government Partnership is a unique platform for civil society to advocate the myriad transparency efforts that will provide citizens with information about their natural resource wealth to hold their governments to account—from contract transparency, implementation and expansion of EITI, to mandatory disclosure requirements. Revenue Watch and our Publish What You Pay partners successfully lobbied the U.S. government to implement EITI as one of its OGP commitments. We are eager to support other countries and our civil society partners to help seize this unique moment.

For more information, please contact Suneeta Kaimal, Deputy Director: skaimal@revenuewatch.org.

Open Government Partnership website: www.opengovpartnership.org