Open Government Partnership Steering Committee Meets in London

The Open Government Partnership (OGP) is a coalition of nations dedicated to increasing the availability of information about government activities to the public and supporting civic participation. Since its inception in September 2011, with eight founding countries, OGP now has 58 participating countries, covering 2 billion people globally (or 28.8 percent of the world's population). An important and unique aspect of the Open Government Partnership is that it brings together representatives from government and civil society to guide the initiative and in the co-creation of national action plans. On December 4, the OGP Steering Committee met to discuss the structures and guidance of the Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM), which will provide independent analysis of national progress on design and implementation of OGP action plans. The members of the Criteria and Standards Subcommittee of the OGP Steering Committee (governments of Brazil, South Africa, Tanzania, and the United States and civil society members Revenue Watch Institute, Instituto Mexicano para Competitividad, and the Transparency and Accountability Initiative) provided input to shape the decision-making of the Steering Committee.

The IRM will be led by an International Expert Panel (IEP), comprised of “Senior Advisors” responsible for strategic vision and especially the promotion of IRM findings, along with a team of five “Technical Advisors” who will be responsible for guiding the actual design and implementation of the IRM reporting process day-to-day. Former president of Ireland Mary Robinson, Sudanese-born entrepreneur and philanthropist Mo Ibrahim and Mozambican politician Graça Machel have confirmed their participation as senior advisors. The technical experts are South African researcher Debbie Budlender, U.S. Professor Jonathan Fox, Indian research fellow Yamini Aiyar, U.K. research fellow Rosemary McGee and Brazilian Professor Fernando Abrucio. The Steering Committee decided to expand the number of IEP Senior Advisors from its current membership of three to improve regional representation and the credibility of the organization.

The Steering Committee also solidified a set of guiding principles to inform the work of the IEP, IRM Program staff, and national-level researchers. The document builds on the draft Concept Note circulated and put up for public comment in July 2012, and incorporates many of the high-level public comments submitted during the consultation period. In view of the time required to set up the IRM, the Steering Committee decided to extend the initially anticipated launch deadline to September 2013 for the first round of reports, covering the eight initial OGP founding countries. A second round of reporting for the remaining 50-plus countries will follow. For complete minutes of the Steering Committee meeting, see: http://www.opengovpartnership.org/news/minutes-december-4-2012-ogp-ministerial-level-steering-committee-meeting.

Suneeta Kaimal is RWI Deputy Director.

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