The Open Government Partnership must better respect and protect civil society
Transparency International, the global anti-corruption movement, believes open government must deliver real changes in people’s lives. Making governments more transparent is only a first step. Governments must commit to actions that reduce corruption and inequality, fulfil human rights commitments and ensure more effective and accountable public services, including as part of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.
The Open Government Partnership (OGP), with 66 member governments, has the potential to serve as an important vehicle to achieve these goals, but it must do more -- and urgently -- to deliver on its ambitions.
OGP commitments are less likely to be met in countries with higher levels of corruption, which is why governments must prioritise anti-corruption measures. Transparency International is an active civil society participant in more than 25 OGP countries. Yet more than half of active Transparency International chapters said that OGP national action plans had no new commitments and did not adequately reflect recommendations from civil society.
Civil society involvement in the OGP is resource intensive and frustration is growing as its suggestions are side-lined or its space for participation is limited in practice. We are especially concerned about countries using their OGP commitments to bolster their reputations while at the same time closing space for civil society and violating civil and human rights more broadly.
Currently, governments and civil society are gathered in Mexico City at the OGP global summit to review achievements and the future of the partnership four years after it was first launched in 2011.
To ensure that OGP achieves its mission, Transparency International calls for the following changes:
o Recommendation 1: If OGP governments fail to fulfil their commitments, particularly to safeguard and include civil society, there should be a protocol developed for sanctions and disbarment.
o Recommendation 2: The OGP needs to implement better complaint mechanisms that can be used to help track a country’s implementation of its action plan.
o Recommendation 3: OGP officials must be afforded the highest political backing in their countries and allocated sufficient resources (political, administrative and financial) to work on and fulfil OGP commitments.
o Recommendation 4: Citizen participation must run throughout the process – from consultation to monitoring, evaluation and feedback.
o Recommendation 5: The OGP Steering Committee, made up of government and civil society representatives, must ensure it adheres to good governance standards, including preventing conflicts of interest.
o Recommendation 6: All OGP national action plans must indicate how their commitments achieve the OGP aim of stopping corruption and ending impunity.
Transparency International aspires to work with the OGP globally, regionally and nationally to help implement these changes.
Transparency International Secretariat
Asociación para una Sociedad Más Justa, Honduras
Costa Rica Integra
Fundación Nacional para el Desarrollo, E Salvador
Ghana Integrity Initiative
Poder Ciudadano, Argentina
Towards Transparency, Vietnam
Transparencia por Colombia
Transparency International Georgia
Transparency International UK
Transparency International Ukraine
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