Author of the article: Giorgi Kldiashvili
Executive Director, IDFI
The Open Government Partnership (OGP) was initiated during a period when the need to improve government transparency and openness in addition to enhancing anti-corruption reforms and public engagement was getting stronger. Governmental and non-governmental actors needed a new tool that could be effectively applied in practice. OGP became a vivid example of the new era, when the public could present their requests on round table meetings to their Government and have these requests be accepted and implemented by the latter. Thus, OGP became the international multi-stakeholder platform of 78 member states and a growing number of local governments where interested parties could discuss the existing challenges of governance worldwide and reach consensus on potential solutions.
OGP attracted governments, legislative and judicial bodies, municipalities, and regional governments. The initiative covered a broad spectrum of issues, from government transparency and access to information to public service delivery, participation and innovations. Crucially, what is the new in OGP and what distinguishes it from other international platforms is that it highlighted the importance of participatory democracy. Co-creation is the cornerstone principle of OGP. OGP became a platform where civil society plays a vital role and can advocate for the endorsement of the principles of other international organizations too. It is one of the main promoters of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) globally. Furthermore, OGP proved its significance during the Covid-19 pandemic, when it became one of the main sources for peer exchange and sharing various innovative methods and experiences in dealing with the violations of the rule of law and the fight against corruption globally.
Even more importantly, the last years have shown that the public has a need to have an international platform such as OGP. The last 10 years proved that governmental and non-governmental actors want to be able to analyze and debate the challenges that need to be resolved on the international stage. OGP has touched upon a wide variety of topics, and in doing so, it has become a vast organization covering different trends and bringing various actors together. Having global coverage is important, but it should also raise the question – how is it possible to ensure sustainable development for this organization? What goals should be reached within the next 10 years? How do we envision OGP in 2030?
While OGP will continue its growth, especially through the expansion of its local government coverage, it is important to remember that the organization was created to meet the needs of the people. Therefore, the ambitions of the governmental and non-governmental actors should stay closely aligned to the interests of the people. This need, as well as the expectations from OGP, has become even more pressing during the Covid-19 Pandemic crisis.
I believe that, by 2030, OGP and its values should be treated as highly regarded individual property by the citizens of its member countries. This will become possible only if the commitments under OGP become an added value to the citizens and their implementation has a direct positive impact on communities at large. One of the responses to this challenge from OGP is the focus on the growing number of member local governments. Local governments together with citizens can co-create and initiate commitments that will cover areas and topics that will directly address the local needs. It is critically important that governmental and non-governmental actors of OGP should increase the involvement of public at large in the elaboration and implementation of the OGP commitments. This can be achieved by increasing the number of public meetings at higher educational institutions, schools and City Halls; by using social networks and distributing the questionnaires for identifying future commitments and assessment letters for receiving feedback from the citizens, thereby highlighting real needs that should be addressed.
Synergy with other platforms should become one of the chief directions not only for OGP, but for all international initiatives in general. This kind of synergy enhances results and can serve as the basis for improving advocacy efforts aimed at more effective implementation of ambitious commitments.
Moreover, OGP should increase its role as the research platform that conducts studies through the use of international comparative analysis. There is a need for stronger peer exchange, best practices, experiences and views of the governmental and non-governmental actors worldwide should be analyzed and shared, more evidence-based research should be provided for action plans.
Finally, OGP should keep its role as a unique platform of communication between all branches of government – executive, legislative, judiciary, as well as between local governments and non-government actors. Additionally, the continued involvement of international and multilateral organizations, financial institutions, and private foundations that support the reforms in the field of openness and good governance are of crucial importance (good example of cooperation of OGP with the Council of Europe, World Bank, Asia Development Bank (ADB), etc).
Keeping its distinctive features and concentrating more on the public in general will ensure the sustainable growth and development of OGP.
This material has been financed by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, Sida. Responsibility for the content rests entirely with the creator. Sida does not necessarily share the expressed views and interpretations.
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