The Open Government Partnership (OGP) is an international agreement by governments committed to creating greater transparency, increasing civic participation and using new technologies to make government more open, effective, and accountable.

The OGP fosters new ways for citizens and governments to work together to solve common problems. In the spirit of multi-stakeholder collaboration, the OGP is overseen by a steering committee of governments and civil society organisations.

About the OGP

The OGP was launched in September 2011 with eight founding countries – Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico, Norway, the Philippines, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States. A further 62 countries have since joined, bringing the total to 70 participating countries

 

OGP member countries endorse Open Government Declarations and publish national OGP national action plans with specific open government reform commitments. The OGP agenda is broad and extends to disclosure of interests, public ethics, anti-corruption, service delivery, budgetary efficiency, public safety and corporate accountability. Further details are available on the OGP website.

What is 'open government'?

Open government means different things to different people. Many countries around the world are working on open government initiatives that are defined according to the needs of that country’s citizens and government.

 

The OGP is designed for member governments to be more transparent, accountable and responsive to their citizens, with the ultimate goal of improving the quality of governance, as well as the quality of services provided to the community.

 

At the heart of open government are the ideas of transparency, participation and accountability. As a working definition:

  • Transparency means the public understands the workings of their government
  • Participation means the public can influence the workings of government by engaging with public policy processes and public service providers
  • Accountability means the public can hold the government to account for its policy and service delivery performance

 

Citizen engagement is what open government is all about. The OGP recognises this in its eligibility criteria, stating that: ‘Open government requires openness to citizen participation and engagement in policymaking and governance, including basic protections for civil liberties’.

What do countries need to do to be eligible to join the OGP? How many meet these criteria?

To participate in the OGP, governments show commitment to open government in four key areas – fiscal transparency, access to information, disclosure of income and assets of elected or senior public officials and citizen engagement. These are measured by objective indicators and validated by independent experts. 

 

Countries must score at least 75 percent of the total possible points available to them across the areas that are relevant to them. Once countries have joined OGP, they are regularly assessed to ensure they continue to abide by their commitments and their performance measures are up to date.

 

More than 70 percent of those countries that are eligible to join the OGP have done so (based on 57 of 81 nations).

How does a country join OGP?

There are three requirements to join the OGP:

  • Making a commitment to the OGP Declaration of Open Government
  • Developing a publicly consulted National Action Plan to submit to OGP with between 5-15 commitments that align to at least one of the five OGP “grand challenges”
  • Undertaking an annual independent reporting of progress on the National Action Plan conducted by the Independent Reporting Mechanism of the OGP.

 

More information be can found on the main OGP website

How is the OGP managed?

The OGP is overseen by a multi-stakeholder international Steering Committee that currently includes nine governments and nine leading civil society representatives. The Steering Committee serves as OGP’s key executive management body. The Steering Committee is led by a government chair, a supporting (or incoming) government co-chair, and two civil society co-chairs. 

Read more information on the OGP Steering Committee.

How do countries develop national action plans?

Each participating country develops an OGP National Action Plan (NAP) through a multi-stakeholder, open, and participatory process. The action plan contains measurable commitments for the participating government to drive innovation reforms in the areas of transparency, accountability, and citizen engagement.

 

A core requirement for OGP membership is that every two years a National Action Plan is developed publicly and transparently.

 

The New Zealand Government’s OGP National Action Plan is expected to comply with the Open Government Partnership requirements. There is valuable guidance in the action plans of other countries, such as the United StatesCanada, the United Kingdom and Indonesia.

How is progress measured?

The OGP's Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM) is designed so stakeholders can track OGP progress in participating countries. The IRM produces biannual independent progress reports for each country participating in OGP.  The progress reports assess governments on the development and implementation of OGP action plans, track progress in fulfilling open government principles, and make technical recommendations for improvements. 

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